Buzz Me In

Travel site Triposo has a new fashion accessory for you and your smartphone: the Travel Belt. Its 4 vibrating motors buzz at your waist to give you turning and walking directions to your destination. This saves you from constantly consulting your smartphone or looking uncomfortably disoriented. It might make independent travel easier for people with cognitive limitations or deaf-blindness.

Posted in Blind, Cognitively impaired, Deaf, Hardware, Redundant output, Transportation | Leave a comment

Now, Here’s Some Savvy Consumer Advocacy

A group of folks have started a campaign to get Netflix to add audio description to more of its streaming videos. What’s so savvy?

  1. They recognize that the studios that create the videos have a role to play, not just Netflix — the accessibility value chain.
  2. They provide clear, simple steps for visitors to take, letting them join the campaign easily.
  3. They use the tools others have built (such as a list of studio contacts), including Netflix’s own accessibility feedback form.
  4. No haranguing.
Posted in Building the culture of accessibility, Content, Entertainment, Market drivers, Network | Leave a comment

Disney Prototypes ‘Puff of Air’ Haptic Interface

Disney Research has developed a prototype device that lets the user feel the presence of virtual objects through carefully constructed and aimed puffs of air. Aireal aims the puffs based on the virtual reality interface — the puffs could be representing the beating wings of a butterfly, an underwater rock, or the boundary between 2 sets of controls in a software program. We look forward to adding this to a gesture input, so that more users will be able to control, navigate, and perceive more effectively with less effort.

Posted in Blind, Cognitively impaired, Controls: number, size, spacing, force, Controls: shape, texture, color, grouping, Gesture interface, Hardware, Just a prototype so far, Okay, sometimes it *is* about the technology, Redundant output, Simplicity, ease of use | Leave a comment

Senate Committee Approves Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee today passed the Workforce Investment Act, which contains the Rehab Act, by a vote of 18-3. The bill is expected to pass the full Senate, but then have difficulty in the House of Representatives. There were no changes made to Section 508 in the bill or to the mission and operation of the Access Board, but it moves the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), home of much of the R&D on accessible and assistive technologies, to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Posted in Laws, regulations | Leave a comment

Inclusive Technologies at CSUN 2013

Going to be at the International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego this week? Please visit our presentations if you’re interested, and stop by to say “hi”.

Not on the program, so bonus points for anyone who asks me about inClue or Mr. Potential Head.

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New Resource for Accessible Workplace ICT

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office on Disability Employment Policy has funded a new project — the Accessible Technology Action Center; Inclusive Technologies’s Jim Tobias will be its Technical Director. To quote from the ODEP press release:

“The development and adoption of accessible, universally designed technology is vital to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are hired and successful at work,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “We are extremely excited about the creativity and expertise RESNA will bring to our newest effort to promote accessible technology in the workplace.”

ATAC will collect and disseminate highly detailed information that employers and employees can use right away, and workplace ICT developers can use to make their products more accessible. We’ll be gathering much of this information from the grassroots, so please contact us to learn more and hook up.

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