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[By Michael Crossland] I have reviewed several electronic readers to determine whether they are useful for people with low vision (see my reviews of the Kindle 2; Sony Reader; and the iPad). Amazon have recently released a new version of the Kindle that is known as Kindle 3. A noticable feature about the new Kindle is how small and light it is. Before my Kindle arrived I saw an older man in the waiting area outside our low vision clinic reading one with a Keeler segment (a small high powered spectacle lens, which requires text to be held a couple of inches from the face). He remarked how easy it was to hold the Kindle at 5cm (about two inches) for a prolonged period of time, unlike a heavier book or larger newspaper. Amazon claims that the screen has higher contrast as well. I was skeptical about this claim but measured the Michelson ... keep reading »
Cal State Northridge is launching this semester a new Master of Science in Assistive Technology Studies and Human Services (ATHS), believed to be the first such degree program in the country, according to CSUN’s blog. Offered jointly by the Colleges of Health and Human Development and Engineering and Computer Science and CSUN’s Tseng College of Extended Learning, the new program is aimed at mid-career professionals interested in understanding and working with all aspects of the new technologies-from conceptualization and design to use and instruction. It will include more than 60 Northridge faculty and,representatives of the university’s nationally acclaimed Center on Disabilities. The CSUN master’s program encompasses research and design; law, ethics and policy; counseling education and the dynamics of play. The technological aspects are enhanced by the program’s link to the master’s program in assistive and rehabilitative technology in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. There are a total of 14 students ... keep reading »
More cool inventions coming out of Georgia Tech, this time from the school’s Center for Music Technology. An “audio aquarium” is in the works that will help blind people experience marine life. It works by pairing fish and their movements with music via visual-recognition software that creates a symphony of sounds. To be sure, it’s not random music emanating from the fish tanks. Specialized software links each fish movement to different instruments that change in pitch and tempo as the fish patrol the tank. Fish that move toward the surface have a higher pitch. The faster they move, the faster the tempo. Georgia Tech scientists hope to install their invention in aquariums and zoos across the nation, including the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, the world’s largest. The technology can be extended to other platforms, and the team has used it to track ants and other animals. In a Boston.com article, ... keep reading »

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