Blind

A group of students with vision disabilities, participating in a summer enrichment program at the Carroll Center for the Blind, have been testing the Visus Visual Assist System by the Boston based Visus Technology. The Visus Visual Assist System is a wireless mobile system that takes advantage of the 4G LTE network and allows people who are blind and low vision to recognize faces, determine colors, and navigate their travel. It is expected to be ready for public use soon. Read more about students at Carroll Center for the Blind testing revolutionary technology.

In an effort to commit to persons with disabilities and ensure that they are treated equally with dignity and respect, Singapore has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD). On August 18, 2013 the Convention will come into effect for Singapore marking a significant milestone. Singapore’s Masterplan, which gives Singapore a roadmap for an inclusive society where persons with disabilities are empowered to contribute to society, is credited for making it possible through the 3P (People, Public, Private) collaboration. Read more about Singapore committing to persons with disabilities.

Weight Watchers announced today that they have an ongoing initiative to make its websites, iOS mobile applications and print information more accessible and inclusive for its members and subscribers with visual impairments and will conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA. 

Read More About Weight Watchers Accessibility Initiatives

Lainey Feingold stated, "Weight Watchers has been a great partner in Structured Negotiations with the ACB and blind Weight Watchers members.   Linda Dardarian, of the Oakland civil rights firm Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, and I represented the blind community."

Barnes & Noble has been slow when it comes to the accessibility of its e-book platforms, but it has definitely made an effort with the latest release, version 3.3, of the NOOK application. Although the NOOK tablet device is still inaccessible to people with vision loss, the accessibility improvements in this application are worth an investigation.   The free NOOK application works with the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

The AFB article provides a description of how to use the app with information included about the accessibility of the various features and functions of the app.  Read the full article, A Guide to the Barnes & Noble NOOK App: Another Accessible Option for Reading Books on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

Micah Lahren of Technibble.com discusses assistive technology (AT) for business clients who have disabilities. Some of the AT he mentions includes:

  • Espeak – the default text-to-speech synthesizer for Ubuntu
  • Assistive Mouse Adapter  - a device that filters out unwanted movements, such as tremors, when using a mouse
  • Trackball – a device that offers a better grip for persons with dexterity impairments

To read more about AT that helps clients with various types of disabilities, read Assistive Technology Solutions for Your Clients.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Marriott for allegedly discriminating against employees with disabilities because the hotel chain’s software is inaccessible and no alternatives are provided. The lawsuit was based on a Marriott blind employee who is unable to use the hotel’s Sales Force Automation (SFA) software program with his screen reader. Consequently, he cannot advance to a managerial position. To learn more, read Lawsuit Claims Discrimination against Blind Employees (PDF).

Ensure that your product works with assistive technology

Assistive technology (AT) is a term that describes the tools that people with disabilities use to access websites and applications. To ensure compatibility between the assistive technology and your product, Interactive Accessibility will confirm that assistive technology can work with the product and that the product is usable for people with disabilities. 

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