A piece of software that can correct spelling as the user types into any programme – hugely valuable for people with dyslexia – has won the accessibility award at the second annual Technology4Good awards, presented in London this month.
“Global AutoCorrect” (
is the brainchild of Neil Cottrell, a 24-year-old graduate who is himself severely dyslexic.
Other finalists for the accessibility award were Panasonic Corporation, for a range of “talking TVs” designed with the RNIB (as discussed in recent issues of this newsletter – see: bit.ly/HmjoAD ); Therapy Box, for a range of of apps supporting people with communication disabilities; and satellite TV company BSkyB, for embedding accessibility across its products and services, including a talking electronic programme guide.
Also shortlisted for an innovation award was MyChoicePad, a Makaton language app for the iPad making Makaton signs and symbols much easier and cheaper to use for children and adults with special communication needs.
An AbilityNet Excellence in Accessibility Award went to the celebrated physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, who has motor neurone disease. Professor Hawking was not able to attend the awards ceremony but recorded a message using his electronic voice synthesiser, which he operates by twitching his cheek.
He said: “I am delighted to accept this award as recognition for all the truly great things that disabled people can achieve when technology has given them the chance to shine.
“I was lucky to be born in the computer age. Without computers my life would have been miserable, and my scientific career impossible.
“…the Technology4Good awards remind us that technology is a vital part of human existence. They show us that the right tools, in the right hands, can help everyone, regardless of our frailties, to achieve our true potential and advance as a civilisation. And I hope that the Technology4Good awards will inspire people to think about the needs of everyone around them and make sure they can all benefit from the power of computers and the internet to change their lives for the better.”