Netflix, Microsoft and Google. These are
just some of the topics covered in the news this week. Check out our Top Five
Netflix reached a wide-ranging three-year
deal with advocacy groups for the blind, under which it has pledged to add
audio-description tracks for many titles in its streaming and DVD libraries.
Also under the agreement, Netflix has agreed to make its website and mobile
apps accessible to visually impaired people who use screen-reading software.
Last year, Netflix voluntarily launched an initiative to add audio descriptions
to select titles, starting with “Marvel’s Daredevil.” The new agreement
obligates Netflix to request audio-description assets from studios and other
third-party suppliers for new licensing contracts, and “make reasonable
efforts” to obtain those for existing content. For originals such as “House of
Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” Netflix agreed to provide audio
description within 30 days of the launch date of the title and “will strive” to
do so when a show premieres.
Read the full story here:
For the past few years, Microsoft has been steadily releasing goofy little apps
that use neural networks to perform tricks ranging from guessing your age and
rating your mustache to describing photographs (often comically) and even
telling you what kind of dog you look like. But why? Entertaining though these
apps are, they all seemed a little random—until a couple of weeks ago at Build
2016, when Microsoft revealed that these experiments are more than just a sum
of their parts. In fact, they represent stepping stones on the road leading to
Seeing AI, an augmented-reality project for the visually impaired that aims to
give the blind the next best thing to sight: information.
Read the full story here:
3. Blind woman files complaint after she says
cab drivers reject her and guide dog
A woman who only has about five per cent
vision has filed a complaint with a Toronto taxi company and the city after she
alleges she was rejected by a cab driver. A few weeks ago, Renee Savoie was in
a hurry to get somewhere so she asked a passerby for help flagging a taxi for
her and her guide dog, Freedom. "I approached the taxi and reached for the
door and at the same time he decided to spin off," Savoie said. "He
just figured I wouldn't see the car." She could make out that it was a
Co-op taxi, and asked a bystander to mark the plate. Savoie said similar things
have happened to her before, despite a city bylaw that requires taxi drivers to
accept a customer who has a guide dog or other service animal.
Read the full story here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/blind-woman-refused-cab-1.3534731
Jim Crismore has dedicated his life to helping children connect with music, but
nothing in his 30-year-career has meant more than what he saw happen between
7-year-old Elias Valentine-Wilson, who was born blind and deaf, and a cello. In
a heartwarming video captured by WTHR in Indiana, Crismore put a cello in the
young boy's hands and taught him how to produce sound. Elias pressed his face
against the instrument in order to experience its resonance for the first time.
Read the full story here: http://www.people.com/article/blind-deaf-boy-experiences-music-first-time-cello-video
The World Health
Organization estimates 1 billion people across the world live with
disabilities, and Google's philanthropy division, Google.org, just pledged $20
million to help improve their situations. The money is spread across 29
programs working on disability technologies -- the average amount they'll each
receive is $750,000, with six of the grant winners getting more than $1
million, Wired reports. The programs fall into five categories of disabilities
-- hearing, mobility, cognitive, vision and communication -- and the winning
programs tackle a variety of issues.
Read the full story here: http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/12/google-org-20-million-disability-technologies/