Feed on

Courtesy Tammy Albee, NFB Newsline

People are using smartphones for more and more in this digital age.  Smart phones are used to communicate, to exchange data, and to read news and information.    More and more, our smartphones are the tool of choice for so many tasks, and now accessing print by the blind and visually impaired has just taken a big step forward.

NFB-NEWSLINE, a service providing national, international, and local news and information in a timely fashion, has been available via a free iOS app since 2012.   But what about other reading material?  How do you access books not found on the National Library Service or other book services?  What about items of a more personal nature such as bills, instructional manuals for household items, family documents, personal contracts like mortgages, insurance policies or medical records?  There is now a solution:  KNFB Reader.  Using the KNFB Reader mobile app for iOS or Android, you can scan and read any printed material quickly and easily, and have it available via audio or connected refreshable Braille display.

This app is designed to be easy and quick.  Just snap the picture, and the app reads the print.  The KNFB Reader is designed to assist blind people in capturing the print – it has tilt guidance and field of view assistance, as well as automatic text detection so you can be sure you are getting the entire page.  The KNFB Reader is also fast.  Snap a photo and read printed material in seconds.   If you desire more advanced features, KNFB Reader allows you to import documents, including .jpg and .pdf files, and export documents, including .txt and .html files, to cloud storage including Dropbox and Google Drive.   Read items as simple as a receipt or package label, to something as large and complex as a manual or book using the batch scan mode to capture multi-page documents.  It can even read data in columns or tables that might be found on bank statements or monthly bills.

KNFB Reader has just launched their Android app and it is now available in the Google Play app store http://tinyurl.com/KNFBReaderGoogle or iTunes app store http://tinyurl.com/KNFBReaderiOS.

It’s done, it’s out, and it’s accessible…the 2015 MDTAP Annual Update! We’ve got great stories highlighting some of our incredible clients, as well as data to show just what we’ve focused on this past year. Don’t miss this!

From kids to senior citizens, smart medical devices are in the news quite a bit. Making sure they’re accessible and usable is a whole other challenge, but in the world of AT, that is the ever-present challenge. This week’s news trends include quite the focus on medical devices, prosthetics, and much more. AT in the news for the week of 11/2 thru 11/6.

Blind Man Uses Instagram To Share Images

QingDao Unique unveils first-ever prosthetic 3D printer

The next generation of exoskeletons should be flexible, scientists say

Technology that helps people with disabilities often helps the rest of society

Kids Can Work Around Challenges Thanks to Assistive Technology

Kayaking Enthusiast Creates 3D Printed Assistive Paddle Grips for People with Disabilities

New Push for Pint-Sized Medical Devices to Treat Sick Kids

Amazon to Caption 190K+ Films and TV Shows by 2017

MakerBot Thingiverse Celebrates One Million Uploads And 200 Million Downloads

Nissan begins testing its driverless car on the streets of Japan

Accessibility Requires App Developers To Consider Every End User

 “Why This Audio Map for the Blind Offers an Open-Data Roadmap for the Country”

The Aging Population and Medical Devices

MDTAP is excited to announce the recipients of our FY16 small-grant awards!
The Hearing and Speech Agency – A grant to purchase the ProxTalker Unit and peripherals, to expand their demonstration and loan library for Marylander’s with communication challenges.
The Lollipop Kids Foundation – A grant to continue supporting the Equipment Loan Closet AND a grant to establish a Boardmaker Computer Lab for parent’s of children with disabilities to access needed training and adapted communications materials.
IMAGE Center – A grant to establish a fully functioning accessible kitchen, available to all Marylanders with disabilities to visit and get access to hands-on demonstrations.
Bay Area Center for Independent Living – A grant to establish a short-term loan program for modular ramps on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. These modular ramps will be available for families to borrow on average of four months at a time while they explore permanent ramp solutions.

The BuzzClip

Contributed by Joel Zimba, Special Projects Coordinator, MDTAP

A canadian company has launched a project on IndieGogo to develop a device they call the BuzzClip.  The BuzzClip is a navigational tool which detects objects at a distance via the reflection of ultrasonic waves.  While the concept is not new, the BuzzClip is a much smaller and generally more refined version of similar devices.

There are many  ways to use the device.  It can be clipped on to clothing in any desired position.  For example, if clipped to a collar, it could detect objects at head level, which might go unnoticed through typical cane use.  Several other use cases are suggested on the IndieGogo page.

A few years ago, I helped to develop a similar device with the help of VLinc, a Maryland-based non-profit which develops one-off assistive technology.

My particular incarnation was designed to be worn on the wrist, which could also be done with the Buzzclip.  From the technical information available, the BuzzClip appears to be smaller than the prototype from 2012 and it uses vibration, rather than variation in pressure, which likely helps in shrinking the device foot print.

Many pieces of assistive technology have been crowd-funded in recent years–the Bradley tactile watch for example.  I expect this trend to continue as development of hardware for such a niche market can be difficult through treditional funding methods.

For more information about the BuzzClip or to contribute to their effort, check out their page on IndieGogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-buzzclip-wearable-ultrasound-for-the-blind#/

ScripTalk, 11/17/15

Do you have trouble reading your prescription labels? ScripTalk is a solution that reads aloud the text of prescription labels.

How It Works

The pharmacy attaches a small electronic tag or talking label to the prescription container. It contains the same data that is on the printed label. Place the bottle on the ScripTalk Station Reader and hear the label information spoken aloud.

ScripTalk Station uses RFID and text-to-speech technology. A thin antennae and microchip embedded within the label are programmed with all the printed information. Because the data is stored in the label itself, it can be used on any size bottle, box, vial, tube or other prescription container.

What Does It Cost?

As part of En-Vision America’s Pharmacy Freedom Program, the ScripTalk Station reader is supplied on loan to patient’s at no cost. This is a FREE program.

You can learn more and request your own ScripTalk Station reader at En-Vision America.


Where Can I Get These Prescriptions?

And, there are now four pharmacies in the Baltimore area providing ScripTalk audible prescription labels.  Customers can contact the pharmacy to sign-up for ScripTalk label service.

Wye Oak Pharmacy

1935 Lansdowne Rd

Baltimore, Maryland 21227

Local Phone: 410-536-0555


James Pharmacy

1119 Light Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Local Phone: 410-752-5810


Walmart – Baltimore #3489

6420 Petrie Way

Baltimore, Maryland 21237

Local Phone: 410-687-6832


Walmart – Towson #5344

1238 Putty Hill Ave Ste 5

Towson, Maryland 21286

Local Phone: 410-494-4619

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