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Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 July 2005 Issue  Volume 6  Number 4

AccessWorld News

AppReader Makes Proofreading Easier

AI Squared invites customers to make use of AppReader, an enhancement to the popular magnification software ZoomText. AppReader makes it easier to read what you have written before signing off on it. After completing an essay, report, or letter to a friend, reviewing or revising work can be tedious. With AppReader, built into the ZoomText magnifier/screen reader software, a single key combination lets you close your eyes and listen to your text read aloud or have the double confirmation of both hearing your words and seeing them highlighted on the screen. AppReader has simple key commands for pausing, revising, and reviewing text. Whenever you exit AppReader, the cursor is automatically positioned at the last word spoken, thus making navigation an easy matter. AppReader can also be an efficient tool for reviewing web pages and other large documents as well as for proofreading original work. For more information Contact AI Squared Product Support: phone: 802-362-3612; e-mail: <support@aisquared.com>; web site: <www.aisquared.com>.

Pocket-Sized Screen Readers

"Small" and "portable" are desirable characteristics in both the mainstream and assistive technology marketplaces. Now, computer accessibility has become portable and pocket-sized with the release of two devices that are said to achieve instant accessibility on any computer, anywhere.

Serotek's FreedomBox, a system that offers both voice input and output, comes in a variety of flavors--from a hard-wired setup to various approaches to what the company calls System Access. The FreedomBox PassKey, its most portable solution, is a credit card-sized device that fits into the CD-ROM drive of a PC and automatically loads the FreedomBox software onto any computer. When the PassKey is removed, the computer returns to its previous (inaccessible) state. System Access is available for both Windows and Linux operating systems.

Dolphin Computer Access recently announced its Dolphin Pen, a USB plug-in device that contains the entire version 6.51 suite of Dolphin software--Supernova, HAL, Lunar, and LunarPlus. The user's configurations are saved on the "pen," so that any computer is instantly accessible once the device is plugged in, and all trace of the Dolphin software is removed when the pen goes elsewhere. For further information, contact: Serotek Corporation: phone: 866-202-0520; e-mail: <support@freedombox.info>; web site: <www.freedombox.info>; and Dolphin Computer Access: phone: 866-797- 592 or 650-348-7401; e-mail <info@dolphinusa.com>; web site: <www.dolphinusa.com>.

Widening the View

Optelec US recently increased its product line with the purchase of the Professional Products division of Lighthouse International. Lighthouse International, based in New York, has worked in the area of independence for people who are blind or visually impaired for a century. The Lighthouse, at its Escondido, California, location, according to a recent press release, has been a leading supplier to eye care professionals of 2,500 products for people who are blind or visually impaired, including closed-circuit televisions, magnifiers, and telescopes. "This initiative fits perfectly with our strategic direction in providing a comprehensive spectrum of solutions to all market segments serving this population," stated Michael van Schaik, CEO of Optelec. For more information, contact: Lighthouse International: phone 800-829-0500; web site: <www.lighthouse.org>; or Optelec: phone: 800-828-1056; web site: <www.optelec.com>.

HumanWare Designing Next Talking Book Player for NLS

For the last 30 years, people who were blind or visually impaired enjoyed the Talking Books recorded by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) on the sturdy four-track cassette players that they received free of charge, which, in their own era, seemed lightweight and portable. For its next generation of Talking Books -- digital audio files -- NLS has selected HumanWare Canada (formerly VisuAide) to design a user-friendly playback product. HumanWare has the largest line of software and hardware digital book players currently available to blind consumers, and NLS patrons can look forward to many of those same features. Rather than a stack of cassettes, each book can fit on a single flash memory card. Better audio quality, easier navigation by page and chapter, and the ability to bookmark favorite passages all make this project an exciting one. Collaborators on the project include Batelle, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Trace Center at the University of Wisconsin. For more information, visit Humanware at <www.humanware.com> or NLS at <www.loc.gov/nls>.

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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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