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Posts tagged disability

Ouch! Text to speech is also AWOL from this year’s Amazon Paperwhite
September 3, 2013 | 4:18 pm

Amazon PaperwhiteDrat! The newest Kindle Paperwhite E Ink reader from Amazon is still missing text to speech—among the features Jeff Bezos touted when he unveiled the second Kindle in 2009. Doubt me? Just look at the Paperwhite users guide and see what’s AWOL. Click here for a better view, with a list of not-overlooked improvements in the newer Paperwhite model. It’s to start shipping Sept. 30. Like the first Paperwhite, the basic version will sell for $119 and up, and supposedly the newer PWs will offer “higher contrast” between text and background. I found last year’s Paperwhites to be still somewhat lacking in contrast despite a noticeable improvement over earlier models. On...

Bookshare introduces new products for disabled readers
February 11, 2013 | 10:00 am

BookshareBookshare has developed two new digital products to help those with disabilities. Bookshare’s Web Reader and Bookshelf were announced at the Assistive Technology Industry Association conference, held January 30 through February 2 in Orlando, Fla. The products were created to help those with impairments such as learning disabilities, physical disabilities or low vision. The Web Reader will allow Bookshare members to open books, including NIMAC textbooks, in a browser without the need of any downloads or separate software. The Web Reader is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 9 and above. Web Reader allows individuals to adjust font size, colors and display format....

Apple will reinstate AAC app Speak For Yourself if its developers win in court
June 28, 2012 | 5:15 pm

The Register reports that Apple will reinstate the AAC app “Speak For Yourself” if the speech therapists who made the app are able to win the patent lawsuit brought against them. Apple pulled the app several weeks ago as part of the ongoing dispute between two larger AAC device companies and the small start-up that created the app. Apple removed the app as a matter of policy, says The Register, as it always removes apps that are subjects of litigation to protect users from any potential legal consequences of using a possibly illegal application. There was no significance of...

Augmentative communication app Speak For Yourself pulled from iTunes store at patent plaintiff request
June 13, 2012 | 8:26 pm

A few months ago I wrote about the patent situation surrounding an app called “Speak For Yourself” that allows autistic and otherwise nonverbal people to communicate with others. A couple of companies who make much more expensive AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) devices are suing the makers of Speak For Yourself for infringing 100 of their patents. Dana Nieder, mother of a four-year-old nonverbal child named Maya, has updated her blog to note that thanks to the app, Maya’s communication skills with the app have improved dramatically over just a few weeks. But she also notes that, as...

Patent lawsuit threatens inexpensive iPad app to let autistic speak
March 28, 2012 | 11:15 am

speakforyourselfThe iPad can be great for letting people read, but it can be just as good for letting certain people speak. As I’ve previously mentioned, autistic, nonverbal, and otherwise disabled people who have trouble talking can make use of AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) apps to say the words they can’t say for themselves. However, today I learned about a legal battle shaping up against a popular $299.99 AAC app for the iPad called Speak For Yourself. Dana Nieder, parent of a 4-year-old nonverbal child and extremely satisfied user of Speak For Yourself, posts to her blog that a pair of...

Using Ibis Reader and Apple’s VoiceOver
March 11, 2011 | 11:59 am

Sm voiceover ibis add to home From the Threepress Consulting blog: Liza and I have long been interested in making ebooks more accessibile. Both Bookworm and Ibis Reader reflect that goal (with limited success—accessibility can almost always be improved). However, our focus has always been on improving the web version of Ibis Reader rather than the installable HTML5 App that many people use on their iPhones, iPads, and (increasingly) Android devices. Some of our users wanted to try out the installable App, which has the benefit of working offline, using Apple’s VoiceOver on their iOS device. Happily, a recent performance update...

New choices and access methods for the print-disabled
December 22, 2010 | 10:58 am

NFB_Logo.gifFrom the press release: NFB-NEWSLINE®, a free audible newspaper service for blind and print-disabled people, and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress (NLS) today announced the launch of an exciting new access method, the NFB-NEWSLINE® NLS DTB Downloader. This breakthrough access method will allow subscribers to easily download their favorite publications to the book cartridges used in the new Digital Talking Book (DTB) players provided to patrons by NLS. Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), said: "NFB-NEWSLINE® has made groundbreaking advances in the past several...

Elsevier Enables its e-Books to Read Aloud, Increasing Access for People With Print Disabilities
December 8, 2010 | 9:04 am

images.jpegFrom the press release: Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, announced today that it has enabled the text-to-speech option on all of its ePub book titles. The text-to-speech function enables an e-book to read aloud. This will facilitate access by readers who would otherwise face a range of access challenges through blindness, dyslexia, or motor difficulties. With 10-15% of the global population struggling with some form of print disability, the accessibility of publications is essential to open up access for a broad array of people. Text-to-speech enables access by people with disabilities who might otherwise...

Speech therapy uses ereaders
November 25, 2010 | 1:41 pm

speechtherapy_by-gary-porter.jpg Reading devices help people with strokes, neurological disabilities In the picture are Chrissy Akers (left), a graduate student in speech pathology, and Tina Puglisi-Creegan, a clinical instructor, who are helping Tom Calteux "relearn the reading process with the aid of a Kindle years after having a stroke.  Although he never lost his ability to write, the part of his brain that makes the connection between letters and comprehension was damaged." Harvey Black, writing for the Journal Sentinel, feels that "The Kindle and the iPad are in many ways the face of today's communication technology" and that there's "more to these devices than...

Access for print disabled, library exceptions named top WIPO priorities
November 16, 2010 | 9:29 am

images.jpegThe World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) closed its latest copyright meeting with a two-year work plan to improve access to the print disabled and to identify potential library exceptions in international treaty agreements. The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) will devote several days of discussion at meetings in June and November 2011. This development suggests that WIPO is committed to address the rights of users of information in addition to its long-established emphasis on strengthening copyright and enforcement measures. A commitment to a legal instrument to improve access for the print disabled could come as soon...

DAISY to Epub converter announced by Don Johnston Inc.
November 3, 2010 | 4:30 pm

download.jpegFrom the press release: Don Johnston Incorporated, a company that develops assistive technology for individuals with disabilities, just announced a new software conversion tool, DAISYtoEPUB, during the 2010 ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) conference in Schaumburg, IL. The DAISYtoEPUB software converts DAISY 3 (Digital Accessible Information System) electronic files into EPUB, an XML format to easily navigate through digital books and publications. EPUB is the preferred standard format for mainstream eBook readers like the iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, Android devices, and computer-based programs. The DAISYtoEPUB software will benefit students and individuals with visual impairments and reading...

UN-backed initiative to enable the blind to access published works
October 28, 2010 | 9:23 am

22-09-2009wipo.jpgFrom the UN News Centre: In an unprecedented United Nations-supported initiative, people who cannot see and those who have other forms of visual disability will have access to published works through publisher intermediaries who will create accessible formats of publications and share them with specialized libraries. The new arrangement was announced today at the of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) meeting in the Indian capital, New Delhi. It is estimated that only five percent of the world's one million print titles that are published every year are accessible to the some 340 million around the world who are blind, visually...