Digital technology

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Dragon Age declared most accessible mainstream game of 2009


AbleGamers, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the inclusion of accessibility in video games, has declared Dragon Age: Origins the most accessible mainstream game of 2009 with a score of 9.8 out of 10.

The access features in the game include closed captions, alternative controls to assist people with a mobility impairment, ability to pause the game to assist people with a cognitive impairment, and the ability to configure each access feature at many levels. The only access criticism was the in-game text font size, but this issue has since been corrected.

Further information on the access features in Dragon Age: Origins and other accessible games can be found on the AbleGamers website.

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Kurzweil to release free interactive Blio e-reader with access features


Kurzweil, best known for its development of SMS on mobile phones and assistive technology products, will release a free PC e-reader application called the Blio that includes access features and a million free books.

The application differs from other e-readers in that it uses both speech and a visual representation of a book, highlighting the text as the narrator readers through it. Based on PDF files, the voice is either pre-recorded and read out with the story, or the application uses high quality text-to-speech to deliver the audio content. 

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DAISY player now available on the iPhone


The Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) format, generally used for the creation and distribution of audio books for people who are blind or vision impaired, has now been brought to the iPhone and the iPod touch.

The application, called ‘Voice of DAISY’, enables audio books which are compliant with DAISY 2.02 to be transferred wirelessly to the iPhone, and then played back with all the standard DAISY indexing features.

Cypac Japan, the creator of Voice of DAISY, is charging US$12.99 (approximately AU$14.50) for the application, making it a significantly cheaper alternative than current CD- and Flash-based players for iPhone or iPod touch owners.

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PBS launches captioned online video for preschoolers

PBS, the US public service broadcaster, has launched a captioned online video player on its new site, targeted at children two to five years old. The site has been active since December 2009.

The new online video player follows the successful launches earlier in 2009 of PBS's players for adults and schoolchildren aged six to nine. Currently, the online video player for adults is generating 2 million streams per month, while the player for older children is generating 1.3 million streams a month.

"The preschool video player will broaden accessibility to our fun, educational content and give parents what they’ve been asking for – more age-appropriate video content for preschoolers," said Jason Seiken, PBS Senior Vice President of Interactive.

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