Raising the Floor News

TapTapSee Turns Photos into Answers

There's a new app in town for blind iOS users. TapTapSee lets you take a picture with your device, and get a suitable description in just a few seconds, spoken by iOS's VoiceOver. TapTapSee uses a combination of a database algorithm and cloud-crowdsourcing to identify images and return the most useful information.

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 11:54 am in Highlights

Report on Vision Loss Estimates Worldwide Annual Costs at $3 Trillion

A new report on the economic impact of vision loss from the International Federation on Ageing estimates its global costs at almost $3 trillion a year. The estimates are based on 285 million people who have low vision or are blind, with both direct and indirect costs, in developed and developing countries. The costs are expected to rise as the population ages, reaching $3.5 trillion by 2020.

Some of the key cost factors are:

AppWriter Cloud Adds Accessibility to Google Docs

Danish software company LingApps has released an accessibility-rich cloud-based editor compatible with Google Docs. AppWriter Cloud lets users read and edit Google Docs, using such features as highlighted text synchronized with text-to-speech, word or letter typing echo, and context-based word suggestions. AppWriter Cloud is an extension to the Chrome browser, with 50,000 users in Scandinavia.

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 7:43 am in Highlights

Raising the Floor Mourns Passing of Advisory Board Chair

Raymond CohenRaymond Cohen, Chair of the Raising the Floor Board of Advisors passed away unexpectedly March 22, 2013 after being taken to the hospital.

Posted on March 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm in Highlights

Computer Researchers Develop Crowdsourced Captioning System

Researchers at the University of Rochester Human Computer Interaction (ROCHCI) lab have developed a cloud-based, crowdsourced method of providing real-time captions, called Legion:Scribe. Instead of relying on a single trained transcriptionist, Legion:Scribe uses multiple untrained workers (from Amazon's Mechanical Turk global task-based labor pool) who each type as much as they can of what they hear, which the system evaluates and stitches together to form its text stream.

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 7:08 am in Highlights

Cloud4all/GPII Framework Release 0.1 Goes Public

Cloud4all is the European Commission-funded project that's building important parts of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII). The Cloud4all 0.1 framework release is intended to enable broader contributions from the Cloud4all community and to provide a stable platform for Assistive Technology developers to start the process of integrating their solutions. It's GPII's first public product!

This release will allow Windows (Windows 7) and Linux (Fedora 17) users to: 

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 6:45 am in Highlights

US Federal Training on Cloud Computing Includes Accessibility

A recent story in GCN (formerly "Government Computer News") pointed to an Adobe training session on federal cloud computing with welcome attention to accessibility. The author, John Breeden II, pointed out that all the members of the "Optimizing Training and Mission Readiness through the Cloud" panel referred to Section 508 (a key law requiring federal ICT accessibility).

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 4:45 am in Highlights

Google Adds Accessibility Features to Hangouts

Google Hangout users have been able to get their sessions transcribed in real time via CART services for several months, and sign language users and interpreters can participate equally. A new feature integrates sign language interpreting even better: when the sign language user begins signing, he or she gets the focus instead of the interpreter. (Hangout's default is to focus on whoever is speaking, so previously the interpeter got the focus instead of the person being interpreted.) Another improvement is a wider range of keyboard shortcuts.

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 9:43 am in Highlights

Caption and Translate YouTube Videos Via Amara

Amara always let you crowdsource captions and subtitles for your online videos, including YouTube. Now you can link your YouTube channel to Amara so that your YouTube viewers are brought into the process, and their work is automatically updated. This expands the reach of both language and disability access to the expanding world of video in education, work, entertainment, and cultural inclusion.

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm in Highlights

UK Study Shows Gaps in Internet Use

A new study by the Royal National Institute for the Blind shows that seniors with visual disabilities are missing out on using the Internet for specific reasons. The primary reason (given by 83% of the respondents) was their vision loss, possibly revealing low awareness of assistive technology solutions.

Posted on February 3, 2013 at 6:22 am in Highlights