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Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 September 2012 Issue  Volume 13  Number 9

AccessWorld News

AccessWorld News

2013 Access Awards: Nominations Now Open!

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has announced its official call for nominations for the 2013 Access Awards, which honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that eliminate or substantially reduce inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired.

Nominations for the AFB Access Awards should illustrate an exceptional and innovative effort that has improved the lives of people with vision loss by enhancing access to information, the environment, technology, education, or employment, including making mainstream products and services accessible. The effort should be one that has national impact or can serve as a model for replication on a national or international level.

Letters of nomination addressing the above criteria should be e-mailed to Joe Strechay, AFB, 2013 Access Awards Committee, at jstrechay@afb.net.

Nominations must be received no later than Monday, October 29, 2012. Product brochures, patent applications, and other materials of support substantiating the nomination should also be sent by the above date. Please note, materials submitted will not be returned.

The awards will be presented Friday, April 19, 2013 at the AFB Leadership Conference (formerly known as the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute) at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Previous award recipients include Apple, Inc., Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Google, Lexmark, Leader Dogs for the Blind, CBS Television, Major League Baseball & MLB.com, NVDA, and Lauren Lieberman, Ph.D.

Early Bird Rate: 20% off ATIA 2013 Orlando Conference Registration

Assistance Overcoming Budget Delays or Cancellations

ATIA has just released its new early bird rate for the 2013 Orlando Conference, which is available until Friday, September 28. ATIA recognizes that registration and travel arrangements can be delayed or changed due to various circumstances. If this is your situation but you expect to attend the ATIA 2013 Orlando conference, the liberal, no-risk, early cancellation policy allows would-be attendees to register by credit card while awaiting funding approval or other confirmation. A full refund will be granted to cancellations made in writing on or before November 30, 2013.

Review Conference Sessions Online

You can find comprehensive conference education on all segments of access technology at the conference, and you can find a full listing of the sessions at ATIA's session directory. Plus, discover a series of Bring Your Own Device sessions (identified by the BYOD acronym within the room listing) designed for attendees to bring their own tablets or devices!

You can preview the abstracts for all pre-conference seminars, sessions, poster presentations, and hands-on labs online prior to registration. To learn more about designing your own personalized continuing education curriculum, follow this link to ATIA's Earn CEUs Program, and choose from more than 175 educational sessions.

Ai Squared, the Makers of ZoomText, Offers Free Training Webinars

To learn more and sign up for the following webinars, visit the AI Squared website.

What's New in ZoomText 10

This webinar is mainly for those who are familiar with ZoomText and want to hear about the new features in version 10.

Thursday, September 6th, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Thursday, September 13th, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

New User Online Learning

This webinar is for those who are not familiar with ZoomText or want a refresher about the product. You will learn about the new features in 10, but the webinar will not go into nearly the same detail as the "What's New in ZoomText 10" sessions.

Wednesday, September 5th, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Wednesday, September 12th, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Increase your Productivity with ZoomText Hotkeys

This webinar will walk you through all of the most frequently used hotkeys in ZoomText.

Tuesday, September 18th, 11:00 - 12:00 pm EDT

Boston Accessibility Conference, September 15, 2012

If you are in the Boston area, you may want to attend the 2012 Boston Accessibility Conference held September 15, 2012 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge. To learn more about the conference, register, or obtain speaker information, visit the conference website.

Envision Conference 2012, September 12 - 15

This year's Envision Conference will be held September 12-15 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark in St. Louis, Missouri. The mission of the Envision Conference is to improve the quality of low-vision care through excellence in professional collaboration, advocacy, research, and education. The focus of the Envision Conference 2012 is "Excellence in Education." For more information about the Envision Conference 2012 or to register, visit the Envision website.

Verizon Introduces Suite of Apps for Visually Impaired

Verizon Wireless has recently announced the Mobile Accessibility Suite, a collection of applications and services that will allow visually impaired customers to use their Android smartphones more effectively. The suite bundles together 10 separate apps that make it easier for the visually impaired to navigate their touchscreen device, and it offers features such as speech recognition, text-to-speech, and braille output. The suite allows users to quickly make phone calls, manage contacts, compose/read text messages, set alarms, browse the Web, create and edit calendar appointments, e-mail, access the time, find information about location and weather, and manage device settings. The suite is free to download and use, but it requires a data plan and a device running Android 2.2 or higher.

For more information, visit the Verizon Wireless website.

US Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy Announces $950,000 Grant to Establish Accessible Technology Action Center

The US Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy recently announced the availability of approximately $950,000 to fund a cooperative agreement to establish and operate the Accessible Technology Action Center, a new national resource that will facilitate and promote the use of accessible technology in the hiring, employment, retention, and career advancement of people with disabilities. To learn more about this grant and its potential impact on people with disabilities, visit the US Department of Labor's website.

New Exhibit Allows Those with Visual Impairments to Experience Visual Art

Without sight, how do you experience visual art? How do you take part in a conversation about visual art? "BLIND. VisualEyes without Your Eyes" is an interactive art show that creates an opportunity for people who are visually impaired to engage in the conversation about and interpretation of visual art. The exhibit, created by Pete Brown, opens at Gallery 924 in Indianapolis on October 5.

At this show, guests are encouraged to touch, feel, listen, and interact. The pieces are created using different techniques and materials offering distinct textures to provide people who are blind with a chance to experience the work through touch. Unlike traditional exhibits where you are discouraged from physically engaging with the artwork, BLIND is an exhibition where physical interaction rounds out the whole experience.

From the beginning, BLIND was created with the input of people who are blind. A committee of people from varying backgrounds and experiences were brought together bimonthly to talk about how they experience art and life. Pete Brown then took this information and began to create pieces that allow people of varying abilities to engage with the visual art.

Brown has not only created pieces that are tactile, but he has also used technology to help tell the story of the art. Each work will have a Quick Response (QR) code, and a guest can use a smartphone or iPad to scan the code to experience an audio/video description and find out more about each piece.

Each piece in the gallery will be for sale. Funds raised by this event will benefit both the Bosma Visionary Opportunities Foundation and Gallery 924.

The goal of the show isn't only about making art accessible for people with visual impairments. It's also about educating the general population and breaking stereotypes around blindness.

"I've really come to learn how many inaccurate notions the general sighted community has about the non-sighted community," said Brown. "I hope to use my artwork as a catalyst so that Bosma Enterprises and the people they serve can share their culture and experiences in a new setting with a new group of people."

BLIND will open on Friday, October 5, 2012 at Gallery 924 in The Arts Council of Indianapolis, located on 924 N. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204 from 6 pm to 9 pm, and it will run through October 27.

For more information on the art exhibit, please contact Anthony Scott by phone at (317) 275-1352 or through e-mail. You can also visit the Bosma Enterprises website to learn more.

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Copyright © 2012 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

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