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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 February 2017 Issue  Volume 18  Number 2
Lady with gray hair using a desktop video magnifier to read a letter. AccessWorld Recognizes February as Low Vision Awareness Month and Encourages Seniors to Adopt Access Technology
The largest population of Americans who experience low vision is seniors over the age of 65. This is why, for the month of February, AccessWorld is focusing, so to speak, on topics and technologies that may be especially relevant to seniors. Seniors, at times, may be hesitant to adopt the use of technology, especially access technology, and in this issue of AccessWorld, we want to help break down barriers, remove the uncertainty of what technology and access technology can do, and demonstrate how it can help improve independence and daily life.

In This Issue

Editor's Page

AccessWorld Recognizes February as Low Vision Awareness Month and Encourages Seniors to Adopt Access Technology

Technology Conference Coverage

Consumer Electronics Show 2017 Highlights
by Paul Schroeder The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the incomparable gathering of consumer electronics developers, distributors and enthusiasts turned 50 in 2017. Perhaps it is fitting that attention seemed to focus on how the developments in technology can serve people better, especially as they age. The show featured self-driving vehicles, home automation, health and fitness products, even a walking cane infused with tech and a personal airbag. Of course, drones, virtual reality, 3D printing, and all manner of audio were also much in evidence.

ATIA Exhibitors Deliver Product Updates and a Few New Tools
by Shelly Brisbin, Janet Ingber, and Lee Huffman The annual Assistive Technology Industry Association conference (ATIA) usually provides an early look at what's to come in the new year; however, the 2017 installment of ATIA was less about previewing what's next, and more about updating existing tools.

Product Evaluations and Guides

BARD Express: NLS Talking Books and Magazines When and Where You Want Them
by Bill Holton Recently, The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) made its extensive catalog of talking books even more convenient and accessible. “Our regional librarians report that many more of their patrons would use downloadable BARD books if there weren't so many steps involved in finding a book online, downloading the files, and then adding them to a Talking Book player,” says NLS Consumer Relations Officer Judith Dixon. The result is a free new Windows PC app called BARD Express.

MyReader and MyEye from OrCam: Text and Item Recognition at the Touch of a Finger
by Bill Holton OrCam MyReader and OrCam MyEye definitely work as advertised. For the newly blind or individuals with physical or cognitive limitations that prevent them from using a touch screen mobile device it's an excellent answer to the question, “What is this?”

Cell Phone Accessibility

Easier-to-Use Cell Phone Options for People with Vision Loss
by Jamie Pauls Is it possible for a person to still find a phone that has basic features, doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and is relatively easy to use? In this article, we will take a look at five providers—Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and GreatCall—to see what offerings they provide for someone who has a vision impairment, and does not want to leap head-first into the world of smartphone technology.

Using Your Phone's Low-Vision Features
by Shelly Brisbin Whether vision loss is related to age, or an eye condition, everyone wants to maximize the usefulness of the vision they have, when working with mobile technology. As no two low-vision experiences are identical, it's important to understand all of the accessibility tools your phone provides, and how to create a visual environment that enhances your productivity. In this article, I'll walk you through accessibility features on smartphones that use Apple's iOS, and Google's Android operating system, and show you how to choose and activate them.

Access to Diabetes Management Technology

Diabetes Management Devices and Technology for People with Visual Impairments
by Jamie Pauls For anyone, whether blind or sighted, a diagnosis of diabetes is a life-changing, and likely stressful experience. For someone who is losing their vision, or is totally blind, the experience can be even more daunting. The good news is that, with the right monitoring tools and techniques along with patience, no matter whether you are young or old, it is possible to manage your diabetes independently, or with minimal assistance from others.

Access to Item Recognition and Organization

What Is it and Where Did it Go?: Object Identification Solutions
by Bill Holton If you are a person, possibly a senior, adjusting to recent vision loss, you have doubtless learned that two of the most common questions asked by the sight-impaired are “What is it?” and “Where did it go?” In this special AccessWorld article, we will try to point you in the right direction—if you will excuse the wordplay—and offer up some tips to help you identify unfamiliar items and keep track of the ones you have.

Managing Combined Hearing and Vision Loss

When Hearing Loss Causes More Vision Loss
by Deborah Kendrick No matter how many degrees remain in your visual field or how many decibels your ears can catch, the obstacles that are thrown your way by the combination of vision and hearing loss, can, with practice and resourcefulness, be circumvented. There is, in short, always a way.

Accessible Technology for Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Stay Safe and Independent: Get Help in an Emergency with Mobile Apps and Services
by Shelly Brisbin Armed with your smartphone, and the right apps, you can take the learning role in guarding your own safety, alert others to your situation, and gather knowledge you need to take action. In this article, we'll take a look at tools you can use to enhance your personal safety, or prepare for and deal with emergency situations all while remaining as independent as possible.

AccessWorld News

AccessWorld News

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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