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COVID-19 and Blindness: Why the New Touchless, Physically-Distant World Sucks for People with Visual Impairment

Nicholas A. Giudice, Ph.D.
Jun 3

As a congenitally blind person, it has become obvious to me that my reliance on touch as a primary mode of experiencing the world puts me at odds with current best practices for avoiding the coronavirus. The principle guidance for safeguarding against COVID-19 is to (1) curtail physical contact with those around us (or the things they touch), (2) limit touching of our body (especially of the face), and (3) maintain a minimum proximity bubble during social interactions (ideally of 6-feet or more). In this essay, I discuss how an unanticipated consequence of following this tri-part guidance for staying ‘safe’ is the effective demonization of touch, which has led to many unforeseen challenges for more than 12 million people in the U.S. (and over 285 million people worldwide) who are blind or visually impaired (BVI).

Digital Accessibility Improving, but People with Disabilities Still Seek More Inclusive Access

Published on June 18, 2019 in Broadband’s Impact/Digital Inclusion/FCC/Innovation by Masha Abarinova

ARLINGTON, Virginia – June 18, 2019 Comprehensive legislation addressing accessibility is necessary to ensure that information technology is available to a wider group of people, particularly to people with disabilities, said panelists speaking at the M-Enabling Summit here on Tuesday.

Innovations involving wireless 5G technologies, for example, use multiple bandwidths including mid-band and low-band, which are more available in rural areas. But some of 5G’s functions will be more available than others, as the gaps in rural coverage present a “real problem” for which a “massive funding effort will be necessary,” said Paul Schroeder, vice president of public policy at Aira. The company offers wearable smart glasses and an integrated mobile app helping people with limited visibility.

Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities

Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities

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.

New Online Bingo Game launched for the Blind

11th December 2013
by Wayne Howe

Recently I came across the news of a new online bingo game that had been created for blind and partially sighted people. This intrigued me somewhat as it had never crossed my mind how blind people even accessed the internet, never mind played online games.


Robot Sensing and Smartphones Help Blind Navigate

Posted Mar 22, 2013
Original, 01 May 2012 by Helen Knight
Magazine issue 2862.

ROBOTS need help navigating their surroundings and sophisticated location systems to keep track of their position. Now the same technologies are being adapted to help blind people navigate indoor and outdoor spaces independently.

Deaf, Blind Sue Over Web Shopping

Advocates for Disabled Say Netflix, Target Are Legally Obligated to Make Sites Easier to Navigate

March 21, 2013, 6:54 p.m. ET

Stephen Voss for The Wall Street Journal

Anne Taylor uses a Google Nexus 7 tablet at the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore.
.Commerce has moved online. Now, the disability lawsuits are following.

Advocates for disabled Americans have declared that companies have a legal obligation to make their websites as accessible as their stores, and they’ve filed suits across the country to force them to install the digital version of wheelchair ramps and self-opening doors.

OPM Issues Final Rule to Simplify Schedule A, Hiring Authority for Persons With Disabilities

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Contact: Lindsey O’Keefe

Washington, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued final regulations pertaining to a special hiring authority for the appointment of persons with certain disabilities.

The final rule for “Excepted Service – Appointment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Severe Physical Disabilities, and Psychiatric Disabilities,” also known as “Schedule A Hiring Authority,” simplifies the hiring process for job applicants with disabilities who have work, educational, or other relevant experience, by relieving them of the burden of procuring “certificates of readiness” as a condition of appointment.

.Samsung Struggles to Block iPhone Function for the Blind

By Leo Kelion
22 February 2013 Last updated at 13:34 ET
Technology reporter

The VoiceOver function is designed to help blind and partially sighted consumers use the iPhone

Samsung has suffered a setback in its effort to win an iPhone ban based on a function making its software accessible to blind people.

The South Korean firm had sought an injunction in a German court arguing Apple’s VoiceOver screen-access facility infringed one of its patents.

However, the judge has ordered the case to be suspended pending another ruling that could invalidate Samsung’s claim.

Disability campaigners had expressed concern about the case.

B.C. Plans to Slash Funding for Adults With Disabilities

Lindsay Kines / Times Colonist
February 20, 2013

The B.C. government plans to drastically reduce the average amount of money it spends on adults with developmental disabilities over the next three years, budget documents show.

Adults with fetal alcohol disorder and autism who receive service under the personal supports initiative will see the biggest decline. Documents show the average cost per client in that program dropping from $24,000 to $16,000 this year alone — a 33 per cent decline.

In two years time, the average cost per client in the program will be less than half what it is today, the documents show.