Digital technology

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Four Corners program on disability issues available online with captions


The recent Four Corners program Breaking Point, which looks at the plight of Australians living with a disability, or caring for someone who is disabled, can now be viewed on the ABC’s website with captions.

While this is the first time that the ABC has made one of its online programs available with captions, it has now committed to providing captions on all prime time programs on its iView video streaming service by the end of March 2010.

Breaking Point can be viewed on the Four Corners website.


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International access conference calls for papers


The bi-annual Languages and the Media conference will be held in Berlin this year from 6-8 October. Following current trends and developments, this year’s theme is ‘New Media – New Contexts New Translator Profiles?’. 

 The conference will explore the impact of digital content, social media, cloud computing and new platforms on audiovisual production and distribution. In the access field, this could include developments such as CaptionTube, crowd sourcing for access, formatting content to provide access in new media, blurring of content boundaries and control of access. 

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ABC TV's New Inventors Access and Ability special


Three inventions to help disabled people are featured in a special edition of the ABC1 television program The New Inventors screening on 10 March 2010. One of the inventions is directly connected to access to new media – a web-based, free screen reader. This invention, the NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA), was invented by two blind men, James Teh and Michael Curran. There are existing screen readers, but these specialist pieces of equipment cost thousands of dollars. The NVDA is free to the user. 

The other two inventions featured are a 3-in-1 wheelchair and a Speed Demon off-road buggy that can be driven through the steering wheel alone.

To celebrate these important innovations, James O’ Loghlin will be joined by a special panel of experts living with a disability: paralympian Kurt Fearnley, filmmaker and presenter Sofya Gollan, and Federal Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes. The program will also feature Auslan interpreter Jemina Napier translating for Deaf viewers throughout the program, a first for The New Inventors.

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Consumer organisation launches major study on broadband access


The Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) has released a major international study looking at broadband access solutions for people with disabilities. 

The study, which was commissioned using European-based access experts, draws on a range of projects and solutions in development and operating in Europe, the US and Japan. Examples include: an animated talking face for lip reading users, a streaming solution for delivery of talking books, using broadband TV and mobile telephones for people with a reading disability, and a pedestrian navigation system for people with disabilities. A number of recommendations are included that feed into the Federal Government’s Media Access Review, National Broadband Network implementation and other initiativ

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