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Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 May 2007 Issue  Volume 8  Number 3

AccessWorld News

Low-Cost Portable Video Magnifier

Clarity USA has introduced the Junior ultraportable video magnifier, stating in a recent press release that, at $695, it is the least expensive portable video magnifier on the market. Weighing only 11 ounces and with a 4-inch viewing screen, the Junior fits easily into a pocket or handbag. Capable of magnification from 3x to 9x, the Junior offers four viewing modes, including color, and can be adjusted at various angles for reading bills, receipts, labels, or other pieces of information that are encountered every day. The Junior comes with a wrist strap, a carrying case, and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 3 hours. The product comes with a 1-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. To find a Junior dealer near you or for further information, visit the web site <www.clarityusa.com> or telephone 800-575-1456.

HumanWare Launches the Nemeth Code Tutorial

The Nemeth code, named for its creator Dr. Abraham Nemeth, is to a person who is blind and is pursuing mathematics what braille is to a person who is blind and is pursuing literacy. HumanWare has recently made the Nemeth code more accessible by releasing the new Nemeth Code Tutorial, which is designed to run on the BrailleNote mPower family of products. Written by Dr. Gaylen Kapperman and Jodi Sticken, of Northern Illinois University, the tutorial consists of 18 chapters, each divided into 4 parts, and covers everything from writing numbers to statistics. The ability to read and write mathematical symbols is important for all people who are blind, both children and adults, who are pursuing an education or employment, and this guide makes the process easier for teachers and students to use the current technology.

The Nemeth Code Tutorial is available as an option for the BrailleNote mPower BT and QT only, running the latest version of KeySoft. The cost is $395 for the BT or QT version.

For further information or to find the HumanWare sales office near you, visit the web site <www.humanware.com> or telephone 800-722-3393.

Expanded Access to Microsoft Office 2007

Serotek has announced an increased level of accessibility and usability of its FreedomBox System Access with Microsoft Office 2007. System Access users can now create, read, and edit spread sheets in Microsoft Excel; presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint; and, of course, documents in Microsoft Word. Any notes that the user adds to images in PowerPoint can be spoken by System Access to assist in the delivery, but, if the user chooses, need not be displayed on the screen.

The portability of FreedomBox System Access on any U3-enabled USB drive makes it easy to carry necessary presentations, spreadsheets, and documents. When custom settings are configured for a particular Excel document, they travel with the document from computer to computer. A recent news release from Serotek said: "The number of configuration options and keyboard commands is kept to a minimum, so users can get started quickly with little training." For more information or a 30-day trial, visit the web site <www.freedombox.info> or telephone 866-202-0520.

Audio Graphing Calculator Upgrade

ViewPlus Technologies is now shipping the third edition of its Audio Graphing Calculator. Using audio tones and cues to describe the shape of a graph, this fully accessible, scientific graphing calculator program is compatible with Windows (including Vista) operating systems. The program's new features include advanced matrix functions, the ability to display multiple graphs and to find intersections, the increased functionality of the expression evaluator, and the greater quantity of statistical functions. The upgrade alone sells for $195, and the full version costs $295. For more information or to download a 30-day demo version, visit the web site <www.viewplus.com>.

Boosting Equality for Students Who Are Blind

Quantum Simulations, a company that produces interactive tutorials to assist students in the sciences, from middle school through college, has received a $750,000 grant from the National Eye Institute to make its chemistry products accessible to students who are blind or have low vision. Because Quantum's artificial intelligence tutor programs are dialogue driven, it is believed that they will blend well with students' familiarity with screen readers and refreshable braille displays. Students who are visually impaired in the Boston Public Schools have successfully used the accessible portions of Quantum's Chemistry Tutors, and teachers believe that the projected increase in accessibility will vastly enhance blind students' equity in exploring the sciences. Quantum's materials are used by educators across the United States and, according to a company press release, have been shown in research studies "to improve comprehension, problem-solving skills and test scores by as much as 50%." For such materials to become equally available to students who are blind represents significant progress. For more information, visit the web site <www.quantumsimulations.com>.

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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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