Launch of new Mobile @Vodacom Kiosk for the blind and visually impaired at @CouncilForBlind

In partnership with Vodacom, the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) officially launched a mobile service kiosk at their Pretoria offices yesterday (Wednesday 8 June), bringing mobile communication closer to visually impaired people.

These days, smartphones come with built-in accessibility features on both Android and iOS platforms enabling people with various disabilities to also have access to the amazing world of independence and the internet.

The kiosk will provide step-by-step guidance and serve as an information hub and one stop shop for blind and visually impaired people who are interested in accessible phones.

For more information, please contact the SANCB on 012-452-3811.

Elbraille, a component like Windows 10 notetaker running with Jaws and Focus 14 Braille Display

Russian based Elita Group, recently announced the release of the all-new ElBraille Notetaker.

What is this?

Elbraile is a full mobile portable computer running on Windows 10 together with Jaws for Windows.
It contains a docking station, integrated with Freedom Scientific’s Focus 14 Braille display. This docking station contains the perkins style keyboard and all the navigation options that you find on the Focus 14.

One could say that this is a component based system so, if you already have a Focus 14 Blue, you would not have to buy a new Focus 14 Blue again.

Dimensions:
189 mmx 118 mm by 38 (7.4 x 4.7 x 1.5 inches
Weight with Focus 14 included: 750 g (1.65 pounds)

Physical description

On the front you have the Focus 14 Blue control, like the selector buttons, panning, buttons, rocker bars, etc.
On the right side you have an extractor button, 3.5 mm jack, sd card slot, usb port and then power port.
On the back there is nothing.
On the left, there’s nothing.
On the top there are 6 keys. From left to right: E1, E2, Volume up and down buttons then E3 and #4.
The Sim card slot is right on the top left.

Specs:
Windows 10 32bit
Jaws 17
1.8 GHz Quad-core atom processor
2 GB of ram
64 GB SSD drive
Built-in 32 gb sd card – not usable by user, for the OS
Expansion card slot up to 256 gb storage
built-in microphone
Stereo speakers
Vibration motor – Device vibrates and beeps.when being turned on, shutting down, when placed on charge, etc.
SMS messaging capability
You can also make and receive phonecalls.

Bluetooth 4.0
3G modem (Micro sim card required)
Wi-Fi 801.11 a/b/g/n
accelerometer,
gyro,
compass,
GPS
3.5mm headphone jack
USB port – used for external storage, full qwerty keyboard etc.
20 hours of battery life.

The device has a rescue menu – used in a potential situation if there is no speech or Braille feedback.
This menu has a self-voicing and self-Brailling capability.
1. Restart Jaws.
2. Shut the system down.
3. Forced restart.

Final thoughts:
I don’t know anything else about the device but, on paper, it looks great! I’m honestly quite excited.

LG G4 – A worthwhile buy?

So, here we have the LG G4.  Yes, I know it was already released in April of this year, 2015, it’s almost time for newer flagships but, better late than never.  I promise, I did try my best to get a review unit but, I guess this phone was just so popular that there was just not enough units to go around.

 

In my view, the G4 is an upgrade to the G3 which was in-turn an upgrade to the G2.  A worthwhile one though, especially if you have the G2.

 

Before jumping in, let’s look at the things you should know.

Continue reading LG G4 – A worthwhile buy?

South African Banking Accessibility Survey for blind and visually impaired persons

If you are living in South Africa and live with a visual impairment, you are no doubt one of those who might have received terrible service from your bank.

 

Or, just perhaps they might have amazed you with their accessibility of their products and/or services.

 

You may also recall the difficulty that I’ve had with FNB in the past and ABSA who joined them in ignoring our calls for action on fixing the inaccessibility of their services.  If you haven’t read those articles, let me just say that their attitude stinks and that FNB still dismissed my request for dialogue even though I have approached them as the representative of Blind SA, a national consumer organization of and for the blind.

 

Either way, we have finally launched the South African Banking Survey that you can now complete.

 

The purpose of this survey is to gain a greater understanding of the service needs of people with visual impairment who are making use of products and/or services provided by banks in South Africa.

 

We are seeking people who are blind or visually impaired (or their caregivers), who are willing to complete a few questions.

 

If you want to be contacted for assistance to complete the survey, please let us know on Facebook or on Twitter.  Optionally, please phone us on 0127533663.

 

Thank you to Unlocking Abilities (PTY) Ltd. for hosting the survey.

SA varsity develops tech to detect hearing disability

The University of Pretoria has developed low-cost technology that helps in diagnosing hearing disability.

The technology, called hearScreen, is a patented smartphone application that provides a mobile health solution for early detection of hearing loss and links patients to required health services. The software can turn any smartphone into an audiometer to test people’s hearing. Continue reading SA varsity develops tech to detect hearing disability