Technologies

Real-time captioning glasses premiere at French arts festival

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Augmented reality (AR) glasses which project real-time, customisable captions and surtitles for viewers have debuted at the Avignon Festival in France, highlighting international growth potential for real-time captioning technology in accessible arts and live performances.

Augmented reality (AR) captioning glasses. Image credit: Theatre in Paris

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Five tips to make the web work better in your language

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In late May, Dr Scott Hollier travelled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to teach a web accessibility course to 22 students. As part of the assignment work, the students learnt how to use the basic functionality of screen readers and other Assistive Technology (AT). While the work went well, it quickly became apparent that there were a number of issues relating to the way in which Arabic was supported by the tools, and how those tools interacted with the web.

Translate button on a keyboard amidst keys labelled with multiple languages

There are several reasons why the web becomes more complicated for non-English speaking users, and it’s a combination of a number of factors:


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Apple wins AFB award for its accessibility product features

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The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has announced that the Helen Keller Award for 2015 has been won by Apple due to its commitment to including accessibility features in its products to support people who are blind or vision impaired.

Apple products on display. From left to right: MacBook, iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus


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Affordable Access secures grant funding

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Media Access Australia has secured an Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) grant for its Affordable Access project, which will look at low-cost, mainstream accessible technology for people with disabilities with an aim to help people make more informed choices when it comes to devices.

Elderly person using a Samsung tablet device. Image credit: Wikipedia commons

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Android Wear 5.1.1 includes long-awaited accessibility features

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The latest version of the Android Wear operating system version 5.1.1 includes several new accessibility features which allows wearable devices to become accessible for many users.

Accessibility icon highlighted in Android Wear 5.1.1 (under Location and above Screen Lock)

The new features are largely vision-related, with support for magnification, colour inversion and large text. The magnification feature can be accessed via specific gestures.

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Chinese tech giant Baidu announces Blind Search device

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China’s leading search engine provider Baidu has announced the Blind Search device, a tool to assist blind and vision impaired people access “massive amounts of information online through touch” using a combination of tactile and voice-activated commands.

Blind Search facing upward with light emitting from the tactile display. Caption reads 'The device is called Blind Search'


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Web and PDF Accessibility: New Tools for Changing Times

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Tim Connell, Managing Director at adaptive technology company Quantum talks about web and document accessibility. Tim spoke to media Access Australia following his presentation at the 2015 Print Disabilities Conference held May 2-5 in Adelaide, South Australia.

Quantum: Reading, Learning, Vision logo


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Q&A with Robert Osztolykan, creator of the petition to make Steam accessible

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Media Access Australia spoke with Robert Osztolykan, blind gamer and creator of the petition to make Valve’s gaming platform Steam accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired. Robert shares his motivation to start the petition, his experiences playing mainstream titles, his thoughts on the current generation of gaming and why developers need to consider accessibility.

Steam controller. Image credit: Pierre Lecourt via Flickr

Steam is highly popular, featuring more than five million users. Part of this popularity is that it features more than 3,500 free and paid-for games that users of Windows, Mac and Linux computers can browse and download to play.


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Apple Watch accessibility features

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With Apple’s new watch becoming officially available, Media Access Australia has put together a round-up of all the accessibility features of the new wearable device and a comparison with some of the company’s other devices.

Apple Watch with sport band. App icons displayed on screen

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What are the most accessible video-on-demand services?

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With consumers increasingly turning to their computers and mobile devices to watch TV programs and movies, the accessibility of video-on-demand services is becoming a critical issue for those who rely on captioning or audio description.

Woman seated on a couch using a laptop, with TV on in the background

Media Access Australia’s report Access on Demand, which was released last week, highlights the vast differences in the accessibility of VOD services available in Australia.

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