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Assistive technologies 51 articles

Making computers easier to use

The profile of a woman's face wearing a headset with a microphone.

Microsoft Windows has a few features to help people with disabilities use computers. Speech recognition allows a user to tell a computer what to do. Narrator reads text aloud. Magnifier increases the screen size. Even the mouse pointer can be enlarged. Windows also has an onscreen keyboard. These accessibility features are free with Windows. Some are easy to use, while others take patience and time to learn.  

Posted by: Graham Clements, on 15/04/14

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Computing & the web 23 articles

Computer classes making a difference

A person wearing a headset and using a computer.


The Computer Café at my local TAFE college has me learning new ways to keep me functioning effectively without sight.  Before this program, many people with disabilities thought learning computers wouldn’t be possible. But with a high level of support, people are not only learning about using computers but also increasing their prospects and enhancing their lives. It’s a small program making a huge difference.


Posted by: Kate Giles, on 18/02/14

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Mobile 6 articles

Smartphone assistance

An Apple iPhone 4 smartphone resting on its side with a variety of app icons shown on the screen

I said I did not need a smartphone. I was happy with my old mobile phone. I also had mobile internet for my notebook computer. But then I discovered I could replace two things with one smartphone. And it would not be more expensive. My new iPhone 4 does a lot more than my old devices for the same price. It makes life easier. There are thousands of applications available for the iPhone. But I am still looking for more applications for people with a disability.

Posted by: Maureen Corrigan, on 02/08/11

3 comments - last comment on 04/08/14

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Home entertainment 10 articles

Talking set-top boxes

A talking set top box with a remote control made by Bush Australia

Your old television might soon not work anymore. Those with old televisions might need to add a set-top box. The new digital format is an improvement. It offers better quality pictures and sound. There are also new channels to watch. But digital television also presents barriers to some people with a disability. Digital television uses on-screen menus and electronic program guides. The menus rely on people having sight. A trial scheme has tested talking set-top boxes to solve the program. The talking set-top boxes can read out information on the screen.

Posted by: Graeme Turner, on 28/09/11

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Video games 12 articles

Voices in the Dark

A man using a headset on a computer

A team of independent developers is making a video game without graphics. People with a vision impairment will be able to enjoy the game. It will rely on people using their hearing and imagination. The developers want to give players a new experience. Early feedback has been very positive. Gamers like 19-year-old James are looking forward to playing. The team uses two microphones at once to record sounds. The technique allows them to create sound with the perception of space and depth. People can then navigate the 3D world using just their hearing.

Posted by: Carl Thompson, on 03/11/11

1 comment - last comment on 29/11/11

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Gadgets 11 articles

A New Dimension for those with Blindness

A small 3D printer, with colourful printed objects beside it on a table.

Just think how a person with blindness might get a better understanding of an object such as a building or a wild animal, if they could feel the shape of it. Now computers can print things out in three dimensions, giving such people a chance to feel what objects are really like. Printers lay down plastic which builds up to form 3D shapes. Those with blindness could feel a certain type of car, the shape of their own house or the face of a friend. Not too many people know about this in Australia yet, but the future is exciting.

Posted by: Graeme Turner, on 03/09/13

2 comments - last comment on 04/09/13

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