Assistive Technology

An App Gives Sight to the Blind and Visually Impaired

Wow!  The KNFB Reader app for the Apple iPhone could be a life changer for people who are blind or visually impaired.  Just take a photo of any item–say a restaurant menu–and instantly listen to a high-quality audio read-back of the printed words captured by the camera.  Alternatively, it can translate directly into braille for use with a refreshable braille display.  It even recognizes ...

Read More »

All-Terrain Wheelchairs

There are lots of different wheelchairs that purport to be “all terrain”, which seems to mean anything that is designed for more challenging situations than smooth sidewalks with curb cuts.  YouTube has videos showing a wide variety of them. They range from simple, inexpensive, easy-to-maintain wheelchairs designed for  rural people in developing countries to very expensive, automated gizmos for the ...

Read More »

Adaptive Mushing

A nonprofit startup called Noble Paws has taken adaptive technology in a new direction: dog mushing.  Based in Fairbanks, Alaska, they have developed two specialized sled designs; one is wheelchair accessible and the other is accessible for people who have difficulty standing. The purpose is to enable people to discover new forms of mobility and independence while engaging with the natural world ...

Read More »

Airlines Mishandle Wheelchairs, Stranding People

(Sigh.)  Here we are 27 years since the Air Carrier Access Act was passed in 1986, and they’re still doing stuff like this. How an airline can smash up a $26,000 wheelchair, return it to the owner in pieces, claim they’re not responsible and then leave the person sitting there with their broken wheelchair is beyond me.  But that’s precisely what ...

Read More »

Mind Over Matter Is Becoming a Reality

Years ago Cathy Hutchinson suffered a stroke that left her completely paralyzed and unable to speak.  Today, even though she is still just as paralyzed, she can steer a wheel chair  and take a drink without another person’s assistance.  All she has to do is think it, and it happens. Here are two different videos showing Cathy’s mind-directed activities:  in this YouTube video ...

Read More »

Exploring the “Apps Jungle”

How do you determine if an app is accessible prior to buying it? How do you navigate the mass of available apps to find assistive and accessible apps relevant to you?  Would you like to improve your app-buying experience? The World Institute on Disability* is conducting a survey to gather input from the disability community attempting to purchase, download and use these apps.  ...

Read More »

Healthy Computing

Computers have evolved from from the salvation for people with disabilities to the cause of many disabling conditions. Our current computer-laden work and school environments have the potential to significantly damage our bodies. It is critical that we establish new “rules of engagement” with computers. This Healthy Computing webinar will explore the reasons and tools for taking regular breaks from ...

Read More »

How Stephen Hawking Uses a Computer

You’ve probably seen Stephen Hawking on TV.   The world-famous physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, has a degenerative motor neuron disesase that, after several decades, has left him almost completely paralyzed, yet he still manages to speak using a computer generated voice.  Ever wonder how he does it?  Find out in this article by the Accessible Technology Coalition.

Read More »

Voter Accessibility Feedback Wanted

Call me naive, but I would have thought that this long after the ADA was enacted, accessibility in voting places would be fairly well handled.  Silly me!  During the last election in 2008, only 27% of polling places were barrier-free.  That means nearly three quarters of the voting places were inaccessible! The number of Americans with disabilities is increasing.  At the same time, many states are instituting voter ...

Read More »

Take a Survey on Assistive Technology

The  Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program is conducting a survey to assess the assistive technology needs of people with disabilities. They want to ascertain both the current availability of such technologies as well as the potential for new innovative devices. With this information, the ILRU will be able to better advocate for legislation that promotes affordable independent living.  If you’d like to participate in their ...

Read More »