Posted October 23, 2017 By Lee Learson

Young People Who Are Blind Write Reviews of Film and Video…

The American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project (ACB-ADP) and the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) are co-sponsoring an exciting opportunity for blind and visually impaired young people, in four categories from ages 7 to 21: the Benefits of Audio Description in Education (BADIE) contest.

Kids love movies! Multimedia experiences are integral to public, private, and special education curriculum. Audio description provides access to all the visual images of the films and videos that sighted young people enjoy.

Students choose an audio-described film or video from the more than 6,000 titles available through Read the remainder of this entry »

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The Center on Technology and Disability has a new resource paper out on selecting assistive technology with students and young adults. This resource helps families to get teens and young adults involved in learning about and selecting assistive technology. An important goal for older students is to understand the areas in which technology can support them in their educational and employment goals. This enables students to advocate for themselves, and to take an active role in selecting assistive technology to address their needs.  This is a downloadable resource on the CTD website  .

The CTD website has a great library of resources including Early Childhood, Education K-12, Student & Family Support, Transition and State & Local Resources!

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BlindWays & Be My Eyes… Apps For Independence!

Posted September 20, 2017 By Lee Learson

GPS technology is only accurate to within 30 feet or so – not a problem for sighted commuters, but that “last 30 feet of frustration” could mean missing the bus entirely for those who are blind or have low vision.

Funded by a $750,000 Google Grant, Perkins Solutions, the technology arm of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., proposed BlindWays, a mobile app that provides visually impaired commuters with clues and landmarks for each stop, crowd-sourced from sighted users.

BlindWays is just one of many recent app store entries marketed toward the visually impaired. The tech industry has long offered solutions to help people with disabilities maintain their independence. But with the rise of smartphones, clunky and expensive devices designed for just one purpose have given way to more accessible – and affordable – apps.

What’s more, the near ubiquity of smartphones has made it easy for sighted users to lend a hand, making sure that apps like BlindWays stay up to date, while taking a few moments out of their day to put themselves in another person’s shoes. Since the app’s launch, volunteers have submitted some 6,000 clues for Greater Boston’s 8,000 bus stops.

Another app, Be My Eyes, which went live in 2015, establishes a direct video connection between visually impaired users and sighted volunteers. The premise is simple: Many people who are blind don’t need any actual assistance in completing their daily tasks, but merely need a little help.

A sighted volunteer might be asked to help identify which of Read the remainder of this entry »

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Apple Store Field Trip Experience Now Includes Skoog!

Posted September 18, 2017 By Lee Learson

Take your students or fellow teachers on a Field Trip to the Apple Store for an unforgettable learning experience. Students will create amazing work right on the spot. They’ll take their imaginations to new heights using Apple products to produce immersive, creative projects. Field Trip makes sure students and teachers walk away knowing that whatever they dream is possible through education, creativity, and dedication.

And you can now play Skoog in Apple stores around the world! Skoog is part of Apple’s new multisensory learning Field Trip sessions offered in Apple stores around the world! Students can create amazing work right on the spot, taking their imaginations to new heights using Apple products to produce immersive, creative projects. And now they are doing it with iPad and Skoog! Whatever your skills, abilities or musical talents, Skoog’s universal design enables fun, accessible, expressive music-making for children, parents, teachers, musicians and families, including those with disabilities.

Every classroom is different. Apple Field Trips can be, too. Teachers can tailor their trip to complement the education the kids are already getting in their classrooms. Field Trip themes and topics include the following: Read the remainder of this entry »

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UConn Introduces Adaptive Sports Program

Posted September 15, 2017 By Lee Learson

By Antonio Salazar, staff writer for The Daily Campu

The University of Connecticut became a pioneer in the world of adapted sports by bringing a wheelchair basketball program to campus this fall. Mike Willie, a former graduate student at UConn, approached the university about creating a student organization and in the spring of 2017, Husky Adapted was created.

Willie’s goal for the organization was not only to start an adaptive sports program, but also to promote diversity and inclusiveness on campus for students with disabilities.

Assisting Willie in the process is Ryan Martin, Connecticut resident and former professional wheelchair basketball player.

At UConn, Martin is looking to set the standard and create a plan for other schools to have adapted sports programs.

“The UConn model would be there to show other universities how to go about creating an action plan. This would include tasks like how to assess the population, how to build stakeholders internally and externally, as well as creating a viable business model,” Martin said. “We are hoping that by creating this plan and showing how it can be done, that it will allow for other universities to have a more optimistic view that the creation of programs like this can be done going forward.” Read the remainder of this entry »

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GPS SmartSoles on the Verizon Network

Posted September 13, 2017 By Lee Learson

GTX Corp (OTCBB: GTXO), an Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider in the personal location, wearable and wandering assistive technology business, announced today that it has partnered with ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC), a leading global provider of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and IoT solutions, to provide connectivity and distribution in the U.S. for  its new Verizon GPS SmartSole® product. SmartSole, which is launching this week ahead of schedule, will be available for order on the ORBCOMM web platform, which will enable connectivity on the Verizon nationwide network as well as provide monthly billing services.

GTX Corp’s patented GPS SmartSoles, the world’s first wearable yet invisible tracking technology, are placed in the wearer’s shoes and contain a GPS module connected through a cellular network that sends a GPS location to a central monitoring website or app. The product was initially created as a wander guard solution for those at risk due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism or traumatic brain injury and have a tendency to wander or become lost or disoriented. They can also be used by Read the remainder of this entry »

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“Seeing AI”: A New App from Microsoft

Posted September 1, 2017 By Lee Learson

While the number of apps for folks with visual impairments that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the ubiquitous “cloud” continues to grow, Microsoft’s latest entry, Seeing AI, may be a game changer.

According to Business Insider magazine, Microsoft first showed off the prototype over a year ago, but released the official version this week.

According to Microsoft, the new app “[…]narrates the world around you. Designed for the low vision community, this research project harnesses the power of AI to describe people, text and objects.” The software currently has five functions, called “channels.” Two channels deal exclusively with the recognition of text (one for signs and short phrases, and one that reads whole pages of text). One of the channels can detect and decipher bar codes. Another channel will soon be added that will be a currency reader.

The last two “channels” are perhaps the most exciting. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Volunteer at ATIA 2018

Posted August 30, 2017 By Lee Learson

Share your time and expertise at ATIA 2018 by becoming a volunteer! ATIA is looking for volunteers to serve as session monitors, sighted guides, and poster scanners. In exchange for volunteering at the conference, volunteers will receive a 50% discount on ATIA 2018 registration!

Poster Scanner

Session Monitor

Sighted Guide

Pre-Conference: January 30-31 | Conference: January 31 – February 3

Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center | Orlando, FL

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Amazon Video Announces Support for Audio Description

Posted June 28, 2017 By Lee Learson

American Counsel for the Blind and The Audio Description Project are pleased to announce with Amazon Video the availability of AUDIO DESCRIBED movies and TV shows — over 125 of them initially!  The ADP website now lists 117 movies and 10 Amazon-produced TV shows, all with audio description tracks.  Sample movie titles include:

  • Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Fences
  • Gravity
  • As well as multiple offerings of Harry Potter, Jack Reacher, Mission Impossible, and Paranormal Activity.

In addition to movies, Amazon is offering Read the remainder of this entry »

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The Braille Nature Trail & Sensory Garden Directory

Posted June 24, 2017 By Lee Learson

According to the World Health Organization, about 285 million people adults and children worldwide are blind or visually impaired. Navigating the outdoors is challenging for the visually impaired, and Braille trails and Sensory Gardens offer sustainable opportunities for increased mobility and access to nature.

Nature for All has launched a new website to bring outdoor experiences to the blind and visually impaired. This website provides locations and information about Read the remainder of this entry »

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