FCC Recognizes Four Awardees in its annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility

June 2018 - In a press release  on its website, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) listed the winners of its 2018 Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman's AAA). The Chairman's AAA is part of an FCC program that seeks to identify "innovative developments that improve the experience of people with disabilities in telecommunications and technology." Winners for 2018 were recognized at an awards ceremony on June 12, 2018, held in conjunction with the M-Enabling Summit in Arlington, Virginia.
The 2018 Chairman's AAA winners included a wide range of private and public sector initiatives. Projects were selected on criteria ranging from project uniqueness and innovation, affordability and availability, and the anticipated impacts of the technology on populations with and without disabilities. 
This year's winners are: 
• The Orbit Reader 20, a refreshable braille display that can reduce the amount of time required for note taking while being less expensive to produce than existing alternatives. It features a refreshable display of 20 braille cells with pins that can represent any 6 or 8 dot braille code. The Orbit Reader 20 was released this year for $449.  
• Captioning and Description Editing Tool (CADET): The National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM) developed CADET.The caption-authoring software has been used on WGBH, a public radio station located in Boston, Massachusetts and the National Center on Accessible Media as a low-cost solution for closed captioning and video descriptions. The free software is available for laptops and desktops to enable easier caption and audio descriptions of video content.
• The IBM AbilityLab Content Clarifier, is a software platform that uses “artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, machine learning models, and natural language processing to simplify, summarize, and augment digital content to increase comprehension for people with cognitive disabilities, the aging population, or those learning English as a second language." The software replaces complex words and informal speech patterns (e.g. colloquialisms, idioms), with easier to understand alternatives. It can also summarize content for quick reading later. According to the development team, the software could theoretically be implemented into any software on a variety of platforms. 
• SeeingAI: A freeMicrosoft app created to help users with visual impairments more easily navigate the world around them (http://www.wirelessrerc.org/microsofts-seeing-ai-app-helps-users-visual-impairments-identify-currency-handwriting-and-other). With 100,000 downloads to date, the app provides audio feedback to users in a variety of applications, such as currency recognition, clothing color, and now, handwriting recognition. The app is available in 35 countries and allows users to customize the speech rate and other features to improve accessibility.
Source: Federal Communications Commission website.
Date of Publication: 
Tuesday, June 26, 2018


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