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Hi guys, I hope this post finds you all well!  This week’s post is a pretty exciting one – a great opportunity for university and community college professors involved in the field of accessibility, universal design and digital access.  Please check out the information below to learn more about this fantastic opportunity from the National Federation of the Blind for potentially funding your work!

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National Federation of the Blind logo next to words "National Federation of the Blind Live the Life you Want"

Attention Post-Secondary IT Instructors:

Apply for Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship Program

Administered by the National Federation of the Blind under a Non-Visual Accessibility Initiative Grant from the State of Maryland

Submit application by October 11, 2019.

The Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship Program helps instructors begin to include accessibility concepts in at least one course offering in their institution with help from the nation’s blind. Your existing course does not need to have an accessibility component. The program consists of the following:

  • Consultation and assistance with course instruction from the National Federation of the Blind through our Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access (CENA) by providing consultation and assistance with course instruction.
  • A monetary award. One award of $2,000 will be made to an instructor of a University System of Maryland (USM) school or a professor of an independent Maryland college, and two awards of $1,500 each will be made to Maryland community college instructors.

What’s at stake?

Individuals with disabilities, including the blind, cannot live the lives they want without full and equal access to the information and technologies available to the rest of the public, including products, services and benefits available on the Web and mobile applications. Equal access to information which includes non-visual access needs to be incorporated in the education track. The National Federation of the Blind is committed to the development of innovative techniques for achieving nonvisual access to information through the design and development of accessible information and technology systems.

Apply today!

To apply for the 2020 Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship, please submit the following information by email to jerniganinstitute@nfb.org.

  • Name
  • Professional Title
  • Name of Your Institution
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Course Title
  • Is this a required course, or elective?
  • Cover letter
  • Class syllabus
  • The course description from the college catalog
  • Two professional references

We look forward to the continued progress of equal access to information and technologies with your help. Together, we turn dreams into reality.

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Please check back next week for another informative or exciting post relating to AT, IT accessibility or universal design!

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

 

 

Attention Post-Secondary IT Instructors:

Apply for Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship Program

Administered by the National Federation of the Blind under a Non-Visual Accessibility Initiative Grant from the State of Maryland

Submit application by October 11, 2019.

The Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship Program helps instructors begin to include accessibility concepts in at least one course offering in their institution with help from the nation’s blind. Your existing course does not need to have an accessibility component. The program consists of the following:

  • Consultation and assistance with course instruction from the National Federation of the Blind through our Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access (CENA) by providing consultation and assistance with course instruction.
  • A monetary award. One award of $2,000 will be made to an instructor of a University System of Maryland (USM) school or a professor of an independent Maryland college, and two awards of $1,500 each will be made to Maryland community college instructors.

What’s at stake?

Individuals with disabilities, including the blind, cannot live the lives they want without full and equal access to the information and technologies available to the rest of the public, including products, services and benefits available on the Web and mobile applications. Equal access to information which includes non-visual access needs to be incorporated in the education track. The National Federation of the Blind is committed to the development of innovative techniques for achieving nonvisual access to information through the design and development of accessible information and technology systems.

Apply today!

To apply for the 2020 Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship, please submit the following information by email to jerniganinstitute@nfb.org.

  • Name
  • Professional Title
  • Name of Your Institution
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Course Title
  • Is this a required course, or elective?
  • Cover letter
  • Class syllabus
  • The course description from the college catalog
  • Two professional references

We look forward to the continued progress of equal access to information and technologies with your help. Together, we turn dreams into reality.

 

Super Fly Kicks!

Hi guys,

What a great week we have had at MDTAP!  We are gearing up for our upcoming open house event on 9/11 at our office on Argonne Dr in Baltimore.  It will be a great chance to meet the MDTAP team, tour our AT library, check out some cool new technology, play some video games on our accessible gaming stations and much more!  CLICK HERE to register.

Black and white ad for Nike sneaker.  Ad features close up of shoe.

Back to Nike, I wanted to highlight their awesome Nike FlyEase ‘accessible’ sneakers that have been available for a few years.  This particular sneaker series is designed for individuals that are not able to fasten and unfasten traditional laces and/or struggle getting traditional sneakers on and off with ease..  The FlyEase system incorporates a unique zipping system that also includes a portion of the shoe (with expandable openings) modified to allow easier entry and exit of the individual’s feet. 

Close up of Nike slip on shoe

 In more recent years, the FlyEase sneakers have become very affordable starting at approximately $80 and going up to a couple of hundred dollars.  This series of sneaker includes youth and adult sizes. Popular running shoes such as Nike Pegasus and very trendy basketball shoes such as the Lebron James ‘Soldier’ are included in this accessible lineup. 

Close up of Nike shoe with the word "Fly" coming out of the back

One of my previous coworkers had a pair of these accessible shoes a few years back and they were much more expensive than recent times — it’s awesome to see that the Nike FlyEase sneakers are now affordable, readily available and comes in children sizing, too.  If you want to review the product line, check them out here!

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

Tags:

Able Gamers

Able Gamers Charity logo with heart on top on black background

Wow, what a fantastic week at MDTAP!! Well, I have been thinking a lot about accessible gaming and gaming generally this past week. Today, I wanted to highlight a fantastic charitable organization not too far from Maryland, the organization goes by the name of ‘Able Gamers.’  This charity happens to be the largest and most comprehensive gaming-centric charitable organization on the planet!  They are based in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia over in Charles County.

Able Gamers Charity logo on white background

Able Gamers provide a range of charitable services include: informal adaptive gaming consultations for individuals with disabilities at their HQ in their inclusive gaming lab, expert consultative support to mainstream video game companies, grants for gamers with disabilities (or organizations supporting inclusive gaming/social events) and finally player panels (giving gamers with disabilities that chance to be heard by gaming developers regarding their accessibility needs.

Young man playing video game using adaptive equipment.

Finally, I would definitely recommend any family or individual that wants to ascertain what technology they (or a loved one) might need to game with their friends or peers in the gaming community.  If you do want to learn a little more about the work of Able Gamers or want to support their work — I suggest you reach out to their fantastic Director and Founder at Able Gamers, Mark Barlet.  I have had the pleasure of working with Mark in the past, he’s a dedicated gamer, passionate about inclusive gaming and has the utmost respect of the gaming community.  Again, if you need support with accessible gaming here in Maryland please reach out to me at MDTAP and if you wish to delve further into accessible gaming please contact Able Gamers in WV.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

 

Hearing Health in iOS 13

In case you haven’t heard, iOS 13 will include an updated health app with a new “hearing health’ section. Hearing Health will have an option for “Dose” which detects harmful noise doses and the status of hearing aid battery life. And another nifty feature of Dose will include a headphone volume tracker, to notify the user when the headphone volume is dangerously high.

 

Be sure to check it out!

Tobii Eye Tracker 4C

Hi guys, what can I say, these past 10-12 months have been so crazy in the accessible gaming world.  We now have so many awesome, affordable, attainable and accessible gaming peripherals.  This week, the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C arrived at our AT library — much to my delight.  I did a quick un-boxing and I was impressed with the quality of the packaging, packing materials and the device itself.  Tobii has definitely leveraged their extensive and market-leading know-how in their latest low cost eye-tracking device!  The device is currently retailing for under $170 which is simply unheard of for this type of assistive technology.  Tobii’s 4C comes with two small strips of metal with an adhesive backing. You  are required to place one of them on your monitor/tv/screen, either on the top or bottom depending on your personal viewing preference, and the Eye Tracker hardware sticks to it via a magnet on the back (Tobii even includes a spare, which is very thoughtful). Once it’s attached you just need to connect it to any USB port to power the device.

Close up of Tobii device on white background

 

The 4C is aimed for Windows powered gamers but it is also able to work on some gaming consoles with some tweaking and adjusting.  My first experience of the 4C was at CSUN Conference this past spring when I watched some folks play some pretty graphics intensive video games on a gaming laptop rig with this unit hooked up to support an individual with significant motor challenges.  I watched this young man use this device to partial control the device with his eyes in conjunction with two ability switches. 

 

Screenshot of device using gaze to interact

My plans for this weekend are already set — I will be testing the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C out on my gaming laptop rig, my son’s Xbox One S and my Playstation 4 Pro with a range of games.  It is my intent to follow up once I get sometime spent gaming with this device across the three aforementioned gaming platforms.  From my understanding, this device used in conjunction with compatible games will provide eye-tracking access on a range of windows powered games at a very affordable price-point.

 

screenshot of settings page for device

As of today, over a hundred titles are available with some level of ‘eye gaze’ control from partial control to complete control using your eyes.  Some of the big name games including Hitman, The Division 2, Assassin’s Creed to name a few of the most awesome gaming franchises!  Overall, my impressions of the device, the available support and the growing library of ‘eye gaze’ games has me feeling very positive about this device.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

Google’s on a roll with some great new apps for the deaf & hard of hearing!!

 

Live Transcribe – Developed by Google, this app transcribes in-person speech using Google’s speech-to-text engine. It also identifies sounds such as clapping, a doorbell, etc.

 

Sound Amplifier – Used with earbuds, this app amplifies the sound around the user. Pitch is adjustable with a simple slider, and it’s expected that in the future, the app will also amplify all audio on the device, such as music, movies, podcasts, and more!

 

Stay tuned for two additional groundbreaking apps – Live Captions (a service transcribing all media content on a smartphone) and Live Relay (Google’s service transcribing phone calls in real time).

 

For more info on Live Captions, check out Mashable’s article reviewing some of the features to roll out with the service. And for Live Relay, Slash Gear offers a great take on this soon-to-be service.

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