Access on Main Street

Hooking up a usable world, one mainstream product at a time.

Prompt system

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 28 June 2010

Prompt-It is a hardware device that turns text from your smart phone into a teleprompter. Could be a lifesaver for people with any type of dexterity or memory difficulties who have to give a presentation in situations where using other types of notes is difficult or undesirable.

Ubergizmo: Prompt-It iPhone teleprompter

Across the universal

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 24 June 2010

Looks like there are several universal design features to applaud in iOS 4, the new iPhone operating system. The one we’re latching on to is systemwide implementation of typing assistance: auto-suggest and spell check.

Access Tech News: iOS 4: The Complete Walkthrough and Guide

Tweet spot

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 13 June 2010

Roger Ebert (again) on the value of Twitter as augmentative communication:

“Twitter for me performs the function of a running conversation. For someone who cannot speak, it allows a way to unload my zingers and one-liners. One of the problems with written notes and computer voices is that, by their nature, their timing doesn’t work. I used to have good timing. Now in real life a conversation will be whizzing along and a line will pop into my head and by the time I write it down and get someone to read it, the moment and the context will have disappeared. Often everything will grind to a halt while I remind people what I was referring to.”

Roger Ebert’s Journal: Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

Buddy system

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 1 June 2010

We’ve written before about automated Twitter messages as a communication strategy, but most examples were either hacks or left little leeway for consciously choosing a desired message. Enter Buddy Radio, a simple device currently being tested with elders by the UK’s National Health Service. Turning the dial sends one of several messages indicating the user’s mood–not clear whether this is preprogrammed or personalizable. Apparently it works not only with Twitter, but also with Facebook, email, and so on. It’s currently being evaluated as a signaling system; off-site family, friends, and other message recipients would presumably be able to interpret when a user needs some type of intervention services. But we have cause to wish it were commercially available now so that people in hospice, recovering from serious injury, etc., would have a nearly effortless way to just provide brief but treasured messages to their circles.

Fast Company: Could oversharing save the lives of seniors?

Genuine simulated tactility

Posted by Jim Tobias 21 May 2010

Toshiba is exploring artificial texture for touch screens.  By changing the charge on a surface film, the device will present the user with simulated rough, smooth, or fuzzy textures.  This could work well for blind users, who would be able to distinguish buttons and controls on a touchscreen, one of the major barriers to those ubiquitous input systems.

Toshiba brings texture to touch video — Engadget

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 3 May 2010

We were going to just laud the push towards real-time cell phone video as being good for sign language conversing and leave it there. But with the omnipresent development of apps, there is also potential for enhanced augmentative communication–imagine, for example, that someone who feels most comfortable communicating via pictograms could actually send and receive graphics via video rather than relying on translation into an audio format.

SFGate: Mobile video chatting will be were [sic] soon

Touched by untouching

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 24 April 2010

A company called Cypress is working on TrueTouch technology for mobile device screens. TrueTouch can respond to a finger that is hovering above it, and respond differently to an actual touch. When we first found this article, we thought this would mostly have implications for people with dexterity disabilities, and it could–for example, people for whom any physical contact with the screen would be painful might be able to carry out some functions without requiring actual touch. But what really hooked us was that the demonstration shows how hovering provides magnification of whatever is being hovered over–an obvious boon to many people with low vision, and to some with cognitive disabilities as well.

CrunchGear: Soon you won’t even have to touch that touchscreen

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