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Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 January 2005 Issue  Volume 6  Number 1

AccessWorld News

Ad Blocker Compatible with Screen Readers

SuperAdBlocker.com recently announced that its product for stopping pop-up ads has been enhanced to work compatibly with Window-Eyes. The company says that work has been done in collaboration with GW Micro, ensuring Super Ad Blocker's compatibility with Window-Eyes. Although other screen readers are not specifically referenced, a recent announcement says: "Super Ad Blocker is screen-reader aware and automatically configures itself for optimum performance when a screen reader is detected."

The program is designed to avoid pop-up, pop-under, spyware, and adware interference, while providing descriptive text in options in all screens. A 30-day trial version is available. For more information, contact SuperAdBlocker.com: phone: 541-607-6553; web site: <www.superadblocker.com>.

New Hands-Free Reading Device for People with Low Vision

Pulse Data has released myReader, a new automatic reading device which, the company says, represents the most significant breakthrough in 30 years in reading technology for people who are visually impaired. Unlike traditional video magnification devices, which require the user to read line by line and move the material to get to the next set of text, myReader captures an image of the document on the reading surface and, within three seconds, rearranges the text to appear on the monitor according to the user's preferences. Text can be displayed in three different formats, or modes--paragraph (column layout), as a continuous horizontal line (row layout), or one word at a time--with a variety of color combinations. Users navigate around a document with the control panel instead of having to physically move the document. The text can also be set to scroll automatically for hands-free operation. For more information, contact: Pulse Data HumanWare: Phone: 866-773-2337 or 925-680-7100; web site: <www.myreader.com> or <www.pulsedata.com>.

Lower Priced Braille Displays

"Our customers told us that they wanted a more ergonomic control layout, a braille display that felt like paper, and lower prices," commented Dr. Lee Hamilton, CEO of Freedom Scientific, in the company's recent announcement of its newest refreshable braille displays. With the Focus 40 and Focus 80 (a 40-cell and 80-cell braille display, respectively), the company believes those issues have all been favorably addressed. The displays are described as offering smooth, seamless braille that feels more like paper, a comfortable arrangement of controls for the hands, and the lowest prices to date for such products. At $3,495 for the Focus 40 and $6,995 for the Focus 80, the displays are priced 35% lower than the industry average for similar products. For more information, contact: Freedom Scientific: Phone: 800-444-4443; web site: <www.freedomscientific.com>.

Personalized Electronic Assistance for Crossing the Street

You've heard of audible pedestrian signals that buzz or tweet to indicate when the light has changed at a pedestrian crosswalk. Maybe you've even heard about white canes that talk or talking signs that transmit directional information. But a new device developed in Japan just might do it all. Tadayoshi Shioyama and Mohammad Uddin, from the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan, have developed a system that is able to detect the presence of a pedestrian crosswalk, determine the width of the crossing, and announce when the traffic light has changed. All necessary technology is housed in a single camera mounted on spectacles that would be worn by the pedestrian. Information is delivered via synthesized speech through a small speaker located near the ear. The development, the culmination of a research project, was announced in Measurement Science and Technology, published by the Institute of Physics, headquartered in London. To learn more, go to <www.iop.org/journals/mst>.

Time-Limited Offer to Benefit National Braille Press

In a collaborative effort to promote braille literacy, National Braille Press, a leading publisher of braille materials for blind children and adults, and Optelec USA's blindness products division have teamed up for a win-win offer to customers visiting either site. By following the links from the Highlights section of the National Braille Press site, customers purchasing Optelec's blindness products can receive a 10% discount until January 31, 2005. Optelec will then donate the same 10% to National Braille Press. For more information, go to <www.nbp.org> or <www.optelec.com>.

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Copyright © 2005 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

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