Express Employment Professionals Makes Testing Accessible to Blind Job Seekers

Baltimore, Maryland (July 11, 2018): Express Employment Professionals, a leading national staffing company, has committed to ensuring that its employee testing solutions can be used by blind and low-vision job seekers and employees. The decision was made after consultation with the National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people in the United States and a leading advocate for equal employment and digital accessibility. The commitment means that Express’ testing solutions will be usable by blind applicants who access computers and digital information with technologies like text-to-speech screen readers and/or Braille displays. Continue reading

National Federation of the Blind Receives Grant from National Science Foundation

Five-Year Grant Will Allow Blind Youth to Explore Engineering and Yield Innovative Research in Informal Education

Baltimore, Maryland (February 13, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will allow blind students to explore the field of engineering and provide useful educational research.

Working with researchers from Utah State University and educators from the Science Museum of Minnesota, the National Federation of the Blind will gather blind high school students from across the country to attend weeklong summer programs called “NFB EQ” (Engineering Quotient). These programs will teach engineering through hands-on activities and connect students with blind adult mentors. The NFB and its partners will research the spatial abilities of blind youth and develop model practices and nonvisual tools to strengthen those abilities. Toolkits based on project activities will be produced so that other parents and educators will be able to use these practices. Continue reading

Memphis Airport Improves Travel For The Visually Impaired

Here’s my new look with the Aira.io glasses!  

Aira and Memphis airport have come together as the only airport in the country (and the world), to create an agreement where Aira technology not only is welcomed and supported, the airport pays the subscription time costs while in the airport.

You can read the whole article and view the news report here: Aira.io and Memphis International Airport Join Forces 

This is great news for all the people that are visually impaired that want to use Aira technology in places as they travel. Our hope is that not only air, land and sea travel providers would see the advantage in assisting their visually impaired customers, but other corporations would see this as a way to provide outstanding customer service to their customers as well. #aira.io #assistivetechnology

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of AV START Act

I thought you all would like to know about this new bill that will promote equal access to automated vehicles!
-Mike

Legislation Will Promote Access to Automated Vehicles for the Blind

 
Baltimore, Maryland (September 29, 2017): Today the National Federation of the Blind commends Senator John Thune, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Senator Gary Peters, Senator Roy Blunt, and Senator Debbie Stabenow for introducing the American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act (S. 1885). This bill will promote equal access to automated vehicles for the blind and others with disabilities through the prohibition of discriminatory licensing practices and the promotion of accessible user interfaces. Continue reading

Libraries and Blind People: Looking Toward the Future

As a blind person growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, I did not have real access to libraries. Instead I, like most blind persons, received borrowed books through a program known as the Talking Book program funded by the Library of Congress. Under this program professional actors and readers were hired to record books which were then transcribed onto records. If I wanted a book I could call my local talking book library, 65 miles away, and, if the book happened to be recorded, it would be sent to me. Also, often, library staff would send me what they thought I should get, especially if my requested manuscript was not available. Usually books I wanted were not recorded. Only a few hundred and then a few thousand books were transcribed nationally. Sometimes books were even made available in Braille, the only true reading and writing language available to blind persons. Continue reading

College freshmen: You Could Go Back To School With Aira

Dear Students:

The National Federation of the Blind is committed to exploring how technology helps blind students live the lives they want. Exciting new technologies are fundamentally altering the ways in which students succeed in and out of the classroom. If you’re an incoming college freshman, you could have the chance to try out a new technology from Aira that may help you as you start this important chapter of your life.

The National Federation of the Blind is partnering with Aira, a company that uses smart glass technology, live agents, and artificial intelligence to assist blind people in understanding and navigating their environment. You might use it to help you explore your college campus and new community, for example. Continue reading

Aira Presents: Michael Hingson – Bringing the Thunder to Aira

Here’s a link and an excerpt from a recent podcast that I did about Aira.

“Aira Presents: Michael Hingson – Bringing the Thunder to Aira”

As many of you know, I was on the technical advisory counsel for the last couple of years, with Aira, and now I have been brought on to be the Director of Strategic sales. This is an exciting opportunity for me, and this podcast opens up the world of Aira, how it works for me, as well as what benefits this technology brings not only to the sight impaired, as well as corporations and locations where Aira users would visit.

Continue reading

Michael Hingson Joins Aira as Director of Strategic Sales

Hello My dear friends….I am pleased to announce that I have joined Aira and the Director of Strategic Sales!

aira technology helps guide the blind and the visually impairedHere’s a note from our CEO, Suman Kanuganti, on his relationship with Me:

“I’ve known Michael Hingson for about three years, now. In that time, he’s taught me a lot about subjects too numerous to list, but not least of which was blindness. He was instrumental in making Aira happen thanks to his love and excitement for the technology that we were building. He took me to a lot of meetings and introduced a number of advocates who would, over time become friends of Aira, board members and the like. Michael is always helping us seek responses to Aira from the community and find ways we can improve it. He is talented, funny, and more importantly a good friend. All the work we did together while he was an advisor led us to continue engaging him on more and more projects. I am super excited that he’s agreed to join Aira in a full-time capacity. Having someone like Michael believe in Aira means a lot to me and everyone on the team. Together, we’re going to get Aira in the hands of millions.” Continue reading

Aira Raises $12M to Expand Services for Blind and Visually Impaired

After beta testing technology that provides remote assistant services for the blind, San Diego-based Aira has raised $12 million in a Series B round that it says will enable the company to expand its service to thousands of visually impaired users this year.

Aira takes advantage of the gig economy by connecting online independent contractors (via dedicated wireless bandwidth provided by AT&T) to guide low-vision users equipped with a modified version of Google Glass, the Internet-connected eyewear. Like an air traffic controller, Aira agents talk to users through a speaker in the eyewear to guide them through their surroundings, read menus, shop, and provide other real-time assistance.

The company developed the service with the help of the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health in Houston. After raising $3.3 million early last year, Aira tested its technology with about 300 users, founding CEO Suman Kanuganti said Thursday afternoon. They include Erich Manser, who used Aira’s technology to help run the Boston Marathon in April. Continue reading

Nuance Accessibility Suite Released

We proudly announce the release of the Nuance Accessibility Suite – Nuance TALKS and ZOOMS – Version 5.00 supporting Series 60 3rd Edition / 5th Edition for March 31st, 2010.

Talks User Manual

This release uses the same version of Eloquence as the previous one (6.1.123). The TTS installation files for Eloquence have only been updated to mark them as supporting 5th Edition, and the user dictionary for US English has been extended. Continue reading