Originally created in partnership with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital as a writing and research app for individuals with physical or learning disabilities, WordQ quickly became recognized as an app that could be beneficial to all students, especially for those individuals who struggle with English as a first or second language. Originally created in the early 2000s, this app is now in its 5th iteration, with new features and functions being added in every new version. Today, WordQ is available for iPad, Chromebook, PC, Mac, and as an extension to the Google Chrome internet browser, making it compatible with virtually any modern computer.
In recent years, audio-based entertainment and learning has becoming more and more prevalent with the rise of many audiobook services such as LibriVox, Kobo, and, the subject of this week’s ebulletin, Audible.
Audible not only offers an impressive library of audio-based books, radio shows, magazines, and theater performances, this service features top-tier actors and narrators such as Emma Thompson, Jimmy Carter, John Malkovich, and countless other A-list talents.
Anybody who has had to deal with hearing impairments, poor hearing, or too much background noise during an important conversation has probably at least once in their lives wished that their conversations could have been closed captioned. And, especially for corporate users, having those captioned conversations transcribed and saved for later review could be invaluable within the business world. The app that we’re looking at today does all that and more.
For many of us, the ability to effectively navigate the outside world is something we take for granted. But, for individuals who are blind or have low vision, engaging with the outside world can be a frustrating and sometimes frightening experience. Now, imagine if there was an app/service that allowed users to “borrow” someone’s vision when they needed it the most?
On December 3rd, Makers Making Change will be hosting a LipSync Buildathon in Fredericton, an event that will have community members building an assistive device, the LipSync. The LipSync is a mouth controlled input device, or mouse, which enables people with little or no hand movement to operate a touchscreen device, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Participants will learn soldering, assembly and 3D printing skills while being guided by Neil Squire Society staff through the building process, so even those with no experience building will be able to participate!
For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, having access to the appropriate technology can mean the difference between being a part of the conversation and being left on the sidelines. And while many individuals who are deaf/heard of hearing are capable of reading lips in a one-on-one setting, there are still many barriers when it comes to effectively communicating with the outside world. This is especially true in group settings when multiple individuals are speaking at once, often overlapping and interrupting each other.
In the tech world, universal design and accessibility has quickly shifted from concept to creation. Accessibility-friendly corporations like Google and Apple have facilitated that shift within the past decade by creating and fine-tuning devices that allow people to communicate in ways that were never possible before. Many of these advances in assistive technology have allowed individuals with disabilities to more meaningfully participate in society through innovative means of communication such as text-to-speech, speech-to-text, braille technology, AAC, and more. More than that, many of these innovations come built-in to mainstream smartphones and tablets, making the barrier to accessibility even lower.
Apple has been at the forefront of built-in accessibility features since the initial launch of the iPad, and a recent announcement at the Worldwide Developer Conference proves that Apple is showing no signs of slowing down on the accessibility front. During the conference, it was announced that among the many tweaks and updates coming for iOS 13, a new accessibility feature would be added to the already impressive list of built-in accessibility features available for iOS.
In today’s e-bulletin, we’re going to look at a new device that supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. But first, what is OCR? Simply put, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that allows users to convert physical documents into a digital format which can then be searched, edited and read aloud. Documents can be scanned using any smartphone, tablet, or iPad that has a built-in camera, and the necessary app(s). There are a wide variety of scanning apps available for free or for purchase, but some of our favorites include Office Lens, ClaroPDF, and PrizmoGo. What the means is that virtually all of us have the ability to scan and digitize physical documents using technology we likely already have.
OneNote has been one of our top-recommended note-taking apps for some time. The app offers many levels of organization, will instantly sync across all devices, and is packed with accessibility features such as dictation and immersive reader. Of course, this app is still evolving, and today we are going to look at yet another new feature which has recently been added to OneNote: Apple 2 pencil support.