Welcome to Accessibility News International (ANI)

This site is part of the Accessibility News Network.

Latest Headlines

Israel’s Mobile Technologies For Disabled Find Mass market Appeal

By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV Thu Jan 22, 2015

(Reuters) – Israeli technology firms catering to the country’s disabled war veterans are exploring ways to bring their innovations to the mass market with applications that make mobile phones easier to use.

Israel, with its thriving start-up scene and large number of military veterans, is a natural incubator of technology for the disabled, some of which is proving useful to able bodied users as well.

“That’s the secret sauce to go to scale,” said Andrew Johnson, an analyst with market research firm Gartner Inc.

Female PS Workers’s Disability Claims Outnumber Mmen’s two-to-one

Kathryn May
Published on: January 19, 2015

Shannon Bittman is vice president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

Women in the public service go on disability leave at almost twice the rate of men, a problem some experts say should be addressed as part of the governments new disability management scheme.

The federal disability insurance plan, managed by Sun Life Financial, is the biggest in Canada. A Sun Life report obtained by the Citizen shows women have ended up on long-term disability at rates vastly disproportionate to their numbers in the public service for more than a decade, especially for mental health conditions.

Accessibility of Government Websites Often Fall Short

Elizabeth Ganga,
January 20, 2015

Websites are the portal to government, providing information as basic as the day for garbage pickup and services like paying taxes.

But for people with visual impairments or a host of other disabilities that can affect their use of computers or mobile devices, it’s still hit-or-miss what they will find when they open the website of their local government, school district or library.

People with visual impairments sometimes use screen readers programs that read aloud the text on the screen to navigate the Web, and they find many websites are not designed with them in mind.

Competing In Power Football Takes More Than Athletic Ability

By Victor Schwartzman
January 16, 2015

Shayne De Wildt is 23. Why am I writing about Shayne? He’s my downstairs neighbour and I know him. I feed his cat, Simba, when Shayne is away at competitions. Simba frightens my dog, a Shitzhu who gives Simba a wide berth, but that is another story.

Live Text May Make Council Meetings More Accessible

Nova Scotia to launch text-to-911 service today for hearing impaired Angela Crozier <@CrozierAngela>
January 15, 2015, 10:44 AM AST

Halifax is considering providing a real-time text service of city hall meetings for hearing impaired people.

Two Halifax councillors want to improve accessibility to council meetings for the hearing impaired.

Coun. Darren Fisher (Dartmouth East) and Coun. Steve Craig (Lower Sackville) raised concerns Wednesday that they need to find a better way to involve deaf residents in their proceedings.

Chief administrative officer Richard Butts’ budget includes a proposal to provide real-time texting of city hall meetings.

Disability, Employment and the New Veterans Charter

January 13, 2015
Christopher Lytle MA CDS

The relationship between disability and employment is slowly changing, and as much as we are mindful of developing trends in policy and law, we still have the obligation to recognize and respect disability from a cross sector perspective, including individuals who have served in the Canadian Forces, acquiring an injury as a result.

Is Accessible TV Viewing Finally on Its Way?

Bill Holton

In the August issue of AccessWorld , we described the new voice guide features available on new Samsung TVs. More recently, Comcast has announced the availability of its own talking TV interface.

There certainly has been a lot of activity on the accessible media front. Here’s why: the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) includes a number of provisions regulating the production and availability of accessible broadcast media and devicestelevision sets, set-top boxes, digital video recorders (DVRs) and descriptive video for broadcast and non-broadcast channel programing.

Stops Not Called, Drivers Disciplined; Majority ‘Extremely Upset’ with Order, Transit Union Says

by Katherine Dedyna

Ben Williams, president of Unifor 333,
which represents 550 B.C. Transit drivers, says forcing drivers to call out hundreds of stops a day is dangerous for everyone on the bus. The union says visually impaired passengers would be better served by an automated system.;

At least a dozen bus drivers in Greater Victoria have been disciplined by B.C. Transit for refusing to obey a policy requiring them to call out all stops along their routes, says the president of the union representing 550 drivers.

World’s First Online International Deaf-Blind Conference translated by Translate Your World

January 7, 2015
By aqureshi

NEW YORK and ATLANTA: The world’s first online across-language conference for people who are deaf-blind will be held via the internet on January 24th and 25th and offered simultaneously as subtitles in 78 different languages and as translated synthesized voice in 35 languages.

The public is invited to attend this online event including teachers, counselors, medical professionals, diversity specialists, support service providers, corporate communication leaders, sign language interpreters, governmental representatives, plus family and members of the Deaf, Blind, and DeafBlind communities.

Siemens Introduces Smart Hearing Aids at the 2015 International CES

Smart hearing aids work with both iPhone and Android devices Wearer can control microphone direction via smartphone
Intelligent devices continuously learn and automatically adapt

At the 2015 International CES, Siemens is unveiling smart hearing aidstheir latest in wearable hearing technology. The hearing aids can be discreetly controlled via both iPhone® and Android devices, with latest models clinically proven to outperform people with normal hearing in background noise. When two hearing aids are worn (the most common case), Siemens new smart hearing aids utilize intelligent, two-way wireless communication to zero in on desired speech with pinpoint accuracy. This enables better-than-normal hearing in crowded situations like noisy restaurants and cocktail parties where background chatter has historically been a challenge.

Civil Rights Advocates Challenge Metro-North’s Failure to Provide Wheelchair Access to the Upgraded Port Chester Station

Unfortunately, Metro-North ignored the requirements of the ADA. As a result, the northbound platform remains inaccessible to wheelchair users and thousands of residents and visitors in the region do not have access to station and its amenities. Northbound wheelchair users must avoid the station altogether or take the train out of their way to the next stop and wait for a southbound train, just to be able to stop at Port Chester.


EEOC Settles Disability Discrimination Suit with Sony

Sony to Pay $85,000 under Decree Resolving EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit Posted on December 24, 2014

Electronics Giant Allegedly Engineered Firing of Employee Because of Her Prosthetic Leg

CHICAGO – Sony Electronics, Inc. will pay $85,000 under a consent decree entered in federal court today ending a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC alleged that Sony violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it brought about the termination of a woman with a prosthetic leg because of her disability.

The Next Frontier in ADA Litigation: Website and App Access for the Disabled

by Joe Liburt, Tim Long, Jill Rosenberg
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

For the last several years, consumers have increasingly turned to online shopping as an alternative to traditional “brick and mortar” stores. Some reports showed that “Cyber Monday” sales figures beat out those for “Black Friday” this year, and many retailers are doubling down on their eCommerce efforts in response.

What many retailers might not be aware of is the growing risk of litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and derivative state laws arising from websites or mobile apps that allegedly discriminate against disabled individuals.

Gaming Technology Makes its Way Into Headsets for the Visually Impaired

Nov 25, 2014

EU researchers have developed a 3D headset that could help visually impaired people move around more safely and easily.

The DIGIGLASSES project, which kicked off in 2012, set out to develop a marketable digital tool for the
visually impaired using stereoscopic vision, corrected and customised for the specific symptoms of the user’s eye disease.

The project’s latest YouTube video announces the opening of product lines for participating SMEs. The project hopes it can be on market at the end of 2015.

With around 5 million people in Europe (285 million globally) living with a degree of
visual impairment that takes them beyond the help of normal glasses, the market for DIGIGLASSES’ innovative headset is clear.

Accessible Travel Kiosks Will Remove Barriers and Increase Independence

A new standard in the Canadian Transportation Agency’s amended Code of practice: Removing Communication Barriers for Travellers with Disabilities introduces automated self-service travel kiosks designed for people with disabilities at airports, railway and ferry terminals.

The standard stipulates that newly installed kiosks used for such things as self- service ticketing, check in and related functions should be accessible to people with disabilities starting December 31, 2016, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that 25 percent of kiosks are accessible by December 31, 2022.

The two-year implementation period gives manufacturers time to design, test and produce kiosks which feature updated hardware and software accessibility standards. The standards address issues such as height, position of monitors, touch screen functions, audio accessories, document readers, and warning tones.

The Badeyes WordPress Theme is Now Live and Available for Download!

It has been a long 4 months of researching code and using checking tools but WordPress has finally approved the Badeyes TwentyFourteen Child Theme and it is now live for anyone to download.


E-Book Legal Restrictions Are Screwing Over Blind People

e-books for the blind should be legal
By Kyle Wiens
Wired, Dec. 15, 2014

In late 2012, a 14-year-old high school student stood in front of a camera and began to read.

Chris Nusbaums voice was calm and steady. And so were his hands, which ran smoothly over lines of braille as he made a personal appeal to Amazon maker of the most widely-used e-reader in the world.

Echo Sense Network Glasses: Remote Vision for the Blind

Bill Holton

With the introduction of the Apple Watch and other smart watches from Google and Samsung, the buzz around “connected” eyeglasses such as Google Glass has subsided considerably. Work on these devices is still being done, however, and recently I had the opportunity to demo a pair of smart glasses that have been developed to assist the blind in orientation mobility, and other tasks where a bit of long-distance sighted guidance may be of help.

Echo Sense Network Glasses allow individuals with visual impairments to stream both audio and video related to their environment via a cell data connection. This stream can be accessed online by a sighted guide, who can communicate in real time with the glasses wearer, offering descriptions, navigational guidance, and other useful information.

Deaf and Blind Able to Shop Alone at Non-Profit Grocery Store

Braille signs and audio scanner help visually impaired shop for groceries independently
By Jesara Sinclair, CBC News Posted: Oct 16, 2014 4:16 PM PT Last Updated: Oct 17, 2014 3:23 PM PT

Pardeep Khrod says the Quest Food Exchange’s visually impaired customers have had a lot of fun using the audio scanner. The device scans the product barcode and tells customers what they are holding.

A non-profit food store in Vancouver’s east end has introduced Braille signs and audio scanners to allow deaf-blind and other visually impaired customers to shop independently.

The grocery markets operated by the Quest Food Exchange aren’t open to the public.Instead low-income clients are referred through a social services agency.

Google Can Now Tell You’re Not a Robot With Just One Click

[category communications
By Andy Greenberg
12.03.14 |

When Alan Turing first conceived of the Turing Test in 1947, he suggested that a computer program’s resemblance to a human mind could be gauged by making it answer a series of questions written by an interrogator in another room. Jump forward about seven decades, and Google says it’s now developed a Turing Test that can spot a bot by requiring it to do something far simpler: Click on a checkbox.