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Archive for October, 2013

UK Ignoring British Sign Language Video Technology, Analyst Warns

Most British companies and government departments are ignoring new ways of offering video links to British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters because they misunderstand the value of this to deaf customers, a leading practitioner has told E-Access Bulletin.

Jeff McWhinney, chair of social enterprise SignVideo ( http://www.signvideo.co.uk ), was speaking following the launch of a trial service by the broadcaster Sky, allowing deaf customers to contact the company’s customer services team using SignVideo interpreters based in London and Edinburgh.

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Access to the Internet by Older People and Mobile Tips at Heart of e-Access 13

Access to the internet in homes for the elderly and developing inclusive services on smartphones and tablet computers are among topics on the agenda at e-Access 13, the UK’s leading event on access to technology by people with disabilities.

Delegates will hear about the Connecting Care project, looking at how care homes for older people can make the most of new technology to support their organisation, carers and service users. The project is run by Lasa, a technology support group for charities and public sector bodies, with funding from the Department of Health.

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‘3D Search Engine’ Tested by Blind Tokyo Schoolchildren

A voice-activated machine combining web search engine technology with 3D printing is giving visually impaired school children in Tokyo the chance to experiment with what could be a glimpse into the future for the creation of live tactile teaching aids.

Called the ‘Hands On Search’, users speak the name of an object into the machine which then searches the internet for modelling data. The 3D printer then creates a miniature model of it, using materials such as plastic, carbon and metal. If the machine cannot find enough modelling data, a request for the data will be posted onto the Hands On Search public website.

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Web Accessibility: One Million Steps: Boosting Access Awareness, One Website at a Time.

By Robin Christopherson

Recent research shows that the great majority of websites are still failing consistently to comply with even the lowest priority checkpoints of the accessibility guidelines set out by the international web standards body the World Wide Web Consortium. Despite a plethora of initiatives to raise awareness of this issue, from Citizens Online’s ‘Fix the Web’ campaign to Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the situation does not seem to be improving at a significant rate.

Little wonder, therefore, that one in six of us is still reluctant to venture into the online world and not surprising either that around half of those on the wrong side of the digital divide are disabled, and a similar number are aged 65 or over. The scope for mainstream technologies to transform the lives of this sizeable minority seems largely untapped.

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