Friday, September 28, 2012

CNN Adds Closed Captioning on Web and iPad

CNN adds closed captioning on web and iPad. Watch video below:

Source: GAATES

Promote Sign Bilingualism During International Week of the Deaf

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) celebrates International Week of the Deaf (IWD) of the deaf this week from September 24-30, an event observed by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international organization composed of 130 national associations of the deaf. The WFD has designated “Sign Bilingualism is a Human Right,” as the theme for this year’s IWD. IWD is celebrated annually during the last full week of September.
WFD international week of the deaf logo
“The WFD theme of ‘Sign Bilingualism is a Human Right’ represents a basic concept of linguistic access for deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide. This right is absolutely necessary to ensure their empowerment and self-determination. The NAD supports this year’s International Week of the Deaf theme and asks everyone to join in celebrating IWD across the country,” said NAD President Christopher Wagner. “The NAD thanks all organizations and individuals who have taken the time to recognize and celebrate IWD (also known as Deaf Awareness Week), including state associations of the deaf and community organizations across the nation.”

In the United States, the NAD is committed to ensuring that sign language is a human right.  The NAD and numerous other organizations, including the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) have advocated for the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (“CRPD”). The CPRD recognizes sign language as a linguistic right of the deaf and hard of hearing community and the cultural values of this community,  as well as the importance of complete visual access to information. The United States has signed but has not yet ratified the CRPD, which is awaiting a vote in the Senate. If you haven’t taken action, please take action now at:

The International Committee, one of seven committees overseen by the NAD Public Policy Committee, put together a guideline and information on how to best promote IWD and help individuals and organizations across the USA develop ways to celebrate this important week of recognition and pride. Please review this guideline and celebrate deaf culture and heritage, as well as the many sign languages of the world including American Sign Language at:


Monday, September 24, 2012

W3C Announces Plan to Standardize HTML5 by 2015

As part of advancing HTML 5.0 to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation by 2014, the HTML Working Group Chairs proposed a plan today to work in parallel on stabilizing HTML 5.0 and developing the next generation of HTML features. The plan identifies, for the first time, how the Working Group will produce an HTML 5.1 Recommendation by 2016.

HTML5 Logo
The plan, not yet approved by the HTML Working Group, explains how the group anticipates fulfilling the interoperability expectations of the W3C process, including how the group will gather implementation evidence, identify features at risk for Candidate Recommendation, and create a test framework.

Modularity plays an important role in the plan progress. To enable features to evolve independently and rapidly, the group will make use of what it calls “extension specifications.” Some extension specifications may end up being published as stand-alone documents that are part of the “HTML family of specifications”; others may be re-integrated into the “baseline” HTML5 specification.

The plan also includes several elements to facilitate development of accessibility solutions for HTML5. In addition to leveraging the extension specification approach, the plan includes a mandate for the HTML Accessibility Task Force to develop accessibility solutions through cooperation and consensus.

We now invite discussion of plan in the HTML Working Group, Accessibility Task Force, and WAI Protocols and Formats Working Group. If adopted, then the HTML Working Group expects to advance HTML 5.0 to Candidate Recommendation in Q4 of this year.

To read the proposed plan, visit

Source: W3C, GAATES

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Exhibit to Showcase Accessible Tools and Products for Disabled People - October 5-6

In the first of its kind in the area, an Adapted Home Exhibit at the Independence Center will showcase the tools and products that help persons with disabilities live independently in their homes.

Adapted Home Exhibit Oct 5-6
Adapted Home Exhibit Oct 5-6The event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 at the Freedom Financial Services Expo Center, 3650 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80907, United States.

The Adapted Home Exhibit is an event designed to educate the community on what accessible tools exist to keep persons with disabilities independent in their homes and communities. The home will showcase eight rooms filled with more than 1,000 tools that encourage and enable independent living.

“Everyone can benefit from this exhibit-not just people with disabilities,” said Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence Center. “We all know someone with a disability, whether it’s a child, our best friend or a parent getting older. The technology that will be presented in this amazing house will assist people with functional limitations of all ages and their caretakers and show them that they really can be more independent in their homes.”

The event will provide you with an overview of how you may be able to use and incorporate these products for every day living in your home. Some of the items include lighted phone call signalers, talking alarm clocks, accessible showers, garden equipment and kitchen. The items on display vary in cost and level of technology. Many of the items in the home will be on sale in the vendor fair. Accessible vehicles will be displayed.

For more information, visit The Independence Center, GAATES

Registration Now Open for September 28 National Forum on Disability Issues

Along with other aging and disability organizations, NCOA is co-sponsoring this historic nonpartisan event featuring the 2012 presidential candidates and candidates for the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio providing their positions on a wide variety of disability issues, including those affecting older adults.
The forum will be the only national event to focus specifically on disability issues.

Questions are expected to focus on “big picture” issues facing the broad disability community, such as employment, health care, long-term services and supports, education, transportation, housing, and research.

Registration now open! (September 28 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET Columbus, OH)
Source: GAATES

Travel Industry Could Do More to Help People with Disabilities

Despite the success of the London Paralympics, new research has revealed that 86 percent of persons with disabilities who responded to a recent survey think the UK travel industry is still not providing sufficient information about disability access and facilities.

The survey, which was carried out by Adapted Vehicle Hire, the UK’s largest supplier of rental vehicles for  drivers with disabilities and charity, Tourism For All UK, also revealed that 87 percent of respondents had been prevented from travelling because of their disability.

A further 77 percent consider disability access to be ‘very important’ when planning where to go on holiday.

London was identified as the part of UK with the best access and facilities but despite improvements made in the run up to the Paralympics, the Underground was singled out for criticism.

The UK’s airports and train stations also fared badly in the survey with respondents claiming more needed to be done to make them accessible for all.

However there was some encouraging news as over 92 percent of people thought that accessibility had improved overall in the past ten years – 28 percent thought that access was ‘significantly better’.
Lorraine Farnon, Managing Director of Adapted Vehicle Hire, said:

“The results of this survey clearly demonstrate that despite gradual progress, more needs to be done to make the travel industry more accessible for persons with disabilities.

“Following the outstanding success of the Paralympics which has brought disability issues increasingly into the mainstream, there is now an opportunity to make real improvements to access and facilities across the UK.”

Carrie-Ann Lightley, Information Officer from Tourism For All UK, said:

“Tourism For All has been campaigning for the past 30 years to improve the range of travel options and facilities for persons with disabilities Our view is that tourism is important to everyone and we support the government’s aim of making UK tourism the most accessible in Europe.

“We are heartened that most people feel that access and facilities have improved in the past ten years, but the survey also revealed there are big variations across the UK. Access to some rural and historic sites will always present more of a challenge for disabled visitors, but places like airports have scope for significant improvement to better meet the needs of travellers with disabilities.”

The survey results also identified Cornwall and Devon as the most popular holiday destination, followed closely by Spain and France.

Several venues from across the UK were praised for their ease of access and suitability for visitors with disabilities including National Trust properties and the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Source: Industry Today, GAATES

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Building Accessibility Regulations Take Effect September 30

Sept. 30 is the deadline for business owners and operators in the province to comply with new regulations, requiring properly identified and accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities.

The provincial government made amendments to its accessibility regulations in February.
Blue zone parking spaces for public buildings will be required to have permanent signage when the new regulations take effect.

Previously the regulations contained signage requirements, but were not clear on the need for signs to be permanently fixed on a post, building or other structure. The province said this resulted in some temporary signs being removed, for example during snow clearing operations, and the parking spaces being difficult to identify.
The regulations also require the parking space itself to be painted blue and designated with the international symbol for accessibility.

Companies that violate these signage requirements could face fines between $1,000 and $25,000, while fines for building owners range from $500 to $5,000.

“We have listened to the concerns of persons with disabilities in communities throughout this province and have strengthened our regulations to make buildings more accessible,” said Paul Davis, minister of Service NL. “These new regulations have been designed to ensure that building owners and operators are conforming with the new legislation to provide barrier-free parking to individuals with disabilities and I am pleased to see full implementation of the regulations.”

The amendments were made following consultation with organizations, including the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities.

Davis said the regulations support the provincial strategy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

“While we recognize that more communication and awareness need to be done around blue zone parking, we are pleased that the Provincial Government has taken steps to strengthen the building regulations,” said Michelle Murdoch, president of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities. “These changes will ensure that proper signage will be erected to designate parking spaces for persons with disabilities.”

More information on building accessibility requirements can be found online at

Source: The Telegram, GAATES

Basics of Electronic Document Accessibility - October 10

The Accessibility Committee of the Chief Information Officers Council is sponsoring a webinar on October 10, 2012 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The new interagency Accessible Electronic Document Community of Practice will address how to produce accessible electronic documents and will provide resources for agencies to use to make sure electronic documents are accessible. Register online.

Source: GAATES

Governments of Canada and New Brunswick Celebrate Accessible, Affordable Housing

Mike Allen, Member of Parliament for Tobique – Mactaquac, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), along with the Honourable Sue Stultz, New Brunswick Minister of Social Development and Minister Responsible for Housing, today participated in the official opening of a 24-unit development in Grand Falls, that provides a total of 12 affordable housing units for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Funding in the amount of more than $1.4 million has been made available for this housing development through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the federal government’s plan to stimulate the economy and create jobs during the global recession. The federal and provincial governments are contributing equally to this overall investment of $75 million under the amended Canada – New Brunswick Affordable Housing Program Agreement.

“Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Harper Government is taking concrete action to help ensure economic recovery and create the conditions for long-term growth,” said MP Allen. “Funding projects like Place de la Gare will not only improve the overall housing conditions for seniors and persons with disabilities, but also helps to stimulate the local economy and create jobs.”

“Adequate, accessible and affordable housing is a significant factor in helping to enhance the quality of life of New Brunswickers and their families,” said Stultz. “Projects such as this one are good examples of how governments and the community can work together to rebuild New Brunswick.”

Place de la Gare is a 24-unit complex, located at 510 Chapel Street, in Grand Falls. In addition to the federal housing funding of $480,000 for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities provided through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the project received close to $960,000 in rent supplements from the provincial government for 12 units.

The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 605,000 households living in existing social housing. In New Brunswick, this represents some 16,300 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada, through CMHC, is working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642.

Source: GAATES

Friday, September 14, 2012

Manitoba Releases Proposed Accessibility Legislation to Remove Accessibility Barriers

Manitoba’s new Accessibility Advisory Council has delivered its initial recommendations for legislation and standards that would help identify, remove and prevent barriers faced by people with disabilities, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for persons with disabilities.

“This in an important milestone in our work to ensuring better accessibility for all Manitobans,” said Howard.  “I’m very pleased to receive the report and encourage everyone to participate in the creation of provincewide accessibility legislation by reviewing it as well and providing feedback.”

In creating the recommendations, the advisory council met regularly starting in November 2011 and held consultations with people with disabilities and organizations that may be affected by the recommendations.  This included employers and businesses as well as representatives from Manitoba municipalities.

The council, made up of representatives from the disability community and other stakeholders, has submitted recommendations calling for:
  • a process to develop clear, specific and achievable goals;
  • accessibility standards for both the private and public sectors;
  • a central role in the development of legislation for people with disabilities and other stakeholders affected by the legislation, such as businesses and municipalities;
  • no affect in any way on guarantees contained in human rights codes; and
  • regular reviews of progress made.
 more inclusive province for all Manitobans,” said Jim Derksen, chair of the Accessibility Advisory Council.
“We would like to acknowledge this important opportunity to shape the future of accessibility in Manitoba and add that the council has worked collectively, with the community, to provide recommendations we believe will deliver legislation creating greater accessibility and a

The minister is inviting the public to provide comments on the report until Oct. 21.

The report can be viewed or downloaded at the Disabilities Issues Office website, and comments can be forwarded to  For other formats, contact the Disabilities Issues Office at 204-945-7613.

Source: GAATES

SOVO Launches Standards Compliance Program Intended for Canadian Broadcasters Performing Live Closed Captioning

SOVO Technologies Inc, a supplier of turnkey services and great technology innovator in the field of closed captioning for the hearing impaired, on September 4 announces the launch of a compliance program aimed at enabling Canadian broadcasters to meet their new obligations related to French closed captioning.
Sovotech logo
This initiative follows a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on February 21st to impose mandatory standards for French-language closed captioning as a condition of licence to broadcasters, notably regarding the captioning of live programs. These new obligations have taken effect on September 1st 2012.

“We are proud to support the efforts made by the CRTC and the broadcasters to improve the quality of closed captioning for the hearing impaired,” said Serge Forest, President and CEO of SOVO. “We are convinced that these measures will significantly enhance the quality of live captions produced on numerous networks, and this for the benefit of the entire hard-of-hearing and deaf community.”

Existing SOVO customers will have access to new services to support them in meeting the new conditions of licence. SOVO will also offer consultation services for broadcasters not using their live captioning services, but who need assistance in determining their level of compliance to the new standards.
The challenges brought to the broadcasters by the new standards can be found mainly at three levels: operational, administrative and technology.

“From an operational standpoint, the new standards will require broadcasters (or their suppliers) to actively manage the captioners’ performance, in order to ensure they meet all technical requirements at all times, notably regarding accuracy, maximal delays, and outflow of live captions,” said Julie Brousseau, Vice-President of Production at SOVO. “One must ensure that all captioners have the training, tools and support required to meet the new standards. Also, new complementary services such as rapid corrections of captions originally produced live for the purpose of re-broadcast will have to be added to certain broadcasters’ operations.”

From an administrative standpoint, broadcasters will have to produce monthly reports on live captioning accuracy, as well as progress reports on efforts to improve captioning quality every two years. Broadcasters will also have to respond to complaints and commentaries from the community and/or regulatory bodies regarding their support of the mandatory quality standards. SOVO will offer services to fully support their customers in treating all of the administrative requirements.

“From a technology point of view, the different options for live closed captioning in French do not all perform equally,” declared Dominic Lavoie, Vice-President of Technology at SOVO. “Certain technologies, among the most widely used, will be challenged in meeting certain performance requirements, notably regarding the speed of captioning and the maximal transmission delays for live programs with a high rate of speech, such as debates or other programs. Certain systems, as opposed to what is required by the mandatory standards, are not capable of keeping up with the flow of conversations in certain programs. SOVO can cost effectively enable broadcasters in such situations to fully meet their requirements.”

SOVO’s compliance program, available now, consolidates the company’s position as the reference for French live closed captioning in Canada.

For more information, please

Source: GAATES

TextHelp's New Web App Offers Excellent Accessibility within Google Docs

Google Docs
Texthelp Inc., leading provider of award-winning literacy software solutions, on September 6 announced the release of Read&Write for Google Docs. Google Docs allows teachers and students to create and collaborate on documents in real time in the Cloud while Read&Write for Google Docs provides the support tools needed to make these documents accessible to all.
Read&Write for Google Docs integrates many of Read&Write GOLD’s most popular support features into Google documents in the Chrome browser on PCs or Macs. Users simply open a Google document and use the tools on the Read&Write for Google Docs toolbar to:
  • Have the document read aloud with dual color highlighting
  • Access Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Translator, Fact Finder, and Study Skills tools
  • Collect highlights made using the Google Docs highlighters
  • Automatically create a vocabulary list of highlighted words with text definitions and images for each word
Jack Dolan, President of Texthelp Inc., states, “More and more schools and districts are utilizing Google Docs for its collaborative nature and availability in the Cloud and are looking for tools to support all of their students in this environment. Read&Write for Google Docs was designed to ensure anytime accessibility within these documents. Now educators and students can create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users, with familiar Read&Write support tools at their fingertips.”
Read&Write for Google Docs joins an expanding suite of innovative Web Apps from Texthelp:
Apps for use within browsers on iPads, PCs, and Macs:
Read&Write Web - Read aloud web content with dual color highlighting. Includes Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Translator, and Study Skills highlighters.
eBook Reader - Search for, save, and read aloud Bookshare® eBooks with Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Translator, and Study Skills highlighters.
Apps for use on smaller mobile devices, such as iPhones:
Dictionary - Get text definitions and images for typed or pasted words. Definitions can also be read aloud with dual highlighting.
Speech - Read aloud typed or pasted text with dual highlighting.
Spelling - Look up a word to get spelling suggestions, including text definitions and images.
Pricing and Availability
Read&Write for Google Docs is available now free of charge for Read&Write GOLD site license or single user customers who have a current Software Maintenance (SMS) agreement.  For more information, call 888-248-0652, email, or visit

Source: GAATES

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Indian Students Design "Intelligent Wheelchair"

Imagine a wheelchair that moves on your instruction or through the movements of eyes. People with mobility disabilities will be able to move freely if the ‘Intelligent Wheelchair’ conceived by a group of engineering students in Kerala becomes technically feasible.

This is among six innovative projects selected for further development after a unique, first ever talent hunt jointly held by Startup Village, India’s first telecom incubator, and the Kerala Chapter of IEEE Communication Society.
Conceived by five students of Sahrdaya College of Engineering Technology, Kodakara in Thrissur, the ‘Intelligent Wheelchair’ can be operated through eye movements, voice or a lever so that people with physical disabilities can operate it. Sensors to detect hazards, SMS alerts to get connected with the patient and a device to monitor physiological conditions and inform the doctor are other smart options.

‘Smartmotive’, a standing wheelchair that helps a paralyzed person to stand up, SMS Vehicle Locating Solution’, which will save passengers from the ordeal of endless waiting to hire a taxi or auto rickshaw, Project Haritha, a hybrid automated remote irrigation technique for agriculture are among other projects selected in the talent hunt.

Source: GAATES

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

People with Disabilities Face Segregation in Coaching, Researchers Say

Researchers from our Department of Education say attitudes in coaching towards people with disabilities need to change in order for more people to engage in sport.

The researchers said the current view that athletes with disabilities need to be trained by specialist coaches results in segregation between disabled and able-bodied sport participants.

In their paper; Politics, power & the podium: coaching for Paralympic performance, Dr Anthony Bush and Dr Mike Silk say that sports participants should be trained -irrespective of their ability – according to their individual needs.

Dr Bush said: “To work with particular groups, such as Paralympic athletes, it is assumed that you need to have specialist knowledge and skills to be able to do this effectively. Coaches get pigeon-holed or labelled as participation coaches or coaches of children, athletes with a disability or elite athletes.

“This means that people with disabilities are not getting a fair share of training. There is a feeling that there needs to be special coaches for people with disabilities but everyone is an individual with individual needs. This raises challenges to the way that coaches are trained and the way we think about disabled participation.”

The Active People Survey (2008-2009) found that only 6.5 per cent of people with disabilities regularly participate in sport. With specialist sporting wheelchairs costing up from £4,000 cost is also a barrier for people with disabilities who want to engage with sport.

Dr Bush said: “A central tenet of the government’s 2012 legacy is to encourage the whole population to be more physically active.

“There are many reasons why people with disabilities face barriers to participating in sport, for example equipment costs, accessibility, transportation and perceptions on coaching expertise. In addition people with disabilities who wish to coach face barriers such as lack of accessible training resources, opportunities to practice or appropriate coach mentors.”

As part of their research Drs Bush and Silk interviewed Robert Ellchuck, a coach based at the University’s Sports Training Village who trains Paralympic gold medalists Katrina Hart and Ben Rushgrove.

He said: “You can have a really big impact with sport by including people with disabilities in a general sense. Not in a special sense, where you run disability specific things because that is still segregation. Segregation doesn’t work. You don’t have to do anything special. You just include them as an individual.”

Source: University of Path, GAATES

Paralympians Highlight Digital Barriers for People with Disabilities

Two leading Paralympians – Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Karen Darke – are among campaigners urging local authorities and others to harness the wave of awareness of disability issues generated by the home games to push for more inclusive websites, apps and digital services.

Karen Darke, a medal prospect for GB in this Friday’s women’s handcycling road race at Brands Hatch, is among high profile campaigners who have recorded a series of video messages  highlighting the new frontier for disability rights in the modern age: the digital frontier.

“Everywhere I go I have my laptop and my iPhone with me, and I spend a lot of my time on them,” says Darke in her message. “Technology can offer so much, an ability to stay in touch with people, to know what’s going on, to find out information at the press of a button… I can’t imagine not using technology, and all the ways of communicating with people – but actually there are a lot of people out there who don’t use it, and it’s not part of their everyday life.”

The campaign, ‘Go ON Gold’, aims to highlight the fact that some four million persons with disabilities in the UK have never used the internet, either because of design barriers or because they may be unaware of advances in technology that can make access easier.

The Go ON Gold website will act as a central focus for links to key resources and expertise, ranging from charities providing free or subsidised equipment, to centres offering one-to-one advice, and guidance for website developers to ensure the accessibility of the digital content they produce.

The project is aiming to sign up 1,000 new ‘digital champions’ over the next 12 months who will help persons with disabilities use accessible technology. It is also inviting organisations of all kinds – including local authorities – to become partners and help spread the word among their own staff and service users.
Other high profile campaigners who have recorded videos for Go ON Gold  include sixteen-times Paralympic medal-winner, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

“For people whose mobility is compromised or who lack the resources to be able to get out and about as much as they would like, full internet access can be hugely liberating,” Baroness Grey-Thompson said this week. “In front of the screen, we can all be equal and Go ON Gold is set to make this a reality.”
Go ON Gold is a partner campaign of Go ON UK, a new national charity chaired by UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox and backed by the BBC, Age UK, the Post Office, TalkTalk, Lloyds, the Big Lottery Fund and Eon. It is supported by social investor Nominet Trust.

Source: UKauthority, GAATES

Game Accessibility Guidelines Published

On September 3 sees the launch of a comprehensive developer guide to addressing the accessibility issues faced by over 20% of video gamers.  has been created by a group of developers and experts, coordinated by Ian Hamilton, an accessibility and usability specialist with a background in game development. The website offers all developers guidelines on how to better serve the needs of gamers with a range of visual, hearing, speech, learning and motor disabilities. The hope is that by highlighting the relatively simple changes needed, the games industry as a whole will be able to ensure that they quickly become part of its normal working practices.

According to Ian, “Studios and publishers often don’t realise the huge number of gamers who struggle with existing games due to barriers which could be easily addressed as part of the development process. Recent research by PopCap  showed that as many as 20% of gamers are disabled. On top of that, 15% of adults have a reading age of below 11 years old, almost 10% of male gamers have some degree of red-green colour blindness, and many more have temporary disabilities such as a broken arm, or situational such as playing in bright sunlight. Developers are usually very keen to work around these barriers, and are simple solutions too, such as combining colours with symbols, or allowing text to disappear on a button press rather than a timer. Often all they need to make their games more inclusive is just a bit of information to start from.”

Other simple but important suggestions in the guidelines include configurable controls, choice of difficulty, clear text formatting and visual cues for audio information. All of these are easy to implement if thought about early enough, and are generally part of good game design that benefits all players.

At the same time they have tremendous benefit for certain players: for example, a woman became so frustrated at being unable to understand cut scenes without subtitles she resorted to lobbying games publishers on their forums; or the quadriplegic gamer who felt the need to plead via Twitter for developers to give him the ability to move the fire from the trigger to a face button so he can play the same games as his friends.

For Ian, creating the guidelines has been a six month process, driven by his desire to do something about the number of studios who unwittingly ignore the needs of players through a lack of knowledge about the barriers disabled gamers face when trying to play their favourite games.

“The guidelines started really a few years ago as a personal project triggered by work I did whilst at the BBC, which included creating games and products for disabled children. That expanded into advising internal teams and 3rd party game studios on game accessibility, which made me realise firstly to what degree gamers were unnecessarily being shut out by the games industry through lack of awareness, and secondly the huge value that games have: it’s not just about delivering access, it’s about entertainment, culture, socialising, the very things that are the difference between existing and living. Gaming really does have a huge impact on people’s lives,” said Ian. After requests from working with the wider industry he gathered a group of studios, accessibility experts and academics to develop them further, including Blitz games studios, Headstrong Games, Aardman Digital, OneSwitch and Stockholm University.

“Through the process we’ve spoken to developers around the world, from small indies to large triple-A studios, and the support has been fantastic. There are already several games in development that are using the guidelines to deliver the best possible experience to as many people as possible.”

One of the developers that the guidelines have already helped is Poland-based Vivid Games , who sought Ian’s help when creating a PC version of its recent mobile and PS3 game, Speedball 2: Evolution.

“When we were developing the mobile version of Speedball 2 we included a special mode for colour blind gamers, which changed the palette and increased the contrast to ensure that all the on-screen action was still visible.” said Remi Koscielny, President of Vivid Games. “For the PC version we wanted to increase the accessibility of the game, so we worked closely with Ian to ensure that every part of the game was optimised for impaired gamers. Having learnt what a major difference can be made to so many people with just a little extra effort, we certainly hope that all developers take on board the fantastic work that Ian has done.”  is an open and free resource for anyone involved in the games industry around the world to use. It will continue to evolve, and feedback from developers is welcomed via the website.

For more information, contact:
Valentina Ciolino
tel: +44 (0)207033 2660

Source: GAATES

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chinese Researchers Develop Mind-Controlled Drone

Zhejiang University researchers have developed a system that allows users to control drones with their thoughts, called FlyingBuddy2.

The researchers aim to give people with mobility disabilities a new avenue for interaction – for example, using the helicopter to take a close-up look at objects which are out of reach.

One of the two quadrotor drones seen here is controlled by thoughts alone. (Photo credit: Zhejiang University, Pervasive Computing Group CCNT Lab)
One of the two quadrotor drones seen here is controlled by thoughts alone.
(Photo credit: Zhejiang University, Pervasive Computing Group CCNT Lab)

Researchers at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, have posted a YouTube video demonstrating a mind-controlled drone. Watch the video below:

The video above shows how the system works. By wearing an Electroencephalography (EEG) headset that interprets brain activity as commands for the quadcopter. The headset uses Bluetooth to connect to a laptop, which then transmits the instructions onwards to the aircraft.

Chinese researchers claim they can pilot a quadcopter by thinking “left hard” to take off or land, “left” to rotate the quadcopter clockwise, “right” to fly forward and “push” to fly up.

The Flying Buddy team will present their work at the Ubicomp Ubiquitous Computing Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this week.

Source: GAATES

Edmonton to Get Smart Buses Next Spring

Trapeze Group on August 30 announced that it has been selected to provide the City of Edmonton Transit System (ETS) with a new comprehensive intelligent transportation system to help them better manage their fixed-route bus service and provide travelers with real time transit information.

Guided by the City Vision and The Way We Move (the Transportation Master Plan), ETS has developed a three-year business plan that focuses on improving the quality of life for Edmonton citizens by making improvements to the public transit system. The Trapeze intelligent transportation solution was selected to help address ETS’s objective for a fully integrated, progressive, easy-to-use, public transit system that supports economic development and helps improve the quality of life in Edmonton.

ETS Director and Project Co-sponsor Lorna Stewart noted, “The Trapeze solution offers Edmonton strong functionality with excellent customer information tools and back office features to help manage the transit service in real-time.  This project builds on a track record of successful technology deployments between Edmonton Transit and Trapeze, most notably the end to end system used in Edmonton’s disabled transit service.”

Computer-aided dispatch and automatic vehicle location (CAD/AVL) from Trapeze Group along with Trapeze’s real time traveler information solutions, enables ETS to provide riders with critical traveler pre-trip information such as real-time arrival and departure information at bus stops, on the Web and on their mobile devices as well on-trip information such as next stop announcements on the bus.

For dispatchers the Trapeze CAD/AVL system means they can monitor and manage the fleet in real time helping to ensure on-time performance and providing the ability to respond to service disruptions more quickly for greater efficiencies. Via an onboard monitoring solution, further vehicle and driver analysis is collected and reviewed for potential improvements on vehicle performance.

For bus operators the Trapeze onboard mobile data terminals (MDT) makes logging into the vehicle system easy with single sign-on capabilities connected to all the in-vehicle systems including third-party equipment.

ETS provides service to a population of more than 812,000 residents across 700 square kilometers with more than 205 regular routes and nearly 400,000 daily boardings. The agency’s mission is to provide customer-focused, safe, reliable and affordable public transit services that link people and places.

Source: GAATES

Iansyst Showcases Latest Adaptive Technology at Special Needs Show 2012

Showcasing the latest developments in assistive technology, iansyst – a leading supplier of literacy software solutions, will be exhibiting on stand P23 at the 2012 Special Needs Show, London. Visitors will be offered the opportunity to speak with assistive technology experts, demo the latest products and discover more about iansyst’s latest developments.

Supporting people with dyslexia, mild visual impairment and for those with English as their second language, iansyst will be introducing CapturaTalk for Android™ for mobile phones and tablet devices.

CapturaTalk for Android utilises Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to capture text from a photograph or digital document and then reads the information back to the user. Other features include synchronised colour 

highlighting of words or sentences as they are read aloud; a talking word processor to assist in writing emails and documents; the ability to add voice notes via the built in recorder tool; the ability to save text as audio files for listening to at a later date and an embedded talking browser and accessible interface designed to make browsing and writing easier. Completing the package is an online translation tool which allows the user to translate text from or into over 20 languages.

Visit the stand to receive expert advice and guidance on assistive technologies and discover iansyst’s wide range of leading software, hardware and assistive technology solutions designed to help people with dyslexia and other disabilities.

For further information call 01223 420101, email: or visit

Source: GAATES

The ACM 14th Annual Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (September 5th-8th)

The 14th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp 2012) will be held in Pittsburgh, PA, USA on September 5-8 (Wednesday through Saturday), 2012.

Ubicomp is the premier outlet for novel research contributions that advance the state of the art in the design, development, deployment, evaluation and understanding of ubiquitous computing systems.

Ubicomp is an interdisciplinary field of research and development that utilizes and integrates pervasive, wireless, embedded, wearable, and/or mobile technologies to bridge the gaps between the digital and physical worlds.

 The Ubicomp 2012 program will feature a keynote, technical paper sessions, specialized workshops, live demonstrations, posters, video presentations, and a Doctoral Colloquium.

Source: GAATES