News You Can Use
When we find useful information related to assistive technology or disability, we'll post it here.
December 15, 2009: CNET: Web Accessibility No Longer an Afterthought
CNET posted an article on December 15 discussing how businesses are increasingly integrating Web accessibility into new Web designs and applications. The article includes comments from accessibility managers from Yahoo and Google and Web Accessibility Initiative director Judy Brewer.
Link to source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-10414041-265.html.
December 1, 2009: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
December 3 marks the annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year's theme is "Making the Millenium Development Goals inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world." There will be an event to mark the day at United Nations headquarters in New York, and several nations will also celebrate the day.
Link to source: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1484.
October 6, 2009: President Obama Announces New Initiatives During National Disability Employment Awareness Month
On October 5, President Obama announced that his Administration is taking several steps to ensure that there is fair and equal access to employment for all Americans, particularly the 54 million people in this country living with disabilities. The following are some of the steps the Obama Administration will take:
- The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) will collaborate to sponsor and organize a day long Federal Government-wide job fair for people with disabilities.
- EEOC and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division will hold four Town Hall meetings throughout the nation to share information about the ADA Amendments Act proposed regulations and to gather comments on them.
- The Department of Justice will release a video that will identify and respond to a number of common myths held by employers about workers with disabilities.
- OPM will create and lead a task force comprised of representatives from key Federal Departments and Agencies that have developed and implemented model practices for recruiting, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities.
September 2, 2009: Quadriplegic Woman Sails Solo Around Britain
Hilary Lister became the first quadriplegic woman to sail solo around Britain when she sailed into Dover harbor on August 31. Her 15-mile voyage from Ramsgate, U.K., marked the final leg of a series of sails took her along the east coast of Ireland and down the east coast of Scotland and England over the course of 40 days. Ms. Lister used a sip-and-puff system to control the sails and tiller of her boat, an Artemis 20 built by the UK's Even Keel Project.
Link to source: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Disabled-Yachtswoman-Hilary-Lister-Is-First-Female-Quadriplegic-To-Sail-Solo-Around-Britain/Article/200908415372055?lpos=UK_News_Top_Stories_Header_2&lid=ARTICLE_15372055_Disabled_Yachtswoman_Hilary_Lister_Is_First_Female_Quadriplegic_To_Sail_Solo_Around_Britain.
August 5, 2009: U.S. Signs U.N.Treaty to Protect People with Disabilities
On July 30, the United States signed a U.N. treaty enshrining the rights of people with disabilities throughout the world. President Obama had announced that the U.S. would sign the treaty during a ceremony earlier in the month marking the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. The treaty is the first new human rights convention of the 21st century. It was approved by the U.N. General Assembly in December 2006 and came into force in May 2008 after 20 countries ratified it. The treaty will be submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification in the near future.
July 1, 2009: New Experimental Wheelchair Controlled by Brain Waves Debuts
The Riken Brain Science Institute's Toyota Collaboration Center in Japan has developed a new interface that allows a person to control a powered wheelchair with their thoughts. The interface senses the user's brain waves with signal processing technology integrated into a hat with EEG electrodes worn by the user. The wheelchair responds to a person's thoughts in as little as 125 milliseconds, and the brain wave analysis data are displayed on a screen at the same time to provide feedback to the user. This system has been able to adjust to individual users. The link below is to a brief storyfrom Engadget on this wheelchair and its unique interface includes a YouTube video of the wheelchair in operation.
April 20, 2009: Honda Demonstrates Prototype Walking Assist Devices
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. demonstrated two prototype walking assist devices for the first time in the U.S. as part of the technical exhibition at the 2009 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress in Detroit, Michigan from April 20 to 23. Intended to support walking for the elderly and people with weakened leg muscles, the devices are currently being tested in real-world conditions to evaluate their effectiveness. The first device, Stride Management Assist, is a lightweight, wearable device designed for people with weakened leg muscles, but who can still walk on their own.The second device, Bodyweight Support Assist, is also designed to help people with weakened leg muscles, but may also be helpful during some physically demanding activities.
Link to source: http://world.honda.com/news/2009/c090414Walking-Assist-Devices/.
March 30, 2009: Louis Braille Silver Dollar Goes on Sale
On Thursday, March 26, the U.S. Mint began accepting orders for the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar, which commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, inventor of the Braille system. Surcharges from sales of the Braille Silver Dollar are authorized to be paid to the National Federation of the Blind to further its programs to promote Braille literacy.
February 11, 2009: Call for Artists for "Shared Visions 2009-2010"
The Eye Care Center at the Southern California College of Optometry has announced the "Call for Artists" for "Shared Visions 2009-2010", an exposition of works by artists who are blind or legally blind. Works selected by the jury will be exhibited in the Eye Care Center for a period of one year. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 13, 2009.
Link to source: http://www.sccoeyecare.com/news.html#sharedvisions.