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Archive for February, 2011

The BG Crossword Puzzle program provides the blind or partially sighted solver with the same kind of information as the sighted puzzler gleans from the grid as the puzzle unfolds. Once a crossword is loaded, the solver uses keyboard enries to select and control the flow of information. The program speaks to the solver reading out selected crossword clues using the SAPI voice on the solver’s computer. The solver types in their solutions. The ‘voice’ lets the solver know where they are in the puzzle and can give cues as to what to do next.
You can download the setup file for Blind-gamers Crossword Puzzle 1.0 by using the following link.
The Help is supplied as a separate HTML file in the Help subfolder. It can also be displayed by hitting the F 1 function key once you are running the game.
There is also a set of tutorials especially written by Eric Westbrook which provides a good grounding on how to use the program and also gives the novice an introduction to cryptic crosswords. These tutorials can be accessed by hitting Shift F 1 once you are running the game.
This is the fifteenth program in the Blind Gamers series which includes other word games such as BG Boggle, and BG Word Target, card games such as BG Hearts, BG Uno, and BG Free Cell Solitaire, logic games such as BG 15 Puzzle and BG LAP, and many more.
Visit the Spoonbill Software website to browse the complete collection.

The Accessibility Conference (Guelph ON Canada) takes place on 31 May – 1 June 2011 at the University of Guelph.

More information at the event website.

Ottawa Accessibility Unconference (a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose) will be held on May 6, 2011 with, as the name suggests, the theme centering on accessibility—namely, to information technology for people with disabilities.
This will be Ottawa’s first IT accessibility unconference, bringing together developers, usability professionals, web designers, other IT professionals and end-users with disabilities together in an informal, non-threatening environment to learn from each other and to promote universal design of and accessibility to IT. As it is an unconference, speakers will be solicited on-site and the schedule will be built on the spot. What’s more, the event will be free of charge to participants.
More information at the event website.

Press Release / IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRUSSELS, 16 February 2011 – AEGIS project organises its final Workshop and 2nd International Conference entitled “Accessibility Reaching Everywhere” on 28-30 November 2011 in Brussels, bringing together both end-users (people with disabilities) as well as platform and application accessibility developers, representative organisations, the Assistive Technology industry, and policy makers. Since 2008, the AEGIS consortium (comprising companies such as Vodafone Foundation, Research in Motion, Oracle, and research groups from Cambridge University and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, etc.) has been developing an Open Accessibility Framework – comprising open accessibility interfaces, user interface components, developer tools, end-user applications and prototype accessibility solutions for desktops, rich Internet applications and mobile devices.

The workshop on 28 November will focus on the realisations of the AEGIS (Open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards) project and provide attendees the opportunity to try out all outcomes of the project. The demonstrated products offer barrier-free access to desktop, mobile and web applications, are open source based and will be freely available.

The conference on 29-30 November will gather a wide array of experts and users in the area of Assistive Technology to discuss scientific and policy developments in accessible technology; showcase relevant projects and initiatives in the area of assistive technology.

Access to both events will be free, but places will be limited.

This event comes ahead of the European Day of People with Disabilities that is marked by the European Commission via a policy conference in the first week of December each year, in close cooperation with the European Disability Forum (EDF).

Invitations for registration, scientific papers and exhibitors will be issued soon.

Both events take place at the Diamant Conference and Business Centre, Boulevard A. Reyerslaan 80, 1030 Brussels. More information is available under www.aegis-project.eu, or contact Ms. Julie Buttier at julie.buttier@epr.eu.

Mission Statement
AEGIS is an Integrated Project (IP) within the ICT programme of FP7 and aims, through user research and prototype development with current and next-generation ICT, to develop and validate the necessary infrastructure and accessibility frameworks needed for deeply embedding accessibility into the desktop, smart phones and rich Internet applications; with a focus on the needs of users with mild, severe or complex disabilities served via assistive technologies; and to propose these results to the appropriate standards organisations for adoption, as well as to make them available through open source as much as possible.

Logo of ViPi project

Logo of ViPi project

PhoenixKM (Belgium) coordinates the ViPi project that aims to provide a “one-stop-shop” interactive portal & learning environment, targeted towards trainers and trainees, with particular attention towards people with disabilities. The project partnership brings together organizations and companies from Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, UK and Lithuania.
BELGIUM, BRUSSELS – 26 January 2011 – An estimated 45 million people in Europe have a long-standing health problem or disability (LSHPD), being 16% of men and women aged 16-64 in the EU as a whole (2002 EU Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the 2004 EU Statistics on Incomes and Living Conditions).
33% of the people with LSHPD are not restricted in the kind or amount of work they could do or their mobility to and from work. Figures vary largely across EU members (10-50%).
This difference is directly linked to the level of prosperity and the assistance available. Of those that are considerably restricted in their ability to work, 28% were in employment, while for those that are not restricted in their ability to work, this is estimated at 68%.
Today the fast development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) provides alternative and creative solutions for the employment of people with disabilities. Recent studies conducted by various projects such as ACCESSIBLE and AEGIS have highlighted that people with disabilities (PwD) can benefit enormously from digital competences which are core life and employability skills (see Lisbon Objectives). However, same and other studies revealed also that the main barrier is the lack of specific training support or material. In addition to that, a number of other skills such as literacy and numeracy skills equally form a potential barrier towards employment of PwD.
ViPi project envisages fulfilling the gap of accessible and flexible training, designed to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities, as well as the trainers themselves.
ViPi project will develop an interactive online platform where people with disabilities can access a wide variety of ICT training courses and serious games for acquiring ICT skills, while trainers will be able to upload and download specific learning objects, using a semantically enriched environment to improve the searchability, thus increasing the relevance of the results obtained.
ViPi platform will comprise a virtual collaborative learning environment for people with disabilities and their trainers to interact, providing a vast repository of learning objects (LOs) that focus on basic ICT literacy. This will allow people with disabilities to grasp these core skills and become able to enter or sustain their employment in the regular labour market. The platform will be enriched with intuitive and accessible mobile and Internet/PC based educational/serious games. Additionally, also a mobile Android based social application linked with ViPi platform will be deployed.
Furthermore, ViPi will also develop a customized and localized curriculum on ICT skills and training, with various additional training materials (different formats), and a trainer handbook. All project outcomes will initially be available in Dutch, English, Greek and Lithuanian languages.
The Project partnership consists of Steficon (Greece), Hypertech (Greece), Hiteco (Lithuania), Nottingham Trent University (the UK), and EuroCy Innovations Ltd. (Cyprus), while the Project Coordinator is PhoenixKM (Belgium). More information can be found on www.ViPi-project.eu and twitter.com/ViPi_project.
The ViPi KA3 LLL project has been partially funded under the Lifelong Learning program, subprogramme KA3 ICT.

The ASSETS conference, taking place in Dundee-Scotland on 24-26 October 2011, explores the use of computing and information technologies to help persons with disabilities and older adults. ASSETS is the premier forum for presenting innovative research on the design and use of both mainstream and specialized assistive technologies. This includes the use of technology by and in support of:

  • Individuals with hearing, sight and other sensory impairments
  • Individuals with motor impairments
  • Individuals with memory, learning and cognitive impairments
  • Individuals with multiple impairments
  • Older adults
  • Professionals who work with these populations

All contributions are peer-reviewed by an international Program Committee. Accepted papers, posters and demonstrations will be archived in the ACM digital library. Select authors will be invited to submit extended versions to a special issue of the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS).
More information on the event website.