Digital technology

Technology is key to creating ‘most accessible neighbourhood’

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The CNIB, Canada’s National Institute for the Blind, is turning to a combination of inclusive design and the latest technology to transform a small but popular section of one of Toronto’s busiest streets, into that country’s most accessible precinct, where blind and vision-impaired people can navigate easily and interact independently.

CNIB Beacon

CNIB Beacon - photo by Chris Young of the Canadian Press

The CNIB institute is preparing to roll out 200 small (7x7cm) 'Beacons' into stores and restaurants (at no charge to each business) in the neighbourhood, which will provide vision-impaired customers with practical information on the premises they enter.


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Microsoft releases new app – a talking camera for the blind

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The revolutionary new Seeing AI app has evolved from a long-running Microsoft research project for people with visual impairment to narrate the world around us. It turns the visual world into an audible experience, so that users can essentially use their phone as their eyes.

Seeing AI logo

Seeing AI logo

In March 2016, Microsoft showed off a prototype of its Seeing AI app, which looked very promising at the time but required further development. In mid July 2017 the company released an enhanced and updated version, as a free app on iOS.

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New funding cap of National Relay Service leads to fears of reduced services

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While the Government’s recent recommitment to support the National Relay Service (NRS) is welcomed, there are fears that services will have to be cut. This is because the Government will have NRS funding capped at the 2012 level of $20 million (ex GST) per year, rather than a user-need model, and this will lead to less people being able to access and use this service.

Image of National Relay Service logo

National Relay Service logo


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What is media access?

Media access refers to how digital, web and broadcast content can be used, read or viewed by people with disabilities, particularly those who are blind, vision impaired, Deaf, hearing impaired, or who have a cognitive condition or mobility disability. This includes the provision of effective access to websites, online information, digital communications, streaming services and broadcast television, as well as access in the classroom, cinema and the arts.


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16 big announcements by Apple at WWDC17

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Apple’s big conference in California, the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), attracted a host of brilliant minds representing many diverse perspectives, passions, and talents, with the mega tech company stating that it’s still focussed on helping change the world for the better and announcing a range of hugely anticipated product enhancements and extensions.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, on stage at WWDC17

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, on stage at WWDC17

WWDC17 ran from 5 to 9 June and Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered an inspiring opening keynote address at the San Jose Convention Center in which he outlined the company’s plans for the rest of the year.


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4 leading Startups in the Deaf and hearing-impaired space

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1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss including around 30,000 Deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss, according to the Australian Network on Disability (AND). On a global scale, the World Health Organization puts the total number of those with disabling hearing loss at about 360 million people, so it’s no wonder more Startups are springing up to help.

International Symbol for Deafness

International Symbol for Deafness

Around the world, dedicated research teams and tech experts working for Startups are striving to address hearing loss in a wide variety of ways. A few of the most prominent Startups that are making a real difference in the Deaf and hearing-impaired space are covered in this news piece.


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Latest tech releases from Apple

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Apple has announced a new iOS 10.3 update, some updates to iPad, iPhone and their Apple Watch, plus they have launched a new app called ‘Clips’ which makes it possible for pretty much everyone to create quick and fun videos on an iPhone and iPad.

Apple logo

Apple logo

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2017 Sydney Access and Inclusion Campaign launched

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Accessible Arts in partnership with the City of Sydney launched the new Accessing Sydney Collectively (ASYD.CO) knowledge exchange partnership program on 8 March 2017, as part of the Sydney Access and Inclusion Campaign.

Image of Accessing Sydney Collectively logo

Accessing Sydney Collectively logo

 


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2017 Consumer Electronics Show showcases digital assistants

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The world’s largest technology tradeshow, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was staged in Las Vegas in January and is now 50 years young. In addition to the weird and the wonderful, there was plenty of innovation on display, plus a whole lot of love at the event for digital assistants including Amazon Echo’s ‘Alexa’, as Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor - Digital Accessibility, Dr Scott Hollier reports.

Amazon Echo with ears drawn on each side

Amazon Echo with ears drawn on each side


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The accessibility of self publishing

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Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility, self-published an inspiring book Outrunning the Night late last year. He shares some very helpful practical advice on his journey of ensuring that the finished product was accessible across multiple formats, with MAA’s Philip Jenkinson in a fascinating podcast article.

Image of a book within a computer screen

Image of a book within a computer screen

Listen to the complete interview where Dr Scott Hollier shares some great tips with Philip Jenkinson from his journey of accessible self-publishing.


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