Articles of Interest

 

Latest Set of Accessibility Features Released on Android

Posted on 20 October 2021

Google recently launched a sleuth of accessibility features for their line of smartphones. These features, Project Activate and Camera Switches, allow the user to interact with the world around them via their expressions. The Camera Switches feature provides the user with the ability to navigate the Android with facial gestures. This feature is available with version 12 of the Android Accessibility Suite App. The Camera Switch feature uses facial expressions such as looking left, right, or up to access several controls, including scrolling on phones or viewing notifications. The application also provides a screenshot manual that illustrates how users can adjust the sensitivity of the software when recognizing expressions. The developers note that the feature does utilize a substantial amount of phone power, and therefore the phone should ideally be plugged in while the feature is in use. The feature can make Android more accessible for those with certain mobility impairments.

Building upon those capabilities, Google’s second feature, Project Activate, is an application that allows people to use their facial gestures to customize actions. For example, users can set a facial gesture to send a text or make a phone call. These latest features depend upon the smartphone’s front-facing camera, which can identify the user’s face for one of six expressions: a smile, raised eyebrows, opened mouth, and looking left, right, or up. The technology relies on local computing and does not save image data. In sum, these features are not creating facial recognition data or machine learning. Finally, Google released an accessibility update to the Lookout app, which reads labels and verbalizes the label's text for people with visual disabilities. The app can also read handwritten text like how it reads labels. [Source: Devin Coldewey via TechCrunch; The Verge]

You can learn more about facial gesture-powered shortcuts and switches here.

 


 

New App enables people who are non-verbal to access voice-activated smart home devices

Posted on 17 September 2021

The IDEAL Group is pleased to announce the release of the Smart Home Helper (SHH). SHH is a free Android app (available on the Google Play Store) that enables individuals who are nonverbal and individuals with speech disorders such as stuttering, apraxia, and dysarthria to issue verbal commands to voice-activated smart home devices using Android’s Text-to-Speech engine. SHH enables its users to issue smart home commands in any one of 63 languages/dialects. Smart home voice commands can easily be created, organized, and shared with other app users. SHH development was funded by The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC).

Original article published by the Wireless Inclusive Technologies RERC of Georgia Tech University.

You can learn more about the Smart Home Helper app here.

 


 

The new Voiceitt app is available to support people with speech disabilities

Posted on 17 June 2021

Voiceitt is an accessibility app for people with speech disabilities or impairments. 

It translates atypical speech to facilitate communication using your voice with people and smart assistants. Voiceitt learns how you say a phrase, so it is ready to use in everyday conversations and routines. This app will be offered for free for a limited time on iPhones and iPads. However, it is currently not available on Android devices.

While not exactly a telecommunications app (as it does not have phone call functionality) we consider this app as a very valuable resource for the speech impaired community. Please watch this space as we can foresee this app evolving to allow phone call and SMS functionality in the future.

You can learn more about the Voiceit app here.

 


 

The Telcos for All Report is now available

Posted on 10 June 2021

As the result of an ACCAN 2020 grant, the Centre for Accessibility (CFA) has completed a report on the audit the organisation carried out of the accessibility of information on the websites and associated apps for usage, plan and billing information of telcos Amaysim, Belong, Optus, Telstra, Vodafone.   The report is available from the Centre for Accessibility’s website. Access the report by clicking here

The CFA will conduct an online seminar on 10 June aimed at providing information to the telecommunications sector on how to remediate identified issues, achieve 'quick wins' and improve access.

 


Android 11 accessibility update significantly improves voice access control

Posted on 27 November 2020

The Centre for Accessibility Australia explores the improved Voice Access feature of smartphones running on Android 11. This accessibility feature was introduced by Google several years ago and it allows you to control smartphones with just your voice. Check the full article here.

 


ANATAD compares Braille Input and Web Accessibility on Android vs iPhones

Posted on 03 September 2020

In the main segment of this podcast, the ANATAD team talked about and demonstrated braille input and web accessibility on the Android and iPhone platforms and when all was said and done, there was no doubt as to who the winner was. It really became apparent that one of the platforms really did need to do a lot of work to make this right sooner, rather than later. Check the podcast here.

 


Workplace Technology Solutions from the National Relay Service

Posted on 27 August 2020

The Department of Communications and the Arts have issued a new version of their Workplace Technology Solutions document, which aims to help you identify which type of technologies and apps might be useful in your workplace. Topics include how to download applications, captioning private phone calls and voice messages in the office, caption virtual Microsoft Teams meetings, caption conversations and private phones calls as well. You can download a PDF version of the document here.

 


Have you checked the ANATAD Podcast?

Posted on 20 August 2020

The ANATAD Podcast is here to bridge the gap for blind users of technology. The aim of ANATAD Podcast is to change people's perspective of Android usage by the blind and the visually impaired. ANATAD stands for Android News, Apps, Talk And Deals.

Check the podcast to find information on useful topics related to Android phones, all discussed from the perspective of blind and visually impaired technology users. Some of their most recent episodes include discussions on Braille input and web accessibility of Android vs iPhone, use of chat apps, email check, the most recent Android versions, reviews of the newest phones to hit the market and much more!

You can check all the Anatad Podcasts here