Nearly 6 years after the passage of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, rules have finally been put in place to ensure that quiet cars will make noise when traveling at low speeds. Most vehicles traveling under 18.6 MPH will need to emit an audible sound, though the ruling gives automakers flexibility on what exactly that sound would be. The rules have been delayed for years which has also delayed their implementation. The new rules are set to take effect by September 1, 2019 and cost the auto industry roughly $39 million annually.
A Kickstarter campaign has been launch by Audio Game Hub which seeks to develop 5 audio games. Backers of the campaign will be permitted to choose what the 5 games would include. The choices of games range from side scrollers to boxing to casino oriented choices.
Audio Game Hub may be a familiar name to readers, as they have produced a suite of 8 audio games that were released earlier this year on the Android, iOS and Windows platforms. According to the campaign page, the 5 chosen games will be added to what has already been created. For a demonstration of what the already created app sounds like on iOS, you can check out this AppleVis podcast
At the time of writing, the campaign has raised $3018 of $4259, with 23 days left. The page also says that the project will only be funded if the previously mentioned goal is met.
This fall has been full of new software and hardware releases from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the VFO Group. And now, Humanware has one to add to the pile. BrailleNote Touch 2.0 was released last week and delivers the features J.J. wrote about before. The only difference between what was reported, and what Humanware is advertizing is that it's being called "BrailleNote Touch 2.0" instead of Keysoft, the operating system name for all BrailleNote products prior to the Touch.
It seems like we are going to have yet another first mover advantage debate in our community. Yep, Windows versus Mac is new again. Android versus iOS was over before the war even started. Now we can add Amazon Echo versus Google Home into the fray as many out there have started to form factions on which Digital Assistant they would like to use for asking everything from How far is the Taco Bell on 3rd street? to ordering an Uber to take you to get a crunchy taco on 3rd street.
Every October, VFO, formerly Freedom Scientific, releases a major update to the JAWS for Windows screen reader. Some years include more new features than others, but this year's update has a variety of changes that may effect you. This is the first major update since the VFO acquisition of AI Squared, makers of the ZoomText magnification software. We've detailed many of the new features below.
The American Council of the Blind has announced their 2017 scholarship program. Approximately 20 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 will be awarded to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate college students who are legally blind, maintain a 3.3 GPA and are involved in their school or local community. The application deadline is February 15, 2017. Check the source link on this post for more information.
Seedlings Braille Books for Children is hosting an online auction featuring a variety of items in an effort to raise $10,000 to pay for braille books for children. items range from restaurant and Amazon gift cards to themed experiences and also include a large variety of local and regional items for those in or near Michigan, their home base. The auction ends November 14.
Applications are now being accepted for the National Federation of the Blind's 2017 scholarship program. 30 students will win amounts ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, a free trip to the 2017 national convention in Orlando, and a variety of additional prizes. Those attending college in the fall of 2017 may apply. For more details or to view the application, visit the link on this post. Deadline is March 31, 2017.
September 19th seems so long ago.
Back in those halcyon days of a month and a half ago, when I knew another Apple event was on the horizon, I mused that I would have little to post other than the iPod turning 15 years old. Maybe a few articles on the new mac OS would be in order. And, if it made the street date, I'd have some things to post about iOS 10.1. Sure, there would be the 4th quarter earnings report to ponder. And I'd end the article with something funny in regards to the headphone jack.
then 2016 happened with its ability to upend everything you know and expect in a rational universe.
A new update for the BlindSquare navigation app has just been unleashed on the iOS App Store which may make some iOS 10 users happy. Version 4.04 supports the new built-in voices which are included in iOS version 10, assuming they have been downloaded. Also, the new feature list includes the ability to repeat previously spoken messages in a speech history mode and a fix to reenable the use of the map in iOS 10. The complete changelog is below.
Accessible Apps has released another free update to the Chicken Nugget Twitter client for Windows. Version 4.3 was largely necessitated by some changes from Twitter's API in how tweets are displayed. Some parts of a tweet, such as a picture or quoted tweet, no longer count in the 140 character limit, allowing for slightly longer tweets to be written in these situations. Version 4.3 accounts for this change and also includes some other improvements. You can download version 4.3 from the source link below, and look at the complete changelog after the jump.
Apple has officially released iOS version 10.1, the latest update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users. This update includes several camera improvements including a portrait mode camera, improves connectivity to some Bluetooth devices, and fixes a laundry list of other issues. As for accessibility, AppleVis reports that a couple of bugs were squashed, including a showstopper for some users which displayed extraneous information on a braille display while using the Mail app. We've linked to the AppleVis post which has more details on mainstream and accessibility updates in this release. iOS 10.1 runs on any device which received the iOS 10 update.
Often, students will decide to focus on blind or visually impaired individuals when developing a new technology as a part of a school project. This survey comes from Master’s students studying Human-computer interaction at the University College London and asks about technology usages and challenges for blind and partialy sighted individuals. The survey is on a single page and is estimated to take about 15 minuts to complete. Follow the source link to take the survey.
HIMS Releases Patch for Braille Edge: Bringing enhancements for JAWS Users, Full UEB Support, and More
HIMS Inc. has announced a "maintenance" patch for the Braille Edge 40 that brings a few new added functions to the device. Some readers may be thinking this is old news, but it's not really. Though this patch was originally announced in September, it was pulled from the website shortly after due to some customers having the update fail.
The American Printing House for the Blind has posted an early version of the manual for the forthcoming Orbit Reader 20, the sub-$500 braille display which is due to be released shortly. In the manual, we learn more about the unit's operation and screen reader support. The Orbit Reader 20 will include two modes: a stand alone mode is designed for reading already translated files from an SD card to display on the unit. Basic text editing is also available in this mode. In remote mode, the unit can be paired with a screen reader using Bluetooth or USB. Support for all major screen readers is currently possible, either directly or through emulation of a RefreshaBraille 18. Details may change between now an the actual release of the unit. Check out the manual to learn more. Thanks to Josh Kennedy for the tip.
MIPsoft, makers of the BlindSquare GPS ap for iOS, has been working on GPS software for Android for the past 18 months, though details are scarce. This according to some recent tweets from the @BlindSquareGPS Twitter account.
Android is getting better and better. We have been building something for Android for last 18 months or so
…not BlindSquare, but something on same area. We don’t have any release dates set yet.
Android users can currently use Nearby Explorer as well as Google's built-in navigation apps and some other free alternatives, but it sounds like more options may be on the horizon. If you care to speculate, post your thoughts in the comments.
Jaws 18 public betas have been flying out the door in anticipation of the upcoming release of version 18. After the recent acquisition of AI Squared, Jaws 18 and ZoomText 11 are advertised as playing much nicer together, with Jaws handling most speech output and ZoomText handling magnification. Touch support gets a lot of love in this update, including the ability to start Jaws using a hotkey from a touch-enabled device. Google Docs improvements include the ability to enter text using contracted braille and a variety of tweaks to improve speech output. Users of prior versions of Jaws may be happy to learn that you can once again import settings from a previous version of Jaws, though this will only work from Jaws 17 currently. No release date has been given, though new versions of jaws typically are release around the end of October. A laundry list of additional features and bug fixes included in the two public betas is listed below.
Learning Ally, the U.S. based nonprofit that offers 80,000 books primarily aimed at students, has relaunched their suite of reading apps as Link, offering more flexibility when reading and searching for titles. It's available now for iOS, PC, Mac, and Chrome and coming soon to Android. Previously, users could not search for books directly from their device, an improvement present in the latest release. Here's a list of features in the new software from the iOS version.
KeySoft 2.0 for the BrailleNote Touch will Include KeyMath, Braille Embossing, Braille Terminal, More
More details have been released regarding the forthcoming version 2.0 of KeySoft which will be available soon for the BrailleNote Touch. Humanware's Greg Stilson described many of the improvements in a recent webinar.
Vision Australia and the CNIB in Canada have made the first exchange of books under the Marrakesh Treaty, which is now in effect in 20 countries. The treaty, which allows books and other materials to be shared in accessible formats across borders, took effect September 30 after Canada ratified it in June, pushing it across the 20 country threshhold necessary for adoption.
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