Accessibility Continues Its Climb Into Mainstream Media

Gizmodo is a leading tech blog, a long-time go-to spot for what’s new in the world of technology and what it means. They’ve just added a sub-blog called Abler, whose tag line we love: “All technology is assistive technology”. Go read the fresh articles about exoskeletons, 3D-printed prostheses, and why Vancouver is banning doorknobs, all with a distinctive art-and-society point of view.

Posted in Building the culture of accessibility, Theories, models, frameworks | Leave a comment

Another Step In Computer Vision

Welcome the Structure Sensor — a device you attach to your iPad that lets you capture 3D objects in space automatically. That is, move it around the object a bit, and it begins to appear as a 3D model that can be saved and manipulated in other software. Imagine a blind user equipped with one of these, moving through a room and having furniture, doors, and probably eventually people called out. Watch the video and see if you don’t want to sign up for a $350 pre-order.

Posted in Blind, Computer vision, Just plain cool, Personal management and self-care, Software, Transportation | Leave a comment

Going Steadier

Liftware is a new gadget that reduces the effect of hand tremor. Hand-held, it detects your tremor and compensates for it by counter-moving its attachment (such as a spoon). Could it one day have a stylus attachment, to improve performance with touchscreens or small keyboards?

Posted in Controls: number, size, spacing, force, Dexterity impaired, Hardware, Personal management and self-care, Size, weight, stability, grip | Leave a comment

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