Last week, the nonprofit Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired held Sight Tech Global, the first of a planned annual virtual conference that looks at how AI-based technologies are changing accessibility for blind people and those with low vision. The event was free, and you can watch session recordings from the two-day conference. Perhaps coincidentally, Apple and Google have recently announced new projects and improvements designed to assist people with disabilities in intriguing new ways.
- Google’s Project Guideline uses AI to help low-vision users navigate running courses [VentureBeat] “Google’s Guideline app works without an internet connection and requires only a guideline painted on a pedestrian path. Users wear an Android phone around the waist using the aforementioned harness; the Guideline app runs a machine learning model that looks for the painted line and identifies it. Then, the app approximates the user’s position and delivers audio feedback via bone-conducting headphones to help keep them on the guideline.”
- iPhones can now automatically recognize and label buttons and UI features for blind users [TechCrunch] “It was done by taking thousands of screenshots of popular apps and games, then manually labeling them as one of several standard [user interface] elements. This labeled data was fed to the machine learning system, which soon became proficient at picking out those same elements on its own.”
- Android’s secret voice control superpowers [Computerworld] “Voice Access empowers you to do virtually anything you could do by touching your screen simply by speaking, including some things that make dictating text much easier and more practical.”
- Google Look to Speak lets you use your eyes to select and speak phrases [The Verge] “The Android app is designed to make communication easier for people with motor and speech impairments.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- Bouck, Emily C., et al. “Virtual Manipulatives as Assistive Technology to Support Students with Disabilities with Mathematics.” Preventing School Failure, vol. 64, no. 4, Oct. 2020, pp. 281–289.
- Carolan, Jane. “Why We Need to Champion Assistive Technology for People with Autism.” Learning Disability Today, vol. 15, no. 5, Sept. 2015, p. 31.
- Caruso, Catherine. “Grandma’s Robot Helper.” Scientific American, vol. 317, no. 1, July 2017, p. 24.