Odds and Ends - Bite-Sized Bits of Access Technology Goodness

It's been busy for the Access technology team in the last few weeks. Unbelievably, it has been less than a month since we returned from the CSUN conference. In that time we've seen some pretty exciting things going on around the world of accessible technology and we wanted to share a few of those things with you. None of these are super high-tech, nor are they overly complicated, but each of these projects are fun, or useful or both, and their creators deserve a shout-out for working very obviously to include everyone.

Phones for Low Vision and Blind Seniors

For all of you who attended, or were unable to attend but are interested in the talk Amy Mason and I gave on talking feature phones last week at the 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN), I am posting the presentation slides for your information.

Let us know what you think!

Simple phones slide deck

My top four picks for Braille iDevice users in the books category

By Scott Davert


In my previous article we looked at the top four app picks I have for users of Braille devices in the news category. Browsing the news is a wonderful thing that users, whether blind or deaf-blind, can do via Braille just fine; another is reading books. Over the past year, many book retailers have made their content accessible. However, some have distinct advantages over others in terms of Braille access. Continuing with the theme I started last time, here are my four picks for the book reading apps category for Braille users. The same disclaimer about this not being a list of all accessible apps and such still applies.

CSUN presentation: 3D printing

For those of you who will attend, have attended, or are unable to attend but interested in the "3D Printing and 3D Creation for Tactile Graphics" talk I will be giving at the 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) this Friday, I am attaching the presentation slides and resource sheet for your reference.


Hope you find it useful!




Resource sheet

A rugged talking phone: how good is the Convoy 3?

There is, without a doubt, a shortage of accessible simple feature phones for blind and low-vision users. We’ve discussed some of the options available currently on this blog, and I’m happy to be adding the Convoy 3 to the list. The Convoy 3 is a Verizon phone, and it costs $9.99 with a contract, and $239.99 without a contract. Both the description and the (small print) documentation that comes with the phone refrain from making any mention of the accessibility features, and that makes phones like these hard to find in the bewildering multitude of cell phones. It also makes it hard to know how to set up the speech, a process that requires sighted assistance.

Convention session

After a little delay, I am happy to report that the winning session in the poll for the final access technology seminar session at convention is 3D Printing and 3D Creation for Tactile Graphics. 3D printing is an ever-growing trend that promises great things for the availability of tactile models in schools, universities and workplaces. Science and engineering, in education and in the professions, can benefit especially greatly from the ability to create models on the fly based on what’s needed in the classroom, lab or office. We look forward to seeing you there!


We will be posting the full agenda shortly.

Convention Session Survey

One of the most exciting items on the calendar for the access technology team is the AT seminar day at convention. Though it may seem like a long way off, we are locking in the sessions now. We would like to have your input on what topic completes the agenda, and we have set up a survey with the options. Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NQ3FPHB and cast your vote. The options are quite wide-ranging:

•    Phones for Low Vision and Blind Seniors
•    3D Printing and 3D Creation for Tactile Graphics
•    Communication Technologies for Those Who are Deaf-Blind
•    Non-Visual Access to Cloud Productivity Suites on Mobile Devices
•    Non-Visual Access to Cloud Productivity Suites on Desktop Computers
•    Social Media Accessibility and Workarounds

Window-Eyes and Microsoft Office

Access Technology is often dominated by incremental changes; but every once in a while there are big jumps. The big change that was just announced is that, effective immediately, Window-Eyes is being packaged with Windows running Office 2010 or higher. The version of Window-Eyes available to Office users is a full version, available globally and in eighteen languages. It comes with Microsoft speech and eSpeak, and is available right now from http://www.windoweyesforoffice.com/ . This means that, if you are an Office 2010 or up user without screen access software, one of the leading products in the market just fell in your lap.

Odin VI Mobile Phone

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, it is all too rare to see additions to the small clutch of talking feature phones on the market. When some time ago, Odin Mobile approached us to demonstrate their intent to run a cell phone provider geared primarily to the low vision and blindness market, I admit that I got pretty excited about that. Still, you learn to be wary when it comes to promising ventures, and it wasn’t until I got a peek at the Odin VI that I really felt the enthusiasm was warranted.


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