People with Disabilities

Tyler Foulger and other student researchers from Brigham Young University who were born deaf are part of a project developing a system to project sign language narration using several types of wearable computing glasses – including Google Glass.

The system can project a sign language interpreter on the screen of the glasses. Students who have tried the glasses and watched a movie with an interpreter on the screen of the glasses have been thrilled and intrigued with the experience. Researchers have found while testing during a field trip visits by high school students at jean Messieu School for the Deaf that displaying the interpreter on one lens is the preferred method.

Listen to The IAP Podcast Episode 6 on Google Glass

Even though WCAG 2.0 was written before smartphones put mobile accessibility in the public eye, WCAG 2.0 was written to be forward-thinking and has proved to be so.

Seven videos have been release that will help customers who are deaf or hard of hearing in New Zealand with tax compliance. Revenue Minister Todd McClay explains, “Sign Language is the third official language in New Zealand with around 42,000 of us using it every day.” He continues to say, “It is important that Inland Revenue communicates directly with customers, and doing this in their preferred language helps build constructive and ongoing relationships.”

The DEKA Arm System is the first prosthetic arm that performs multiple, simultaneous powered movements controlled by signals from Electromyogram (E.M.G.) electrodes. The E.M.G. electrodes detect electrical activity from contracting muscles near the attachment area of the prostheses.   The electrodes then send those signals to a processor in the prosthesis that in turn translates them to movement or movements.

The arm can convert the signals in up to 10 powered movements and weighs as much as an adult arm. It can be configured for people with limb loss occurring at the shoulder joint, mid-upper arm, or mid-lower arm.

Vocal ID logo

I am non-verbal, and one of the reasons that I haven’t been fond of voice synthesizers is that the synthesized voice never sounds like mine.  Yes, although I cannot verbalize, I still can vocalize.  Just ask my IA colleagues when I grunt to signal affirmative responses during our Skype conferences.  My words spoken by a computerized voice, no matter how feminine it is, sounds disembodied.  Moreover, the same synthesized voice may be shared with many of the 2.5 million people in America who cannot talk.

Logo Ola Mundo

Ola Mundo is a project established in early 2012 in Israel by parents of children with special needs aimed to meet a need that had been very challenging to them until then - effective communication with their children. The OlaMundo Messenger application allows children and adolescents who have verbal communication difficulties to communicate with their family members, friends and therapists using symbols and communication boards even when these people are not around them.

Google Glass wearers will now be able to receive notification for an approaching train or bus, see information about the route and track the location of public transit vehicles in real time on Utah’s public transit system. As a way to offer mobile services to its growing population of users in Utah’s vast development community, the state decided to test the capabilities of the new wearable technology.

In addition to the convenience to the average user, accessibility consultants are excited by the potential freedom and independence this type of technology could offer people with disabilities. 

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Co-workers can start to become a bit like family. As we become familiar with them it is their personality, humor, kindness and daily contributions to the business that stand out to us… that we count on. The big things that make them unique to the world can fade into the background. It’s not that we forget about those bigger things, but more that those things quiet for us in favor of the daily traits of that individual. More plainly stated: we get to know them.

The Indian Federation of United Nations Association (IFUNA) in association with Friends of Differently Abled (FODA) recently launched an employment website for people with disabilities. The website will link employers and persons with disabilities who can register with the site and upload the pertinent information. Those who upload their details can get help at Dr. MGR Janaki School in Saligramam on Saturdays from 4pm to 8pm.

Employees from Microsoft created a new scholarship encouraging more high school seniors who are living with a disability to enroll in college and realize the impact technology can have on the world, and explore careers in technology.

A grassroots effort, The Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship was begun by Microsoft’s internal Cross Disability Employee Resource Group. Every year a panel of Microsoft volunteers will select high school seniors with vision, hearing, cognitive, mobility or speech disabilities to receive individually $5,000 scholarships for study at four-year or two-year universities, colleges or technical colleges.   

For more information email the DisAbility Fund or visit the Microsoft’s DisAbility Scholarship website.

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