Raising the Floor News

Cambridge Team Completes Pilot of Population Survey on User Abilities

The Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge University has recently reported the results of its pilot of a large-scale population survey aimed at collecting information that will help designers understand the needs of users with disabilities. From the abstract:

Canada Forms Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (BAF)

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently formed a fund to support projects in accessible broadcasting. These projects will supplement what CRTC already requires in terms of captioning and description, and may include innovations in mobile and online media accessibility. BAF's Board will be composed of accessibility stakeholders representing different disability categories, and industry-based and independent experts. Initial project proposals will be received later this year.

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 10:31 am in Highlights

Netflix Picks GPII-Partner Amara for Crowd-Sourced Captioning Experiment

Raising the Floor has another reason to be proud of our connection with Amara, the crowd-sourcing captioning solution: Netflix just announced an experiment with Amara to provide team-based captions for some popular classic cartoons and TV. Amara lets anyone set up teams to tackle videos that need translation or captions; each volunteer works as much as he/she wants, and there's a way to assure quality and accuracy.

Posted on August 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm in Highlights

Raising the Floor, CCAC, Plan Innovative Online Focus Group About Captioning

Raising the Floor and the Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC) will be holding an innovative text-only focus group on captioning. Using Adobe Connect, participants will join 4 text chat conversations on a single screen, on 4 separate captioning topics. The goal is to learn how users want captioning to work in the future, so RtF can develop its Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) to reflect those needs and preferences.

Posted on July 22, 2012 at 11:10 am in Highlights

FCC Prepares for September "Developing with Accessibility" Event

September 6-7, 2012 will mark the US Federal Communication Commission's second accessibility hackathon, with developers from the DC area meeting up with online participants to build accessibility apps and websites in real time. Focused on training, collaboration, and professional networking, the event welcomes the participation of anyone interested in accessible technology, at any level of technical expertise. Raising the Floor will be there, showing off our own development progress and looking for partners.

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 9:23 am in Highlights

Google Adds Real-time Captioning to Hangouts

Google+ Hangout is a collaboration service that lets as many as 10 participants see and hear each other, sharing screens or documents. Google recently added a captioning capability, allowing users to see instantaneous text versions of what is being said. Real-time transcriptioning can be provided by StreamText, a Google partner in the new service, or by the users themselves, with one text window per Hangout.

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm in Highlights

US Court Appears Ready to Apply ADA to Web-based Content

In a startling decision, the Massachusetts Federal District Court ruled that Netflix may be required to caption its streaming movies under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 9:46 am in Highlights

Microsoft Research Speech Recognition Comes of Age

Greenbutton InCus now offers a commercial version of Microsoft Research's speech recognition project, MAVIS. The service uses cloud computing to perform deep neural network analysis of audio and video files, resulting in highly accurate indexes, transcripts, and captions. Hosted and self-hosted versions are available; service fees for the hosted version run less than $0.20 a minute.

Posted on June 21, 2012 at 4:54 am in Highlights

AARP Foundation Adopts Cloud-based Talking Web Technology

The AARP Foundation, part of the largest senior organization in the United States, has just begun using an innovative text-to-speech technology on its WorkSearch Information Network website. ReadSpeaker lets visitors hear the content of the website without having to load any special software. It uses a cloud technology that converts the text on the screen into synthesized speech and delivers it as live audio to the visitor.

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm in Highlights

AT&T's "The Connected Child" Provides Network-based Support for Learning and Independence

Lee Mabie, an AT&T staffer and accessibility champion, has created a networked technology solution for his daughter London, who has a rare genetic condition. "The Connected Child" uses tablets, smartphones, the Internet, and apps to provide guidance for London's school day and personal life. The technology lets everyone who works with London, including family and friends, know what's going on and how she's doing.

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm in Highlights