Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3D Printers Have Enormous Potential To Help Blind

3D printers are still new in the consumer technology market, but  3D printers have huge potential to help the blind and visually impaired. To be clear this technology is still in its infancy. Imagine a blind student reading about a geometric figure or a molecule, but who cannot understand the make up or configuration of the object. A sighted user might be able to gather the necessary information through an image but a blind student might need hands-on time for a better understanding of the object. This is where the 3D printer comes into play. If a digital 3D file is available the blind student could print out the object quickly right in their home or classroom. 3D printers typically print a model layer by layer in plastic A blind person could print a model of a building or car in order to gain a better understanding of the architecture or design. As shown in the above picture some current 3D printers can print objects the size of the basketball. The the student could feel and examine the object. For this promising technology to become a reality pricing would have decrease to allow schools or individuals to purchase the devices. Also, content creators would have to make printable 3D files available for public use.

Click read more below to watch videos about 3D printers.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Google I/O Just Around The Corner

Google I/O logo

Google's I/O conference kicks off in just under a month on May 15. I/O is Google's largest conference and usually comes with software and hardware announcements. Last year Google announced Google Glass and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sanwich among other products. This year Google is widely expected to announce Key Llime Pie, a new version of its Android operating system. Google may also release new Nexus devices. As previously rumored Google may improve its Google Now service and possibly bring the feature to iOS. Stay tuned for new of the announcements and analysis about the accessibility of the new products.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Apple To Preview Updated OS X and iOS at WWDC Likely With New Accessibility Features

Today Apple announced that they will hold their annual WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) on June 10th at the Moscone West in San Francisco. WWDC 2013 is expected to showcase iOS 7 and OS X 10.9. iOS is Apple's operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and OS X is Apple's operating system for Mac computers. This year's WWDC keynote will give users a preview of the new features coming to their Apple devices in the coming months.

Last year at WWDC Apple previewed iOS 6 with new accessibility features including Guided Access, Speak Selection with highlighting, Assistive Touch improvements, and much more. Apple devoted a portion of their WWDC 2012 keynote to iOS accessibility. These features were added to the already robust accessibility features for iOS. If Apple sticks to the pattern as they have in years past iOS 7 will also include new and improved accessibility features. OS X 10.9 is rumored to include Siri integration among other features. WWDC will follow Google I/O by a little more than a month.

To learn more about iOS 6 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Amara Free Crowd Sourced Captioning For YouTubers

A service called Amara allows YouTubers to get crowd sourced help captioning their videos. Millions of people, particularly those with hearing impairments, rely on captions in order to watch movies and videos. Amara's goal is to have more captioned videos on the web. Anyone with a YouTube account can register with for free. Then volunteers caption the videos for free. After the volunteers caption the videos the captions are then added to your YouTube video. Captioning videos can be difficult for individual video creators. Now with Amara there is no reason for YouTubers not to have their videos captioned. People can also volunteer to help caption more web videos.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Proloquo2Go 3.0 Coming Soon With Exciting New Features

Proloquo2Go 3.0 is coming soon according the maker AssistiveWare. If you are unfamiliar with Proloquo2Go click here for background information. Proloquo2Go is the most well known alternative and augmentative comunication (AAC) apps for iOS devices. AssistiveWare does not seem be resting on its laurels and has some exciting new features planned for upcoming version 3.0. One of the new features is something AssistiveWare calls ExpressivePower. This new features will allow users to create buttons with certain intonation and emotion. This is great news for people who uses Proloquo2Go for everyday communication. Users will also be able to switch between voices more quickly in version 3.0. Version 3.0 will also include greatly improve switch access and more options to manage switches. Proloquo2Go 3.0 will be a free update for all current users in the next month or so. Proloquo2Go is avalible in the App Store for $189.99.

Click read more below to view videos about Proloquo2Go.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Use Guided Access for iOS to Safely Lend Your Phone to Friends

Has someone ever asked to borrow your iPhone to call home, but then went through your personal information? Hopefully not, but it has happened to many kind-hearted phone lenders. Luckily using the built in Guided Access feature you can hand over your phone with less worry. Guided Access is designed as an accessibility feature but can be used by everyone. To learn more about Guided Access click here. Even with this feature use caution and common sense when lending your phone to people.

To get started, go to "settings" then "general" and then "accessibility". Guided Access is only avalible in iOS 6. In the accessibility menu go to Guided Access and turn it on. Then you will have to set a passcode. Make sure you remember your passcode. Now when you want to lend your phone to someone go to the app you want them to use and triple click the home button to start Guided Access. After turning on Guided Access no one will be able to access any other app without knowing your passcode. When you get your phone back just triple click the home button again and type in your passcode to unlock your phone. Watch the video above to learn more.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

iReadWrite iPad App: Word Processing For Struggling Writers

iReadWrite is an iPad writing app that is designed to benefit struggling readers and writers. iReadWrite includes a number of writing features that makes writing easier. One such feature is contextual word prediction that suggests the word you were looking for. Word prediction is great for poor spellers because much of the time you only need to type a few letters before the word is suggested. Other extremely helpful feature is phonetic spell checking. The spell checker will highlight any misspelled word in red; just as you would expect any word processor to do. But it will highlight words that sound the same or are commonly confused in blue. If you are still unsure of which word to use you can press on the word to hear the pronunciation and definition. The app even has a talking dictionary with associated images. All text can be read aloud with text-to-speech to help caught mistakes. For dyslexic users the app includes the OpenDyslexic font which maybe easier for dyslexics to read. Once you are done writing your document there are many sharing options. Click here to download iReadWrite for $19.99 in the App Store.

Click read more below to view screenshots of iReadWrite in action.