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AT in the news for the week of 4/14 thru 4/18

Why technology will prove key to overcoming disability

Transition from high school to independence can be hard with ASD, find tips here

The Inclusive Design Lab at University of Maryland is looking for participants for a study on assistive mobile technology

4th Md. prison training veteran service dogs

Locked inside herself

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

Is tech the preserve of the young able-bodied? Let’s talk over a fine dinner and claret

Mudra: a Braille dicta-teacher

Google Contact Lenses To Trump Glass

Australia’s first ever accessible app competition has been launched

IBM helping orgs support government regulations to create a more inclusive workplace

Let’s take care of your chair! There’s nothing like a tidy wheelchair, and these cleaning tips will help!

Accessible Frank Lloyd Wright House To Make Public Debut

Old Computers Find New Life in Hands of Children with Disabilities

Disney Researchers develop tactile feedback touch screen technology

Samsung explores a stripped-down take on wearable displays

Students solve problem for rheumatoid arthritis sufferer

Helping the visually impaired with sensor tech

Tech lets wheelchair-bound walk again

DynaVox Affiliates File For Bankruptcy


Sheltering in Place

Contributed by Provi Sharpe, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Equipment Reuse

Do you know what it means to shelter in place?  “Shelter-in-place” means to take immediate shelter where you are — at home, work, school, or in between – even in your car. It may also mean to “seal the room.” In other words, taking steps to prevent outside air from coming in. This is because local authorities may instruct you to “shelter-in-place” if chemical or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. It is important to listen to TV or radio to understand whether the authorities wish you to merely remain indoors or to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family.

The Texas Department of State Health Services in partnership with The Northeast Texas Public Health District offer two very informative videos: Sheltering in Place Part 1 and Sheltering in Place Part 2.  These videos offer tips on how to be safe where you are when evacuation is not called for.


Difficulty: Advanced


  • Structure

Tabindex values of 1 or greater assign a specific tab order to elements. Because the default tab order of the page is typically logical and intuitive, positive values are rarely necessary. A tabindex value of 0 allows elements other than links or form elements to be focusable in the default tab order of the document. Tabindex of -1 allow other elements to receive focus, but only when focus is set through JavaScript or via a link. Setting and modifying tabindex values and controlling keyboard focus with JavaScript can greatly increase the accessibility of dynamic and interactive web applications and widgets.

The Braille Edge 40

Contributed by Joel Zimba, Special Projects Coordinator, MDTAP

Recently, MDTAP  has received several inquiries about refreshable Braille displays.  As their name implies, these devices have one row of Braille pins which refresh themselves to reflect the output from a computer or mobile device.  We have several examples of this species available for your examination.  The Brailliant, Braille Pen and Alva BC640.

The primary differences between refreshable Braille displays are portability and the amount of Braille which can be displayed at one time.  The Braille Pen has 12 Braille cells and is intended to be used with mobile devices, while the Brailliant has 32 cells and works well with either a mobile device or a computer.  There are larger displays, which usually top out at 80 Braille cells.  These are stationary and usually only connect to one computer.

I recently purchased a Braille Edge 40, produced by Hims Inc.  The Braille Edge is larger that many portable Braille displays, having 40 Braille cells.  It connects either via USB or Bluetooth.  The Braille Edge has features which set it apart from other refreshable Braille displays.  It has built-in applications, such as a notepad, calculator and alarm clock.  In a sense, the Braille Edge is a hybrid between a Braille display and a Braille note taker. To me, this is a vital difference.  Large documents, in a variety of formats, can be read directly from the device rather than from a host computer.

For those who prefer to read Braille output rather than relying on synthetic speech as their interface, Braille displays are the way to go.  Refreshable Braille is currently quite expensive.  It would be a good idea to compare various devices in the MDTAP equipment library before deciding which one is right for your purposes.


The National Federation of the Blind and

The Maryland Technology Assistance Program


Web Accessibility Training Day

September 9, 2014


National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute 200 E. Wells Street at Jernigan Place Baltimore, Maryland 21230


The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute is thrilled to announce that on September 9 we will be co-hosting another Web Accessibility Training Day with the Maryland Technology Assistance Program. We will have general sessions in the morning and technical and policy tracks in the afternoon. Here are some of the topics we’ll be covering:

General sessions:

  • Enterprise implementation of accessibility
  • Education implementation of accessibility

Tech track:

  • PDF accessibility in an enterprise setting
  • Captioning and audio description
  • HTML5


  • Government implementations of accessibility
  • The Section 508 refresh



To register, please visit the registration page. The admission fee is $80.

For further information please contact Clara Van Gerven at 410-659-9314 ext. 2410 or at cvangerven@nfb.org.

NFB logoMaryland technology assistance program logo


If you’ve followed the news at all this week, you’ve likely heard the groundbreaking story about spinal stimulation providing voluntary movements to paraplegics. Check out some articles and videos below. And while you’re reading (and watching) in amazement, catch up on other awesome AT news, like Google Glass helping Parkinson’s patients or a new touch screen that allows the blind to read braille… AT in the news for the week of 4/7 thru 4/11

10 highly rated apps for children with autism

Even A Very Weak Signal From The Brain Might Help Paraplegics

Pharmacists Diagnose Stroke Risk with iPhone-based ECG

Making college affordable for students with disabilities

New Touch Screens Allow Blind to Read Braille

Google Glass being tested as assistive aid for Parkinson’s patients

myGaze® Powers Mesa Ideas’ Eye Tracking Tablet for Assistive Users

Mount Vernon Makes History More Accessible

Lynx Smart Grill cooks your food on voice command

High-tech items giving deaf-blind online access

Researchers developing smart wheelchairs that can be controlled by facial movements & voice commands

JAWS for OS X could be coming soon

Spinal stimulation helps four patients with paraplegia regain voluntary movement

How about an accessible art device like this one?

Assisting drinking with an affordable BCI-controlled wearable robot and electrical stimulation

Innovative tele-rehabilitation solution with videoconferencing and sensor technologies for stroke patients

3D Systems Provides Students With Disabilities Access to 3D Printing for Assistive Devices


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