Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thimble: Bluetooth Braille Display Concept Design

Thimble: Bluetooth Braille display concept drawing
This is a great article we found on Engadget about a concept design for a mobile, one fingered “glove” that could put Braille at your figure tip. The Thimble, developed by UW students, works as a Bluetooth Braille display when paired with a smartphone, it has a built-in camera for transcribing written words into Braille and has a built in microphone for voice control. The video in the article shows a woman accessing messages and browsing RSS feeds from her smartphone by clicking a button on the side of the Thimble which is fitted over her index finger. She also takes a picture of a flyer for a local band and the text is transcribed into Braille which she reads through the Thimble’s electro-tactile grid. Using the voice controls and talking into the built-in microphone, she is able to access the GPS functionality of her smartphone and seek directions to a local coffee shop. For those of you imagining that she is talking into the tip of her finger in public, no worries, the microphone appears to be on the side of the Thimble so it doesn’t look any more odd than every other Bluetooth user talking to themselves on the street.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5 Cool App Suggestions

  • Gaby de Jongh said...
    My favorite app is Angry Birds by Rovio. It's free from the Android market and is also available for the iPhone and Palm. Angry Birds is a mobile game that utilizes both skill and logic to break the fortresses of the pigs who have kidnapped the birds eggs. I'm not sure about it's accessibility, but it does provide hours of fun and perhaps some stress relief.
  • Bill Y said...
    One really cool appp is VoCal (vocal reminders). This app makes it super quick and easy to turn voice notes into calendar events. This is a great app for people with problems reading or writing - or people who need an easy way to remind themselves of stuff they need to do. Cheap too, less than five bucks for the full version. Check it out:
  • Bill Y said...
    Here's another app I think is great, but I have not tried it yet: Wake Me Up (GPS Alarm Clock). Have you ever dozed off (or zoned out)on the bus and missed your stop? Well with this app you set the location and doze away. When you reach your spot, your iPhone starts buzzing and ringing to wake you - just in time to pull the cord and stop the bus!
  • Washington Assistive Technology Act Program said...
    Plain Text & Dropbox: free in the Apple App Store
    This is self-explanatory. It’s a text editor for the I devices. Create documents to be synced with your dropbox account (also free in the App Store.) Both are accessible. Take notes on your device and have them show up immediately in your Dropbox without having to email them or otherwise direct them. It’s a must have pair of apps.
    From: Deb Cook
  • Washington Assistive Technology Act Program said...
    Dragon Dictate: Free in the Apple itunes Store
    This app alternates between being very accessible and extremely inaccessible so be careful if this matters.
    Voice recognition is done in the cloud so there’s a slight delay, but accuracy is generally very good even with reasonable background noise. Edit your text in Notes or in an editor such as Plain Text. You can then email it, tweet or post to Facebook. Very handy app if you do not have a keyboard, need to or just prefer to dictate.
    From: Deb Cook, WATAP Director

What apps do you use? We will be doing a follow up on the accessibility of these apps and suggesting some alternatives or companion apps.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We Want to Know: What's Your Favorite App?

iPad with Apps
There are a lot of apps out there that are fun or interesting for a brief period of time but don’t make it into the permanent collection. However, there are some among the throw away apps that can have great benefits, including just being fun, and they aren’t always the most expensive ones. We want to know about your favorite app. Where did it come from? How much did it cost? What purpose does it serve? Do you know about its accessibility? We will review responses and do some digging of our own to find out more about the apps that you are using. Keep posted for our follow up blog discussing some of these apps more in depth.