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First Internet Web Radio Launched For Blind Users

A new internet radio set has been developed for blind and visually impaired listeners, allowing people to listen online to audio books, podcasts, talking newspapers and audio catalogues, as well as internet radio stations from around the world.

Manufactured by the charity British Wireless for the Blind Fund ( ), the ‘Sonata’ radio – claimed to be the first of its kind – was launched earlier this month, and allows users to listen to any streamable, unlicensed internet audio feed.

Access Information Absent From TV Set Maker Websites

One of the UK’s leading experts on accessible technology has called for TV set manufacturers to provide better information on their websites about access to their products by people with disabilities.

Adrian Higginbotham, manager of cutting edge research at the UK’s education technology agency Becta, made the comments after his own attempts to buy an accessible TV set which supported audio description (AD) were hampered repeatedly by poor information online.

RNIB Team Welcomes Off-The-Shelf iPhone Accessibility

An advanced screen-reader and other accessibility features on a new version of Apple’s iPhone represent an “extremely significant development” for a previously inaccessible technology, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

‘Off-the-shelf’ features built into the iPhone 3GS allow blind and visually impaired users to send and receive text messages and emails, browse the internet, play music and make and receive phone calls.

Acces barriers: Communication Breakdown?

By Tristan Parker

“The more this gets talked about, the better”, says one interviewee in a new report on access to communications, broadcasting and IT by older people and people with disabilities.

It sounds simple enough, but it’s a key point: tackling barriers to accessibility is not an insurmountable task, but the starting points are realising the issues, airing them, and discussing them: all sadly still quite rare in modern organisations.

Ofcom Report Uncovers Major Accessibility Research Gap

Communications, technology and broadcasting companies are currently carrying out “very little research” into the accessibility requirements of consumers and the needs of disabled people, a new report has found.

The report, based on interviews with 20 companies, was prepared by i2 media research for the Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People (ACOD), a sub-group of the communications industry regulator Ofcom.

Call for Tougher European Access Laws

A more solid European legal foundation is needed to enforce technology accessibility, a leading software expert from Yahoo! told E-Access 09.

Artur Ortega, ‘accessibility evangelist’ at Yahoo! Europe, said that ensuring more accessible products were developed would be a challenge, but that a legal basis for accessibility would actually impact positively on suppliers.

Launch For Digital TV ‘Easy To Install’ Badging Scheme

A new scheme to badge certain digital TV products as ‘easy to install’ for older people and people with disabilities has been launched this week by the independent research charity Ricability.

Organisation in the Spotlight – Ricability

With the switchover to digital TV rolling across the UK between now and 2012, blind people and people with impaired vision, who paradoxically are major watchers of TV, have more to cope with than most in finding and installing the best new receiving, viewing and recording equipment.

Although there is a national Digital TV Help Scheme offering (relatively) accessible digital TV receiver equipment and installation support at a low cost and free to people on benefits, people will often still be faced with tough choices about which equipment to choose or use when they want to buy outside of this scheme, or share a household with others.

‘Pay By Touch’ Bank Cards Launched In London.

Wireless-enabled bank cards tested in London this month will pave the way for a new system of cashless payments, enabling small purchases to be made in pharmacies, newsagents, and snack bars without providing a PIN number or a signature.


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