The 'Kindle for the blind': British startup reveals $700 Braille e-reader

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A British startup plans to debut a Braille e-reader for blind people this year that should greatly enhance their reading experience and spare them from lugging around hefty print volumes. Since it was developed by Louis Braille in the 19th Century, the alphabet of raised dots has brought the joy of reading to millions of blind and partially-sighted people. But in its printed form it's not exactly convenient or portable: A Braille copy of the Bible can take up about 5 feet (1.5 metres) of shelf space. British firm Bristol Braille Technology hopes to help the blind read while on the go. Canute 360 is the world's first multi-line Braille e-reader.


Existing Technologies Can Assist the Disabled

Communications of the ACM

More than 20% of U.S. adults live with some form of disability, according to a September 2015 report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest generation of smartphones, tablets, and personal computers are equipped with accessibility features that make using these devices easier, or at least, less onerous, for those who have sight, speech, or hearing impairments. These enhancements include functions such as screen-reading technology (which reads aloud text when the user passes a finger over it); screen-flashing notification when a call or message comes in for the hearing impaired; and voice controls of basic functions for those who are unable to physically manipulate the phone or computing device's controls. Other technologies that can help the disabled have or are coming to market, and not all of them are focused simply on providing access to computers or smartphones. Irrespective of the accessibility provided, most market participants agree more needs to be done to help those with disabilities to fully experience our increasingly digital world.


The technology helping blind people to see

#artificialintelligence

Earlier this week, Facebook updated its iOS app offering voice descriptions of photographs uploaded by its users. A big step forward for accessibility, but it's far from the only company looking to make the world more inclusive to the visually impaired. In fact, rapid advances in artificial intelligence, machine vision and image-recognition technology are opening up the digital world to the blind and visually impaired – and helping them to interact with their surroundings. One interesting example is Austrian start-up BLITAB, which has created the first ever tactile tablet for blind and visually impaired people, dubbed "the iPad for the blind". As Kristina Tsvetanova, co-founder & CEO at BLITAB Technology, explains, the device looks similar to an ebook but displays small physical bubbles instead of using a screen, which means users can view whole pages of braille text at once, without any mechanical elements.


The technology helping blind people to see

#artificialintelligence

Earlier this week, Facebook updated its iOS app offering voice descriptions of photographs uploaded by its users. A big step forward for accessibility, but it's far from the only company looking to make the world more inclusive to the visually impaired. In fact, rapid advances in artificial intelligence, machine vision and image-recognition technology are opening up the digital world to the blind and visually impaired – and helping them to interact with their surroundings. One interesting example is Austrian start-up BLITAB, which has created the first ever tactile tablet for blind and visually impaired people, dubbed "the iPad for the blind". As Kristina Tsvetanova, co-founder & CEO at BLITAB Technology, explains, the device looks similar to an ebook but displays small physical bubbles instead of using a screen, which means users can view whole pages of braille text at once, without any mechanical elements.


11 innovations that increase digital inclusion for people with disabilities

Daily Mail - Science & tech

As many as one billion people--15 per cent of the world's population--have some form of disability, with around three per cent suffering from severe disabilities, according to World Bank. For most of these people, accessing modern technology and all it has to offer presents a host of difficulties. Even something as simple as using a cell phone can be impossible. Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 16) aims to combat that. Launched in 2015, the day is designed to get everyone thinking and talking about improving digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.