For less than the cost of a single bus, however, Metro might be the first transit agency in the country to take a significant step across an entire bus system that could open riding options to scores of vision-impaired customers with the use of a smartphone.
A smartphone app designed to help law enforcement interact with people with mental and physical disabilities is about to roll out in one of the state’s largest counties.
The Flesky app for the iPhone makes typing easier by removing the need to hit each letter with precision. Unlike other auto-correct systems, Fleksy analyzes a wealth of data about a user’s typing and can detect the correct word to input even when someone misses every single key. In fact, the system is powerful enough to be useful even when the user is not typing within the keyboard area at all. The app is being used by people who are blind or who have low vision, but it is also beneficial to anyone who would like to be able to type without having to look at the screen as well as anyone who has had a hard time accurately hitting the small letters on a smartphone’s keyboard.
The Flesky keyboard also makes typing easier by replacing the function keys with simple gestures. For instance, users simply swipe left to right once to add a period to the end of a sentence, while a second swipe adds a space after the sentence. Getting rid of the function keys allows the Flesky keyboard to save space, so that each letter is 114% bigger than on the native iPhone layout. Users can send the text that they type in Flesky as an SMS message or email, or copy the text to use in another app on the phone.
Tiramisu, literally meaning “pick me up” in Italian, is a crowd-sourced app that informs users of the arrival time and seating availability for buses.Tiramisu uses a smartphone’s GPS to display nearby bus stops, which can be shown on a map or in “list view” for increased accessibility. Users select a particular bus stop to find out bus arrival times, which are based on reports from current riders, historic data, or the transit service schedule. Users can also get information on bus fullness to determine if they are likely to find an empty seat or room for a mobility device. Once on the bus, users can report on bus fullness and “record” their journey using their phone’s GPS, thereby helping to inform other Tiramisu users still waiting for a bus.
Ignore accessibility and pay the price.
Remember the ALS Ice Bucket challenge? Of course, you do … you were probably nominated by a friend to take part yourself.
In the summer of 2014, it seemed that social media news feeds were swamped with videos of people pouring buckets of freezing cold water on their heads in a variety of ways with some participants taking the challenge to ever more impressive heights.
Sumit Dagar, an Indian designer, is developing a tactile smartphone for people who are blind. The screen of the smartphone will be covered in pins that can be raised to create braille, tactile text, tactile maps and tactile images. Dagar is currently working on a prototype and the first model could be really for sale within a year. The project is being funded by a US$50,000 2012 Rolex Award for Enterprise. The design clearly has value for people who are deaf-blind, and the possibility of tactile maps and images seems promising. Watch a video describing the project after the jump.
Muse is a headband with four sensors that pick up the electrical outputs generated by the wearer’s brain activity. Muse connects to smart phones and tablets using bluetooth, and can provide wearers with real time feedback on their current mental state, i.e. whether they are calm or stressed, focused or distracted. Muse has the potential to become a human-computer interface that can allow the wearer to control computer applications and games. InteraXon, the makers of Muse, also imagine a future in which real world appliances will be able to directly respond to a user’s thoughts via Muse, for instance the television could turn off once it senses that the user has fallen asleep. There are certainly Universal Design applications for this kind of technology, assuming that people won’t mind wearing a headband across their foreheads all day. Then again, the design is pretty simple, sleek and unobtrusive. Would you use Muse? What would you want to control with your mind?
A new iPhone app for the hearing impaired recently hit the market late last year. Deaftel Wireless uses state of the art technology to convert a hearing person’s voice into a text message and a deaf person’s text response into a voice during a phone call. iphone users need only to visit the Deaftel website and sign up using their phone. The service is $5 per month.
What makes this innovation interesting is that the founder, Kunal Batra, did not initially set out to create a phone service for deaf people. He was working on an Indian Social Network, and one weekend decided to enter into a programming contest, where he could create a chat connected to a phone number. What happened as a result of this idea was the conversion of voice to text and text to voice. This is how Deaftel was born. After many emails from the deaf community seeking this product, Batra decided to focus on the app fulltime.
The Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards is a contest that promotes the development of apps designed specifically to improve the lives of older adults and people with disabilities. The program is supported and co-organized by AGE Platform Europe, the European network of around 160 organisations of and for people aged 50+, and the European Disability Forum (EDF), an NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities.