A new company called Misty Robotics Inc. will be building personal robots. The company, which is a spin-off of robotic toy company Sphero, launched with $11.5 million in Series A funding from Venrock, Foundry Group, and others.
Marwa Mohammed, a jewellery and bags designer, has created an accessory collection made of silver using the Braille language, to help empower people with disabilities and make them happy.
Join Jessica, Tomi, and Rachel for another exciting VIP as they explore this week’s latest in technology. This week, it’s all about movies, and the devices you watch them on. Check out these exciting stories.
This is the time of year, where the blindness organizations in the U.S. round up the troops and get everyone together for their annual conventions! The American Council of the Blind is holding there’s from June 30-July 7 in Sparks, Nevada. There’ll be plenty of technology to see at the exhibit hall, workshops until you drop, and seminars and meetings to keep you hoppin’ throughout the day. And just to make sure you earn your sleep at night, there’ll be plenty of activities and gatherings happening after the exhibit hall closes each day. From a showcase of talented folks, (you know, ACB’s version of “So You Think You Can Dance”), among other wonderful things, to tours that take place around the city. From a candy factory to a train museum, there are activities for everyone!
The entire line of 2017 Philips brand televisions and video players now offers Enhanced Accessibility to allow blind and visually impaired users to control the devices’ functions. Adding Enhanced Accessibility to products entails the addition of voice guide descriptive menus, easy to read user interface, guide dots on remote controls, easy access to closed captioning/subtitles and secondary audio, easy access to support, and an easy way to identify these products with the help of an Enhanced Accessibility logo.
If you are visually impaired, you know what a challenge it can be to swim freely without any assistance. First point, the wall is not your friend. If your swimming at top speed, and you can’t see that you are approaching the wall, it isn’t going to turnout well for you. Also, it can be a challenge to stay in your swimming lane and out of the way of other swimmers.
IBM took on this challenge by developing a system of Bluetooth beacons and haptic devices to help the blind swimmers. Sense Bluetooth doesn’t work under water, they placed Bluetooth beacons on a steel wire that runs 4 to 5 feet above the water along the center of the lane. The swimmers ware a device on their heads beneath their swimming caps that vibrate more intensely as they stay centered. So far, the tests have yielded very positive results, and the blinds swimmers feel a sense of freedom that they haven’t felt before.
IBM and West Virginia’s University’s Center for Disability Inclusion have developed a Mobile workplace accommodation case management app. The Mobile Accommodation Solution is designed to help employers create a more inclusive workplace environment for employees with disabilities. As of March 2017, only 20.4% of people with disabilities were employed, while 68.7% of people without a disability were employed. There are many reasons for this disparity, but one of the reasons is that employer’s do not know what accommodations are necessary for a person with a disability, and they also don’t know how to request those accommodation’s. Employees also often don’t know how to request accommodations. The app provides an accessible environment on iOS or Android for employers and employees to fill out the appropriate forms and get them to the correct people to handle the requests. The MAS app will also leverage the deep knowledge and tools of the Job Accommodation Network, a leading source of free and expert guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Even if an employer has met the accommodation needs of an employee, things change over time. An employee who has never needed workplace accommodations, or a different employee who has had accommodation need met, may later find that they need additional or different workplace accommodations. This app intends to tackle those issues as well.
The iOS version of the app is expected later this year, and the Android version will be available in 2018.
Blind since birth, Pete Haertel has never seen a photograph, but the sculpted 3D versions of the five award-winning photographs in Points of View, a new exhibition at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, are the closest he’s come to experiencing visual art.
If you have a braille display with a Perkins style keyboard, you can control your iOS device by entering certain key combinations. I will include a list of these braille keyboard commands. While some of them will work with iOS 10 as well, iOS 11 will allow you to assign keyboard commands where none currently exist, and also change existing keyboard commands.
To assign a keyboard command where none exists, or change an existing keyboard command, go to Settings\General\Accessibility\VoiceOver\Braille.
From there, select more info next to the braille display that you have paired to your device, and then select Braille Commands. Now you will see a list of buttons like Braille, Device, Interaction, Keyboard, ETC. Each one has a list of braille commands that you can see when you click on one. I have included the complete list below; to make it easier to find the command you are looking for.
This week, the team is quite active! Join Rachel, Jessica, and Joel, as they discuss topics from a 9-month National Fitness Challenge, to the Ecobee4 Thermostat, to the Amazon Echo stepping into the communication market.