Ebu Access Cast 28

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Welcome back to EBU Access Cast - podcast about assistive technology for blind and partially sighted people. This is episode 28 transcript. We wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2021!

In this post-Christmas episode, we review some of the new personal gadgets.

Tanja presents us her new Microphone Yeti Nano from Blue which is an USB condenser microphone - perfect for recording podcasts and for live streaming.

Mario talks about his new open-ear wireless bone conduction headset Aftershokz aeropex.

For all musicians among our listeners that are tired of using cables on instruments, Mario tested out a digital wireless system for guitars and basses Boss wl-20.

Pawel was surely the most creative in the team and recommended us a music pillow that can be plugged in any sound equipment via a 3.5 mm Jack cable and listen while falling asleep. The model that he got is from Kanguru.

Pawel recommended us also a winter cap with built in BT headset from GeekerChip.

We were happy to announce that the bug in Zoom was fixed. _We mentioned the bug in episode 27. Screen reader users should not experience issues anymore while using the virtual background on Zoom. A big shout-out to Zoom that fixed this bug so quickly.

In the accessibility news section, we covered the 2021 edition of CES. This year was the first time CES was entirely virtual rather than in its usual location of Las Vegas. Tech brands were still able to show off the best new technology that will be soon available on the market. Our pick of devices that were introduced at CES 2021:

  • Turn-by-turn descriptive navigation Aware app by Sensible Innovations.
  • Mudra Band for the Apple Watch that remaps small finger movements into standard Apple Watch gestures for persons with physical or cognitive disabilities.

Inclusive design is the concept that drives many big brands like Microsoft or Google. We share the interview from Engadget with Microsoft’s chief accessibility officer Jenny Lay-Flurrie and Google’s product manager for Android Accessibility Brian Kemler.

Microsoft Seeing AI app is a clear example how AI can be used to make visual information accessible to visually impaired persons. In the version 4.0, the new World channel was introduced that explores the space around you and represents them in 3d sound. You can check more information on the latest updates in the Seeing AI changelog.

Microsoft Azure Text to Speech service offers neural voices that sound natural like humans. It can speak in 54 languages and you can test it out on the Microsoft Azure page. Developers can make use of this service to build apps and services that speak naturally. Neural voices are not yet available for screen readers, but we hope that Microsoft will make them available as TTS voices in one of the future Windows updates.

After the strong earthquake in Croatia, we investigated the accessibility of earthquake apps.

We found the most accessible and customisable My earthquake alerts. As mobile app for iOS and Android. It notifies the user about the latest earthquakes from all over the world via push notifications. It uses information from earthquake agencies such as EMSC.

We were disappointed to discover that Last Quake, the official app from EMSC, does not have a fully accessible mobile app for iOS and Android.

Screen reader users that use Facebook know that images that do not have alternative text are automatically described. We talk about the latest Facebook improvement on the automatic alternative text.

Mario and Pawel speak about the new TalkBack in Android 11 and the collaboration between Google and Samsung.

We mentioned the European Android 11 schedule update for Samsung.

The Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired (BIAVI) used the accessibility posters and turned them into mouse pads that they give to programmers, designers and staff working in the IT industry to remind them on basic accessibility recommendations.

Get in contact with us, share your comments or suggestions via email ebuaccesscast@euroblind.org or via Twitter @ebuaccesscast.

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