Fast Company

AT&T’S Challenge To Developers: Inventive Apps For The Disabled

AT&T’s latest app challenge, done in partnership with NYU’s Assistive Technology and Ability Lab, offers $100,000 to developers who create new apps or devices specifically aimed at aiding those with disabilities. Submissions will be due at the beginning of July, and AT&T will announce the winner on July 26, the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Read more.


The Silencing of the Deaf: How high-tech implants are being blamed for killing an entire subculture.

Deaf culture is unique in that it is not usually inherited– it is shared and passed down. Though implants have been lauded for their technological achievements, by helping deaf children hear, parents are essentially cutting them off from experiencing this vibrant culture. Read more on Medium.

Internet Closed Captioning Resources

With more and more people turning to their computers instead of television to watch video, Congress has acted to require closed captions on Internet videos for the millions of Americans with hearing impairments.

Closed captioning has long been required for feature films and broadcast television, but such laws did not account for the digital revolution. That has meant spotty accessibility on the Web for the estimated 38 million Americans – 12 percent of the population – who are hearing impaired.

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 requires any video that is closed captioned for television to also be captioned when made available online. The Federal Communications Commission also has issued a series of deadlines for archived TV footage already edited for the Internet to be captioned. The first deadline is March 30, 2014.

To help those companies and individuals seeking to comply with the new FCC rules, the National Center on Disability and Journalism surveyed the various services available and compiled a list of resources on Web video captioning as well as a summary of the rules and deadlines for compliance.

 NCDJ Web Video Closed Captioning Resources


Who Says Prosthetic Hands Have To Look Like Human Hands?

A team of researchers and scientists in Japan took a different approach to creating a new prosthesis. The “Trans-Radial Prosthesis With Three Opposed Fingers” does not resemble a human hand as many other prosthetics attempt to do. Instead it only has three digits, which the creators say will make it easier for the user to wear and cuts down on cost. Read more.


Accessible Designs Could Help Us All – But Only if Firms Bite

Columbia Law student Alex Blaszczuk demonstrates how accessible technology allows her to live a more independent life and enjoy many of the things she used to before a car accident left her paralyzed from the shoulders down.

In this NPR profile, Blaszczuk becomes a Google Glass explorer and is able to take pictures, find driving directions and take a camping trip with friends. Google is one of only a few big tech firms working to create accessible technologies for the disabled community. Read more.

Chicago Tribune

Mind control powers prototype bionic leg

Prosthetic legs that can read minds? Researches at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago say it’s a possibility.

With funding from the U.S. Army, the group of researches unveiled its latest prototype bionic device this past week. The leg is comprised of aluminum, motors and sensors and relies on powerful software that translates neural signals into specific motions. Essentially, a patient thinks about bending his knee and his prosthesis follows directions.

Researchers say they hope to release the technology to the military and the general public in the next five years. Read more.


The (Lynchburg, Va.) News & Advance

E.C. Glass graduating senior sees past her disability

Georgie Sydnor likes having a computer program that will read to her the words on the screen and reply to her keystrokes. On the other hand, she’s not a fan of the way the female voice responds to her attempts to navigate a tricky task.