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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

At the start of every month, ReadHowYouWant, the company that translated my book into braille and audio formats, offers a free chapter download of 20 books. Since March is Women’s History Month and celebrates women authors, ReadHowYouWant is giving away a free chapter of my new book, The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology! Australian-based ReadHowYouWant partners with leading publishers to make their content accessible at the time of publication. It has a small collection of 3,500 titles but they are adding 200 new titles every month. Braille and DAISY titles range in price from $4.99 to $12.99. The free chapter download program is a joint project between ReadHowYouWant and Humanware, an assistive technology company that makes accessible digital book readers for the blind such as the VictorReader Stream. The chapters are available in digital braille (which can be read on a braille display) as well as two audio types: regular MP3 ... keep reading »
My favorite gadgets at this year’s Assistive Technology Industry Association conference, which featured more than 100 vendors, include two communications products and a new PDA for the blind. I also note some worthy mentions – gadgets that I liked because of their design or originality. Here’s the list. ECO2 This eye-gaze system brings the latest in alternative input. For people who cannot use their limbs, nor speak (perhaps someone with ALS — Lou Gehrig’s Disease – or a person who has had a stroke), Prentke-Romich’s ECO2 is a great innovation. To calibrate ECO2, I followed a bouncing ball on screen while it recorded my eye movements – this takes all of 30 seconds. The program, a combination of words, phrases and pictures, can be operated using just the eyes, allowing someone to express their thoughts (and their gratitude for this program.) ($7,795) Proloquo2go An iPhone/iTouch app for people who have trouble communicating, Assistive ... keep reading »
In a much anticipated release, at this year’s Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference HumanWare and Code Factory debuted Oratio for the BlackBerry, the first-ever screen reader for the visually impaired using this smart phone. Oratio uses text-to-speech technology to convert the visual information displayed on the BlackBerry screen into audio output. Finally, visually impaired persons who don’t have an iPhone can have an accessible experience (the iPhone uses Apple’s proprietary VoiceOver screen reader.)   I wrote about this excellent, up-in-coming product in my book, though the name has been changed from Orator to Oratio to avoid any confusion with an existing product called Orator being manufactured by a telecommunications company in the USA. “Although we got accustomed to the name Orator for BlackBerry in the last few months, Oratio is less generic and provides a more personalized name and sound for the product,” says Michel Pepin, Product Manager at HumanWare. The ... keep reading »
I have been to plenty of Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conferences, and this year has all the usual stuff (though gadgets are getting smaller every year!) As I walked the exhibit halls, I was haunted by the recent New York TImes Sunday Magazine article, Listening to Braille, where the author bemoans the decline of braille teaching in the classroom, which she says is contributing to higher illiteracy rates among the blind. I kept an eye out for cool new Braille products, hoping to find the spark that would re-energize braille again. For starers, I liked the sleek design of the Next Generation Perkins Brailler — a typewriter that outputs in braille instead of alpha-numeric. Perkins also just came out with a product called Top Braille. it’s a portable reader with a braille button on top. A user slides the device across printed text, and “feels” the braille button translating the ... keep reading »

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