There are many web browsers to choose from when working on a Windows machine, but some are more accessible than others when the user has a visual impairment. Fortunately, Vivaldi has recognized that accessibility improvements needed to be added to their browser.
If you have an Android device and a braille display, the BrailleBack app from the Play Store is a must have. The app makes it possible to read and input on your Android device using the braille display.
One of the biggest and most important obstacles that blind people face is meaningful employment. The American Foundation for the Blind recognizes this problem, and has established a CareerConnect page on their website that helps blind people overcome some of the difficulties that they encounter when seeking employment.
Some of the tools that the AFB offers are: Explore Jobs for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Connect with Successfully Employed Mentors with Vision Loss, Develop a Resume or Personal Data Sheet, Prepare for a Job Interview, Disclose a Visual Impairment to a Potential Employer, and Improve Employment Outcomes by Utilizing Career-Related Lesson Plans.
In this week’s VIP, Nelson and James discuss the top stories on Cool Blind Tech. They also delve into the subject of housekeeping.
At this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup, a team from Hungary developed a glove that has a refreshable braille cell built into the index finger of the glove. The GlovEye works with an app on your smart phone. Just point the phone’s camera at some text, and braille will appear on the glove.
At this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup, a team from Hong Kong created a mobile app that describes people, colors, objects, and nearby places. The team is focusing on eliminating the social isolation that can occur when a person loses their sight.
At this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup, Team Titamas from Japan designed a smart cane that is different from the ultrasonic and laser canes that we have seen in the past. The team recognized that it is important that a blind person not only know that there is an object in their path, but also what the object is, where it is, and does it pose a danger to the user.
The Walky uses image recognition to identify the object in real time. It then uses directional voice feedback to communicate that information to the user.
A recent firmware update to Apple’s HomePod shows that accessibility support has been added to the operating system, and that includes VoiceOver. The device is voice activated, but it does have a touch surface that allows the user to long press Siri and adjust the volume. With VoiceOver included, this touch surface will be accessible to the visually impaired.
For now, the device does not support third parties or extensions, but that could change before the release of the HomePod in December.
The Sunu band is a smart watch that is specifically designed to help the blind navigate around people and objects. It sends out ultrasonic waves up to 13FT away, and then provides haptic feedback to make blind people aware of objects and people. The range and feedback are fully customizable by way of an app. The Sunu Band can be paired to your phone by Bluetooth. It also detects openings such as doorways and threshold’s, but it doesn’t seem to be able to detect drop offs.
You can purchase the Sunu Band here for $299.
The Talking Laundry Module is a box that plugs into existing and many new General Electric washers and dryers. The device mounts on the side of the washer or dryer by way of magnets that are on the back of the box. One module can work with both the washer and dryer. When adjusting the dials on your washer and dryer, the device will give spoken feedback that lets you know which cycle you are on. Once you press start on the washer or dryer, the module will let you know how much time remains in the cycle. The module has a volume nob to control the level of the spoken feedback, and it has a button that you can press anytime to find out how much time is remaining in the washer or dryer’s cycle.
GE developed this device in cooperation with the Kentucky School for the Blind and the American Printing House for the Blind. You can purchase it here for $99.