Sunday, August 28, 2011

ZoomReader Giveaway!

ZoomReader is an fantastic OCR and magnifier app for iPhone 4. To read all about ZoomReader click here. Two promo codes will be posted to the blog within the next 24 hours. Keep checking back for the code because the first person to enter the code into iTunes will win. If you do not win the first code check back for the last code latter. ZoomReader is a $19.99 in the app store. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

App Store List of Special Education Apps

A new category added to the iTunes store shows off special education apps for many differnet learners. The apps are sorted by categories including communication, hearing, vision, literacy and more. The list can help teachers and students find applications to fit their needs easily. To find the list go to the app store and then click on education apps, finally click on the special education image seen above. The apps included in the list are only the tip of the iceberg for special education apps in the app store. If you do not find an app to fit your needs keep looking. Click here for another list of assistive technology apps for iOS. For more assistive technology apps click read more below.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Intel Reader Vs. ZoomReader

The Intel Reader and ZoomReader can both help people read. Both OCR printed text and then read the text aloud. The ZoomReader has more features then the Intel Reader. In my test the ZoomReader app recognized and read the text faster then the Intel Reader. To download the ZoomReader app click here. Watch the video above for more information.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Long Division and Long Multiplication Apps Help Math Students (Giveaway)

The Long Division and Long Multiplication apps for iOS walk students through math concepts step by step. The apps help students master new concepts and improve on old skills.  Both apps are $1.99 in the iTunes App store. Long Division iTunes link. Long Multiplication iTunes link.  These apps are only two in a series of 18 math help apps. The other apps can be found here. If you or someone you know needs help learning a math concept these apps are a great resource.

Check back on this blog within the 24 hours for promo codes for free copies of Long Multiplication and Long Division. The reader who enters the codes into iTunes first will win a free copy. The are three promo codes for each app so if you miss the first one check back latter for another chance.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ZoomReader Review (Giveaway)

ZoomReader is a combination of a text-to-speech reader, OCR (optical character recognition) reader and zoom magnifier. The app is compatible with the iPhone 4. ZoomReader can help people with many disabilities and challenges including low vision, blindness and dyslexia. The app uses the iPhone 4's camera to magnify printed text up to four times its original size to allow people with low vision to better see the text. ZoomReader can also change the contrast when the iPhone is held over the text to make it easier to read. ZoomReader also includes a lighting fast OCR feature that converts printed text into electronic text that can be read aloud. If you are unfamiliar with OCR click here. Once the text is converted to a digital format it can be read aloud by an included text-to-speech voice.

One tip for improving the OCR quality is to turn on the camera flash. You can also add new text-to-speech voices for $2.99. The app has many customization options that allow you to change the appearance of the reading experience. Another killer feature is the voice activation powered by Nuance. To turn on speech activation touch the microphone in the top left. The voice activation feature allows you to take pictures and zoom in on text with the sound of your voice. For example you can say "take picture" to snap a picture of a document. To learn more about Nuance's accurate speech-to-text engine click here. The ZoomReader app is perfect for people with low vision, dyslexia or blindness. The app is $19.99 in the iTunes app store.

Two lucky winners can win this app for free by checking back on this site for giveaway information and promo codes. Watch my video review above for a demonstration. Click read more below to see screen shots and how to videos. Do not forget to check the Assistive Technology Blog in the next few days for giveaway details.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vibrating Alarm Clocks Help the Hearing Impaired

Alarms are very important to wake people up. People with hearing impairments can not hear when the alarm goes off. Luckily there are vibrating alarm clocks to wake hearing up people with hearing impairments. There are many models of vibrating alarm clocks at a variety of prices. One option is the Shake-N-Wake vibrating alarm clock which is worn on the wrist. The clock and vibrator are all small enough to wear on your wrist. The Shake-N-Wake alarm clock is $19.99. There are many other options for people who need vibrating alarm clocks. To shop for more click here.    

Monday, August 22, 2011

Using Encryption in Microsoft Word

Some students may need tests and quizzes in an electronic format for various needs. Teachers may be hesitant to distribute tests and quizzes ahead of time because of academic integrity concerns. With Microsoft Word you can encrypt tests and quizzes and securely distribute them to students who need electronic documents. With an encryption document  the student is unable to open the document without knowing a code. The teacher could email a student an encrypted document for a test the next day. Then on the day of the test the teacher could simply give the student the code to unlock the test. This ensures students will not have access to tests and quizzes before hand, but also ensures that the test will be ready and available so the student who needs the electronic version gets it at the same time as all of the other students.  To learn more watch the video above. For more Microsoft Word tricks click here and here

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kurzweil Bubble Notes

Bubble notes is a great feature in Kurzweil 3000. Bubble notes allows teachers to easily assess students. Bubble notes also helps students easily complete tests and quizzes. To insert a bubble note go to tools, then notes, and then bubble notes. When a student reads up to a bubble note it will automatically open and be read aloud. Bubble notes can have multiple choice, true or false, matching and open ended questions Once a student completes the assessment the teacher can extract the student's answers to easily grade the student's answer. Bubble notes can make tests and quizzes easier for students and teachers. Watch the video above for more information. For more Kurzweil tips and tricks click here, here and here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kurzweil 3000 Online Tips

The above video is a short example of how to use online downloading in Kurzweil 3000 version 12. Online downloading allows users to download content from many sources directly into Kurzweil. Kurzweil allows users to download books Project Gutenberg, Bookshare and many more. To use online book downloading go to the online menu and then select search for books. Once you search for and download the book go to file and then open to start reading the book. This method of downloading books directly into Kurzweil allows you to quickly access books from many sources. To watch this video with YourTube click here. To learn more about YourTube click here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Braille iPad Case

The iPad has many accessibility features built into the software. iOS includes VoiceOver, white on black and zoom. To learn more about iOS accessibility click here, here and here. A new concept case has a built in refreshable Braille display. The Braille display is very thin and does not add much wight. To learn more about thin refreshable Braille displays click here. The Braille display covers half of the screen for non-sighted users this is not a problem. The Braille iPad case is not for sale as of this post. To see more images of the Braille iPad case click read more below.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

iOS 5 Reminders App Will Help Everyone

Apple next operating system upgrade for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch will include a new app called Reminders. iOS 5 is set to be released this fall. To learn more about the accessibility features in iOS 5 click here and here. The Reminders app will is a to-do list that notify you when you have something to do. Within the app you can make a to-do list and set it to remind you to complete the task at a particular date and time. The app can also remind you to do something when you leave or enter a location. For example you could set a reminder to alert you to pick up the eggs after work. The new reminder app in iOS 5 will help many people remember tasks through out the day. Apple explains the Reminders app on as,
"Next time you think to yourself, “Don’t forget to...,” just pull out your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and jot it down. Reminders lets you organize your life in to-do lists — complete with due dates and locations. Say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you’ll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot. Reminders also works with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud, so changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars."
The Reminders app is not available on the app store and is only available for iOS 5. Click read more below to see more images and a video of the Reminders app.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Learning Ally Audio App Updated

Today, Learning Ally (formally RFB&D) released a substantial upgrade to their iOS app. Learning Ally Audio is available for $19.99 on the iTunes app store. The app allows Learning Ally members to download audio books directly to their iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. If you are unfamiliar with Learning Ally click here. To be eligible you must have a qualifying disability. To learn about becoming a member click here. Downloading an audio book is simple and involves transferring the audio file to the app via iTunes. Once you've downloaded a book you can listen to it on the go with your iOS device. The app allows users to navigate the audio book by section or page number, bookmark important sections and speed up the speaking rate. The new update includes new features that make listening easier. One of the new features is the ability to jump to any page in the book. Another handy new feature allows playback to continue even when the screen is locked. Yet another new feature remembers where in the book you left off and starts playing from that point the next time you open the app. The Learning Ally Audio app is a must have for reading Learning Ally audio books on the go.

Learning Ally also announced in a press release that this fall they will support text as well as human narration. Learning Ally’s President and CEO, Andrew Friedman said,
"Looking ahead, the Learning Ally Audio app will include text to speech functionality, enabling learners to enjoy the best of both worlds: human narration as well as text content of their books and reading materials." 
Click read more below to see screen shots of the updated app.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Assistive Technology Blog Podcast Now on iTunes

Today, Assistive Technolgy Blog Podcast became available on the iTunes store. The podcast contains a short summary of every article posted to The new Podcast is an easy way to keep up with the blog while on the go or away from the computer. The Assistive Technology Blog still has exclusive video, images and reviews. Subscribe to the Podcast and you will get the next episode while you sleep. To download the Podcast for free click here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Merriam-Webster Voice Activated Dictionary

Using a dictionary can be very difficult if you do not know how to spell the word you are looking for. The free Merriam-Webster app for iOS and Android solves this problem. The app allows the users to speak their search into their device just with their voice. The speech recognition is very accurate and speedy. Voice activation allows users to search for word that they can not spell. In addition to voice search, the app includes a pronunciation button which allows you to hear the correct pronunciation of a word. The app uses Nuance's speech recognition engine for voice activation. To download the free Android app click here. To download the free iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad app click here.

To learn more about other apps with Nuance speech recognition click here. To learn about accessibility features in iOS 5 click here and here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dyslexie Font Helps Dyslexics Read

A new font claims to make reading easier for dyslexics. The font is named Dyslexie and is not yet available to users outside the Netherlands. Dyslexie makes small changes to letters that make reading easier for dyslexics. The font makes letters more recognizable then standard fonts. Dyslexie is currently in use at a small number of schools. The makers of Dyslexie say,
"This font is especially designed for people with dyslexia. When they use it, they make fewer errors while they are reading. It makes reading easier for them and it takes less effort."
A research study at the University of Twente showed,
"That people with dyslexia made fewer reading errors when they use the dyslexia font compared to using standard font."
To learn more about Dyslexie click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Control Your Computer With No Hands

For people with limited uses of their hands using a mouse can be difficult if not impossible. People who do not have hands or who are paralyzed can not use a mouse. Camera Mouse solves this problem. Camera Mouse is a free application for Windows computers. Camera Mouse uses a web camera to track the users head and move the mouse on the screen. Camera Mouse requires small head movements to move the mouse around the screen with out using their hands. To click with Camera Mouse the users blinks their left eye for a left click and blinks their right eye for a right click. To download Camera Mouse click here. Camera Mouse makes Windows computers accessible for users that can not use a mouse.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

iOS Refreshable Braille Display Support

iOS has support for refreshable Braille displays. A Braille display allows a blind user to access the device. Refreshable Braille displays are compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The Braille displays connect to your iOS device via Bluetooth. The pairing process is simple and quick. When the Braille display is connected to the device the Braille display can control the VoiceOver cursor on the display. The VoiceOver cursor can be used to select and read items on the screen.. Braille display compatibility allows blind users to access the information of their iOS device. For a list of compatible Bluetooth Braille displays click here. Watch the above video to learn more.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Digital Librarian is a One Stop Shop For Digital Publications

Digital Librarian is a list of free online material sorted by category. Digital Librarian includes resources from around the web. When you click on a topic that interests you a long list of websites comes up. Digital Librarian is perfect for research projects. Once you have found an article you would like to read you can use a text-to-speech program to read it to you. Digital Librarian helps you find digital content quickly and easily. For more on digital library content click here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

iOS 5 to Include Hearing Aid Mode

Yesterday, Apple released iOS 5 beta 5 to developers. One of the new features is hearing aid mode. Hearing aid mode will allow the iPhone to work better with hearing aids. In order to activate the setting in iOS 5 go to setting then general and then accessibility. iOS 5 is expected to be released in the fall to the general public. To learn more about the many iOS 5 accessibility options click here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

iTunes U Helps Students

iTunes U is a free service that helps anyone who wants to learn. iTunes U allows any user to download lectures and PowerPoints from some K-12 schools and many collages and universities. To download a class lecture from iTunes U, search for the topic or school you are looking for in iTunes. iTunes U is great for collage students who want to watch lectures again. iTunes U allows you to watch your lectures on a Mac, PC, iPod, iPhone or iPad. iTunes U can also help people learn about a new topic without going to a physical classroom. iTunes U is simple for both the institution and the student. Apple descrbies iTunes you as,
"iTunes U brings the power of the iTunes Store to education, making it simple to distribute information to your students and faculty — or to lifelong learners all over the world. With an iTunes U site, your institution has a single home for all the digital content created or curated by educators, which can then be easily downloaded and viewed on any Mac, PC, iPod, or iPhone."
 iTunes U can help any student excel with its wide ranging topic areas and content uploaded by schools. Apple  explains iTunes U's universal access,
"iTunes U can be a powerful and accessible learning tool for students with disabilities. For the vision-impaired, iTunes U works with VoiceOver, the built-in screen reader on the Mac, as well as with compatible screen readers on PCs. iTunes U also allows for learning with iPod and iPhone, which offer features to help vision-impaired students find the information they need (using VoiceOver on iPhone and iPod touch, and spoken feedback on iPod nano and iPod shuffle). And for students with physical or motor-skills needs, iTunes U brings the classroom to them, so they can learn at their own pace and in a more comfortable environment."
To try iTunes U go to the iTunes store on any computer or iOS device. To read Apple's iTunes U web page click here To see more pictures of iTunes U click read more.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Speech Recognition Extensions For Chrome

 The Chrome browser by Google is well liked by many users. To download Chrome click here. Now there are many extensions that allow you to speech your text into any webpage. This feature is enabled for Google search by default in Chrome. To read more about Google voice search click here. With an extension such as Voice Search you can add voice search to any text box on any page. To download the Voice Search extension click here. Voice input is very helpful for people who have trouble spelling or for people who have trouble using the keyboard. To watch a video about Google voice search click read more below.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ChromeShades Helps Web Developers Make Accessible Websites

ChromeShades is an extension on the Chrome Web Store. ChromeShades helps website developers make accessible websites by taking out all visual elements and displaying the webpage as a screen reader or Braille display would recognize the page. ChromeShades helps web developers recognize accessibility problems with their site. Chrome frame is free on the Chrome Web Store.

If you have found any accessibility problems with this site please leave a comment including where the problem occurred and what browsers you were using.   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ultra-Thin Braille Displays Coming Soon

Braille is a system of raised dots that makes up the alphabet. Braille is the way that people with low vision and who are blind read text. Braille books are very thick and heavy compared to their print counterparts. Currently Braille users are using refreshable Braille displays to read Braille. A refreshable Braille display uses small dots that pop up in the appropriate place to make a Braille letter. Currently refreshable Braille displays are large and bulky. Now Someya Labs in Japan has found a way to shrink the refreshable Braille down to credit card size. The new displays have a 24 character display that can fit into your wallet or pocket. The new display dubbed "sheet Braille display" is not on the market as of this post. With this new smaller Braille display Braille users will be able to easily take it with them wherever they go. Click read more below  or to watch/listen to  a video about the new display.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Skype for iPad Now Available

Skype, the most popular video chat service just released a Skype for iPad. The app supports video calls on the iPad 2 over Wi-Fi and 3G data. To download the app click here. With Skype you can chat with other users using many other devices. Skype supports iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Windows and Mac OS X. The Skype calls are free but data rates do apply while using 3G. Video chat services such as Skype are useful for people who are are deaf. Deaf users of Skype can sign within the video chat in order to communicate. With more video chat options communication between users is becoming easier for all users.

Besides Skype there are many other options for video chat. Facebook recently announced video calling from within the Facebook site. Apple also has FaceTime for users of its iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th generation and Mac computers. FaceTime will be able to work over 3G in iOS 5 which is coming out this fall. Click here to learn more about iOS 5.

With new options for video chatting, remote communication is becoming easier for deaf users. Click read more below to see a video of Facebook video chat and FaceTime.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Android Voice Search

Android phones are becoming more and more popular. Android phones do not have built-in accessibility features like the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. iOS devices have many built-in accessibility features but Android phones do not. One feature that Android phones do include is voice input. With voice input you can touch the microphone next to the space bar and speak your text. A similar feature is a available with Google Chrome (click here). Voice input is a helpful feature for people who struggle to spell or have physical disabilities that makes typing difficult. You can access voice input wherever there is a keyboard on Android by pressing the microphone button next to the space bar. iOS does not have system wide voice input but it is rumored to be coming in the upcoming iOS 5 this fall. If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch you can use the Dragon Go! app to get similar features.