Assistive Technology

Freedom Scientific has released JAWS 18.0.2738, which boasts several improvements made between the JAWS 18 February 2017 release and this April 2017 update. The latest release can be downloaded at the JAWS download page.

Here is a list of the improvement you find in the new download:

JAWS

  • A customer reported that Krzysztof was missing from the Vocalizer Expressive 2.2 Polish compact voices collection. This has been resolved and the updated voice collection can be downloaded from the Synthesizer Downloads web page.
  • Resolved an issue where the Weather Research It lookup source was not displaying any results.
  • The JAWS Audio Ducking feature, which lowers the volume of other apps while JAWS is speaking, is currently disabled in the Windows 10 Creators update due to issues with JAWS not ducking audio as expected in some situations. We are continuing to work with Microsoft and plan on having Audio Ducking available again in a future update of JAWS, as soon as the necessary changes happen in an update of Windows 10.
  • When focused in the Book Page View of the Kindle for PC app, pressing INSERT+F1 now displays an appropriate help message.
  • This update includes updated drivers for the Alva BC6 braille displays from Optelec.
  • Resolved an issue in both WordPad and Word where JAWS was not reading the prompt to save changes when pressing ALT+F4 to close the app and the current document had not yet been saved.
  • Addressed an issue where JAWS was not reading the results when searching from the Windows 8.1 Start screen.

Google Docs

  • Pressing the INSERT+F8 keystroke in Google Drive or Google Docs now displays a list of the controls on the toolbar. Use the UP or DOWN ARROWS to select the control you want to use and then press ENTER or choose OK to activate it. Choose the Move To button to move focus to the selected control on the page. Note that using this command in Internet Explorer may not display all available toolbar controls due to limitations with this browser.
  • You can now use the JAWS Text Analyzer feature to locate errors in Google documents such as unmatched parentheses, unintentional format changes, extra whitespace, and stray or unspaced punctuation. When focused in the document area in Google Docs, press ALT+WINDOWS+I or ALT+WINDOWS+SHIFT+I to move to the next or previous inconsistency in the document. To have JAWS announce inconsistencies as you navigate with the ARROW keys or Say All (INSERT+DOWN ARROW), press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by A.
  • Improved JAWS support for the Google Docs spell checker. When focused in the Spellcheck dialog box, pressing INSERT+F7 now speaks and spells the current suggestion, and also reads the spelling error in context.
  • Pressing INSERT+PAGE DOWN while focused in the Google Docs document now reads the activity status such as "online" or "offline."
  • If a Google document contains comments, you can now press CTRL+INSERT+M to read the comment at the cursor location. In addition, JAWS support for the Comment Stream Box (ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+A) which allows you to manage comments, has been improved. Note that JAWS support for comments works best with Firefox or Chrome.
  • The CTRL+DOWN ARROW and CTRL+UP ARROW keystrokes to move by paragraph now work in a Google Docs document.
  • Resolved issues with JAWS double speaking in tables when using table navigation commands.
  • JAWS no longer says "blank" when deleting a character.
  • If the JAWS Commands Search (INSERT+SPACEBAR, J) is launched while focus is in Google Docs, the Virtual Cursor is now enabled so you can navigate the search page and then disabled again when focus returns to Google Docs.
  • When focused in a document, resolved issues with JAWS double speaking when performing copy, cut, paste, and undo operations.

Microsoft Office

  • Improved JAWS automatic announcements of Office 365 notifications that are displayed when collaborating with other users. For example, you should now hear JAWS indicate when one or more users join or leave the document, or if the current line is locked for editing by another user. JAWS also alerts you to any conflicts that are created while co-authoring a document so you can press F6 to move focus to the dialog box where you can address the conflict.
  • You can now use the L and SHIFT+L Navigation Quick Keys in Word documents in Office 365 to move by lists in a document. Pressing CTRL+INSERT+L will also now display a list of all lists in the document. Note that an update to Office is required in order for list navigation to work. If these commands are not working for you yet, future updates from Microsoft will fully enable this functionality.
  • When the CTRL+INSERT+V keystroke is pressed in Office applications to obtain version information, JAWS now also reports if you are running a subscription of Office 365 or a retail version of Office 2016.
  • Added support for the Office Activity pane, which can be accessed using F6. The Activity pane may appear in certain situations, such as when you attempt to open the previous version of a file.
  • When navigating in the Office 365 Styles grid in the ribbons (ALT+H, L), JAWS now indicates the style currently in use.
  • Resolved issues with reading tables contained in slides in PowerPoint 2016.
  • Resolved an issue where the Virtual Cursor was not always enabled as expected after pressing F5 to start a PowerPoint presentation.
  • When navigating by line through the text of an object in PowerPoint, resolved an issue where JAWS would say "graphic" on every line of text.
  • Addressed an issue with JAWS not reporting links as expected when tabbing through a slide in PowerPoint.
  • Improved speech and braille support for the Thumbnails pane in PowerPoint 2016.
  • JAWS now reads group labels as you navigate the Options dialog box in Outlook 2016.
  • Continued improvements to JAWS performance in the Outlook 2016 calendar for how appointments are announced as you navigate through dates.
  • In Excel 2016, addressed a customer reported issue where JAWS was not automatically speaking auto-complete information while typing in cells.
  • Resolved a reported issue with the virtual ribbon not working in Spanish Office 2016.
  • Added a new Quick Settings option, Use UIA for Edit Controls, to specify whether or not JAWS relies on UI Automation (UIA) from Microsoft when reading and editing Word documents in Office 365. This option is enabled by default, and in most cases, should be left on as UIA provides the most complete information to JAWS. However, turning this setting off may improve JAWS performance when navigating very large documents. After toggling this setting, you must close and restart Word before this change will take effect.

Web Browsers

  • The "Select and copy full content using onscreen highlight" Quick Settings option now works in Chrome similar to Internet Explorer. This feature enables you to select and copy text from web pages and paste it into other applications while retaining the original formatting.
  • In response to a customer request, the JAWS Cursor can now be used in Chrome.
  • Resolved an issue where selected items in an ARIA grid were not being indicated in braille.
  • Resolved an issue where attempting to move by paragraph in a multi-line edit field in Chrome was not working as expected.

Windows 10

  • When typing in the Search edit field of the Settings app (WINDOWS Key+I), you can now use UP or DOWN ARROW to move through the list of search results.
  • JAWS no longer speaks extraneous information in the Settings app.
  • Addressed issues with reading messages in the Windows 10 Mail app.
  • When composing a new message in the Mail app, JAWS now reads suggested contacts as you type in the To field.
  • Resolved an issue in the Mail app where pressing the END key was not moving to the end of the current line as expected in wrapped lines.
  • JAWS no longer speaks extraneous information on the account sign-in screen in various Windows 10 apps such as Mail or Maps.
  • Addressed a customer reported issue where JAWS was not automatically speaking results in the Windows 10 Calculator.

The goal of the makeathon that will be held April 21-23 at the Brooklin Navy Yard’s New Lab is to develop affordable assistive technologies. More than 180 people in four to ten person teams will work with people who understand a specific disability. The teams will work to develop hardware and software prototypes that improve inclusiveness for people who have disabilities. This will fill needs where there has been no market or government interest. The designs will be made available to the public on line.

Read more about the makeathon on GAATES

People with speech disabilities could soon be speaking with their eyes. Building on a technology originally intended to help ESA astronauts, Ivo Vieira, used augmented reality to create the eye tracking technology used in EyeSpeak glasses, which helps people with speech disabilities communicate.

The EyeSpeak glasses detect eye movement across a virtual keyboard displayed on its lenses. The wearer can use the keyboard to write what will be spoken by a speaker worn on the arm. Moreover, the wearer can access content on the internet including email. All the information is overlaid on the lenses so the user can still see their environment.  

Read more about EyeSpeak on GAATES

Plastic sliding calipers that are known as Squirrel Devices provide better access to STEM material for students who are blind or have low vision. The tactile caliper enables students with vision disabilities to read measurements in Braille just like a student with sight would on a standard ruler. Jain and Singhal, who are PhD candidates in Course 2 (mechanical engineering) at MIT, co-founded Squirrel Devices to create better access to STEM courses for students with vision disabilities. The accessible calipers are their first device and help make geometrical shapes and lengths able to be measured by students who are blind.

Read more about the tactile calipers on GAATES.

""

The 32st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, known to people in the industry as the 2017 CSUN Conference, is being held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, CA from February 27 to March 3. CSUN, through the International Conference on Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities, provides an inclusive setting and hosts many groups including:

NVDA, a popular, award-winning and free screen reader for Microsoft Windows, released version 2.017.1 yesterday. The top new features and changes include:

  • Reporting of sections and text columns in Microsoft Word
  • Support for reading, navigating and annotating books in Kindle for PC
  • Improved support for Microsoft Edge

You can visit the NVDA website to download the screen reader and see a full list of what is new in version 2.017.1

From February 27 to March 4th the 32nd annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, California. On Tuesday, March 7th Dr. Kellie Lim, a physician at UCLA Health will be giving the Keynote speech and sharing her first-hand experience in accessing medical care, especially those with severe physical disabilities and limited resources.

The conference will feature several sessions throughout the week. On March 1st the doors to the Exhibit Hall will open and conference goers can browse through the many innovative products and services on display. 

The company that brought Video Relay Service (VRS) communication to people who are deaf, Sorenson Communications, has now introduced the first American Sign Language (ASL) Phone Tree called the Sorenson Bridge.

The Sorenson Bridge will strengthen the way people with hearing disabilities communicate when using a VRS. The Sorenson Bridge replaces the time-consuming process of navigating audio phone trees using sign language interpreters with video menus shown in ASL. The ASL video menus make it much faster and easier for people whose native language is ASL to select the option they want.

Read more on the Sorenson Bridge

In an effort to bridge the communication gap between American Sign Language (ASL) speakers and people with hearing, two undergraduates at the University of Washington developed gloves that translate sign into text or speech.

The SignAloud gloves, invented by Thomas Pryor and Navid Azodi, won the Lemelson-MIT competition. Sensors in the gloves record hand position and movement and send the data via Bluetooth to a central computer that analyzes the data through various sequential statistical regressions. When a match with a gesture is found the corresponding word or phrase is played through a speaker.

You can read more about the SignAloud Gloves on GAATES

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Assistive Technology