Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cool New AT Found at the CSUN Conference

by Rachel Anderson, CFILC's Information & Assistance Advocate

During CSUN's annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego last week, we were exposed to so many cool new AT devices and software. Below are just a few inexpensive assistive technology options we learned about at the conference.

Interact - AS
Interact – AS by Auditory Sciences demonstrated their system for removing communication barriers in a variety of formats – for both professionals and everyday consumers.  Interact - AS supports written, typed or spoken input and transcriptions are instantly transcribed and displayed, including an optional synchronized audio recording.  This system, which can be pre-configured or loaded onto your own PC, allows individuals that are deaf to directly communicate with people who do not know sign language.  It allows a person that has difficulty writing or typing to dictate memos or other text and it allows those that don’t have the ability to speak a voice through writing or typing – and with a wide variety of regional accents.  It also even has a Visualize tab that includes a sketch pad showing pictures or videos.  The Consumer Edition is $149 and the Professional Edition is $795.

Capti App
This nifty little app called Capti by CharmTech Labs can currently be used with an iPhone or iPod touch and the company has goals of expanding it for the iPad as well as for android and PC users in the near future. Inexpensively priced at $2.99, this app is useful for anyone, and is especially helpful for people who are blind or have low vision. The way it works is as you browse the web with its built-in browser - similar to the standard Safari web browser - you can bookmark web pages to add them to a playlist and listen to them at your convenience. The best news is that Capti skips the ads and clutter, downloads articles that span multiple pages and reads only the main content. It uses a built-in TTS with American English naturally sounding voices and will read from your playlist even if you are offline. Capti can also be used with VoiceOver screen readers.

Flipper Remote
Are you or is someone you know sick of complex remotes with a million tiny buttons? This useful little flipper is great for people who regularly watch 30 channels or less. It is also great for people who have memory loss or simply can’t stand complicated remote controls. The channels can be pre-programmed and, once set, there is a locking option to avoid an accidental re-programming. It has only six large colorful buttons to push and makes volume and channel-changing much easier.  It works with all major TVs, cable boxes and satellite. Order it online for $24.95 plus shipping and handling.   

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