Social media

New smart white cane increases independence for blind users

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A modern take on the white cane by National University of Singapore student Selene Chew has received the runner-up award at the 2011 James Dyson Awards. The smart white cane, called Blindspot, combines GPS technology, social networking and ultra-sonic sensors to help blind or vision impaired people navigate public spaces and stay in touch with their friends.

Blindspot integrates a traditional white cane with new technologies, allowing blind or vision impaired people to better socialise using social media with geo location features such as Foursquare and Facebook Places.  The Blindspot smart white cane uses information from friends signed in on social media to firstly identify the location of a friend and provide navigational directions to the user that are given through voice cues on a Bluetooth ear piece.

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Transcript: Social Media Accessibility Project update

Roberta: We had Media Access Australia talk to us recently about its new social media accessibility project which recently received funding from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

The project is now in research phase and Media Access Australia is asking anyone with a disability, including people who are blind or vision impaired to share their experiences of using social media. We have online Communications Coordinator Eliza Cussen with us to tell us all about it. Welcome, Eliza.

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Participants needed for review of social media accessibility

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Media Access Australia, supported by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, is researching how people with disabilities use social media.

Participants are invited to share their experiences and any advice that could benefit others. This accumulated knowledge will then be turned into resources available to everyone.

The research will focus on the most common social media and blogging platforms and how people with disabilities use them, with or without assistive technology.

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UK charity RNIB launches campaign for book accessibility

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The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched an online campaign to raise awareness of the large number of books that are inaccessible to the blind and vision impaired, particularly children.

The UK charity and provider of audio, braille and large-print books has named it the “I’d miss…” campaign, encouraging people to consider the children’s stories that they would have missed had they been unavailable. According to RNIB, less than 5% of books are available in braille, audio and large print.

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