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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 January 2007 Issue  Volume 8  Number 1

Editor's Page

In this issue, Darren Burton evaluates TALKS and Mobile Speak, two cell phone-based screen readers. These screen readers are compatible with a select list of cell phones running the Symbian operating system, and this article compares their performance on the Nokia 6682, a Symbian phone that was released in 2006. The article also investigates more of the phone and software functionality, including compatibility with a wireless keyboard and headset. Find out how well these products perform.

Brad Hodges, of AFB TECH, provides an update on the constantly changing landscape of access to home appliances. He visited local and national retailers and examined products from brands including Whirlpool, Frigidaire, GE, and Sears Kenmore. Appliances include stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers. Read about how these products fared in accessibility, and our current recommendations for which ones to buy.

Lee Huffman, of AFB TECH, evaluates the STRIX and Amigo, two portable, handheld, electronic magnifiers with an adjustable angle, and seven-inch and six-and-one-half-inch TFT (thin film transistor) display screens, respectively. Both products have adjustable magnification levels and various display modes. The evaluation covered four areas: documentation, features, ease of use, and portability. Check out our review of these handy products.

Deborah Kendrick interviews Jim Fruchterman, in celebration of Fruchterman being named a MacArthur Fellow in September 2006. Fruchterman is best known by AccessWorld readers as co-founder of Arkenstone Inc. and BookShare.org. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards each recipient a "no strings attached" grant of $500,000 to further their work. Find out what one of the best liked and most admired people in the assistive technology field has planned for the future.

Darren Burton and Lee Huffman evaluate Canon's new Voice Operation Kit, which provides access to many functions of the company's copy machines. This article updates our evaluation of Canon's Voice Guidance Kit, evaluated in the July 2006 issue of AccessWorld. Users who are blind or visually impaired now have access to the fax and e-mail functions of these machines. Learn how operating the office copier has become easier.

Lee Huffman chronicles changes HumanWare has made to myReader, a transportable auto reader. Improvements have been made based on Accessworld's January 2006 evaluation and on feedback from users. Read about the changes made to this product.

Anthony R. Candela, Deputy Director, Specialized Services Division of the California Department of Rehabilitation, presents the final article in a four-part series chronicling the history of assistive technology. He interviewed more than 20 major players--inventors, company executives, and trainers--spending hours with each one. The series concludes with a discussion of the computer itself, and some speculations about the future of blindness assistive technology.

Jay Leventhal
Editor in Chief

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Copyright © 2007 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

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