A Free, Libre, Open Source, dictation solution at last!

The DictationBridge team is delighted to announce the immediate release of DictationBridge version 1.0!

For years, the community has been asking for a free, libre, open source dictation solution it can use with the screen reader of its choice. Today, the wait is over: meet DictationBridge 1.0, the dictation solution for screen reader users created by and for the community.

Building on a modest goal shared by three people in three wildly divergent timezones communicating by email as far back as 2011 all the way through the success of a community fundraiser in 2016 and its resultant two-year development and testing process, and with encouragement from the community, the talented members of the DictationBridge team have been working hard to deliver a dictation solution that will meet the needs of many and open up opportunities for millions more blind people around the world.

DictationBridge is a fully featured add-on for the world’s two most commonly used screen readers. Serving as a gateway between you, the NVDA and/or Jaws screen readers and either Dragon Naturally Speaking or Windows Speech Recognition, DictationBridge will change how you work with computers using voice recognition.

For more information, please go to: DictationBridge website

AAP distributes media release for “Outrunning the Night”

Australian Associated Press (AAP) distributed a media release for Scott Hollier’s book Outrunning the Night: A life journey of disability determination and joy’ on 20 September.

Digital accessibility specialist Scott Hollier is well educated, loves computers and gadgets, is a husband and father, goes to church regularly and has set foot on all seven continents. He is also legally blind.

It is an Inspiring memoir of struggle and triumph.

Find the release on Scott’s book here

If you’ve aren’t familiar with Scott’s book, all the details including a sample chapter can be found at www.outrunningthenight.com

Vision Australia Radio set to bring Perth landmarks to life

Some of Perth’s most well-known tourist attractions are set to be brought alive for people who are blind or have low vision thanks to an upcoming radio program, The Tourist.

The Tourist will air on Vision Australia Radio (VAR) during August and September and will provide listeners with an entertaining and informative account of the Fremantle Prison, the WA Maritime Museum, and Scitech.

Developed by Murdoch University Sound & Radio student Ethan Kavanagh, each episode of The Tourist will feature staff interviews, behind the scenes tours and audio descriptions from each location.

VAR Program Coordinator Gemma Sidney said Ethan’s work is something that will have a positive impact for many people who are blind or have low vision. “The locations that Ethan has documented in The Tourist are all popular for a reason and it’s important that people who are blind or have low vision are given every chance to experience and enjoy what they have to offer like anybody else,” Ms Sidney said. “Each episode really is an immersive account of each location, whether it’s a description of what it’s like to enter a submarine, taking people on a trip to the gallows or audio describing a puppet show, we really think The Tourist is something that will support our listeners in experiencing each location.”

Each episode of The Tourist will also be available as a podcast to allow the wider blind and low vision community to experience each attraction and Ms Sidney said VAR hopes to expand the program’s offering in the future.

“We’re fortunate that during his placement with us Ethan put as much time and effort as he did to produce the first three episodes and he’s indicated that he’d like to do more to help people who are blind or have low vision to experience the other attractions Perth has to offer.” VAR is an important outlet for the blind and low vision community to access a wide range of information and it’s great that we can expand what we offer our listeners with more content that is produced with them in mind.”

The Tourist air dates on Vision Australia Radio:

  • Episode 1: Fremantle Prison – 10.30am Monday 28 August (repeated 10.30am Friday 1 September)
  • Episode 2: WA Maritime Museum – 10.30am Monday 4 September (repeated 10.30am Friday 8 September)
  • Episode 3: Scitech – 10.30am Monday 11 September (repeated 10.30am Friday 15 September)

Vision Australia Radio broadcasts in Perth on 990AM and on digital under VA Radio. The Tourist will also be available online as a podcast via http://radio.visionaustralia.org

The Eclipse Soundscapes Project app

Below is a link to an interactive app made for VoiceOver users and others with vision loss.
It uses a combination of sound, vibrations and audio description.

The Eclipse Soundscapes Project app is specially designed so that people who are blind and visually impaired can share in the awe and wonder of astronomical events in real time with their sighted peers.

The app is a joint effort between The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium (HEC), the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), and the National Park Service (NPS). Features include an interactive “Rumble map”; audio descriptions of key features of the eclipse; a play-by-play description of the total solar eclipse as it is happening in the user’s area; and a countdown clock to the next upcoming eclipse.

The “Rumble Map” gives the user the sensation of “feeling” the Sun during an eclipse. the technology translates images of key eclipse features into a series of unique frequency modulated tones that map out variations in light and dark as the user explores the image with their fingertips. These tones are specially designed to make the user’s mobile device shake, or rumble, in response to the changes.

After the eclipse, the Eclipse Soundscapes app will provide access to a database of soundscape recordings from U.S. National Parks and other urban and rural locations so that users can experience how eclipses change the behavior of different species, including humans. During the next five years, the app will expand to include other eclipses and astronomical objects of interest giving people who are blind and visually impaired – and everyone else – a new way to engage with the universe around them.

Eclipse Soundscapes by Henry Winter

Blind Parenting Video with Audio Description

Parents often say that raising children is one of the most rewarding and challenging stages of life. Now imagine how you’d do it if you were blind. Not sure? … Check out this video and learn how.

two parents, Rebecca and Eric, who are both blind are loving, laughing and adapting as they raise their two-year-old son, Tyler, who loves books, trucks, airplanes, playing, and exploring the world around him.

Please share the link below!

ACB Parenting Video with Audio Description