Assistive Technology

A Houston, Texas based medical device start-up, Reveal Optical, LLC, has a prototype vision aid called the Reveal VUE. The device helps people who are blind or have low vision see again. It is a portable 3D vision aid that uses the Oculus Rift for its display.

Reveal Optical is now seeking additional funding through a crowd funding campaign in order to take the VUE to the next stage, which would be a limited production release.

A software designer in Perth, Australia has helped people who are blind and have low vision gain accessibility and independence in Perth’s public transport network. With the development of an application called Stop Announcer, which only cost a few dollars, people who are blind and have low vision can hear their stop announced through the app and no longer have to use the unreliable method of counting stops.

The user simply tells the app the route they are taking and the software announces when they are arriving at their location.

Google is seeking people who are blind and live in Sydney Australia to relay their experience using Google apps on mobile devices.

Interviews will be conducted by market researchers and last approximately two hours. The questions will cover the assistive technology people who are blind use on their phones and tablets and the accessibility of Google apps such as Gmail and Drive.

Participants will be paid $200 for their time. To participate email Qualitative Recruitment Australia or call Murray Gale 02 9371 0855

A seventh grade student from the San Francisco Bay Area, Shubham Banerjee, developed a Braille printer using Lego Mindstorms EV3. The cost effective Lego printer reduces the cost of a Braille printer from $2000 to $350 making it much more accessible to families and institutions needing a Braille printer.

The printer, which is made from a $349 Lego Mindstorm EV3 Kit and $5 worth of add-ons from Home Depot has been named BRAIGO v1.0 a shortening of the phrase, Braille with LEGO. BRAIGO uses the base reference model known as Banner Print3r, which was redesigned with totally new software to print the letters A-Z.

We recently posted some videos on the Access Matters blog about setting up and using TalkBack, which is the pre-installed screen reader service provided by Google for Android devices. It occurred to me that there must be some good walkthroughs for iOS accessibility, so I decided to go on a YouTube hunt for you, our loyal Access Matter Blog readers, and find the best iOS Accessibility walkthroughs.

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TalkBack is a pre-installed screen reader service provided by Google for Android devices. It describes the results of actions such as launching an app, and events and notifications using spoken feedback. It works neatly with other Android Accessibility tools such as Explore by Touch, which allows you to touch your device’s screen and hear what’s under your finger.

We at Interactive Accessibility have put together a few short videos that demonstrate the setup and use of TalkBack 4.2 on a Nexus 7 Tablet. As future versions of TalkBack are released we will update the videos.

OrCam is a tiny wearable computer that clips on the user’s glasses. A bone conduction ear piece conveys descriptions of objects the wearer points to. OrCam can also read aloud printed text for menus, newspapers, and signs. OrCam has now partnered with IVONA Software to bring their SDK Text-to-Speech libraries for applications and devices to the revolutionary optical assistive technology for people who are blind and vision impaired. The goal is to improve the overall quality and user experience of the OrCam.

 

For more information on the OrCam listen to the IAP Podcast Volume 1 Episode 23 – OrCam for the Blind.

Microsoft and GW Micro have partnered up to offer the full version of the popular screen reader Window-Eyes for free to anyone who owns Microsoft Office 2010 or later. All versions of Office will be supported with the exception of Starter, which is not sold in the United States. If the Office client is not installed Window-Eyes will run for 30 minutes. If the client is present, however, the full version will be available and does not require an activation key. Office 365 is supported as long as the client is installed. This is a global offer valid in all 15+ languages that Window-Eyes supports.

All Window-Eyes scripts and apps will work the same as they did in the standalone version but a major upgrade to Window-Eyes is also expected to be announced soon.

The free version will not include the following:

  • Technical Support
  • Synthesizers
  • Braille/Large Print Hotkey Guide
  • Commercial free access to GWConnect
  • Installation CD

All will be available for purchase for a small fee, however.

Microsoft Office owners may download Window-Eyes directly from the WindowEyes Office website.

Read the GW Micro Press Release.

A report on accessibility standard for medical diagnostic equipment has been released by the Access Board’s Medical Diagnostic Equipment (MDE.) The report contains detailed recommendations on the finalization of standards previously issued for public comment. Upon finalization by the board, the new standards will cover:

  • Access to examination tables and chairs
  • Weight scales
  • X-ray machines
  • Mammography equipment
  • Other diagnostic equipment

Read more on the accessibility standards for medical equipment.

Conrad Lewis, founder of eSight Eyewear, has created a wearable technology that restores the sight of some people who are legally blind. Addressing a problem that both his sisters were diagnosed with, Stargardt disease, which reduced vision to a few centimeters in front of the eyes, Lewis invented eSight specs. The glasses consist of LCDs in front of each eye. A camera mounted on the front of the glasses records a real-time image of what the wearer would normally see, which is processed by a small computer then sent to the LCDs.

You can read more about eSight on TechVibes.

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