Aging in Place and CES

Senior using ATAddendum: Laurie has posted a follow-up with nine more devices on January 20th…

The CES – Consumer Electronics Show – the annual technology event that features all the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets took place this year as a virtual conference. Billed as “the most influential tech event in the world — the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators…” CES generally makes lots of news as new, and emerging technologies begin to hit the consumer electronics market. As we have mentioned many time during our Maine CITE webinars, increasingly, consumer electronics are being used as assistive technology and/or include accessibility features “burned in” that support people with disabilities allowing all users to have an equivalent experience.

Aging in Place Technology Watch, a great blog site and newsletter dedicated to technology related to allowing seniors to live at home safely and healthfully, is published by Laurie M. Orlov, a tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate. This week Laurie has a review of the CES as it relates to this population. Below we have included some of the highlights, but make sure you read the whole edition.

AbsoluteAudio’s PYOUR Audio Hearing 2.0. This comprehensive software suite is built up from a range of proprietary algorithms, destined at restoring speech understanding and best music experience for people suffering from hearing damage or hearing loss. It consists of AAL’s unique and unbeaten Advanced Noise Suppression, directionality algorithms, Instantaneous Wide Band Compression and Acoustic Feedback Cancellation. It is the only solution in the market that can support building hearing aids from premium consumer audio components, by pairing high quality hearing performance with extremely low power consumption and low memory usage. Learn more at Absolute Audio.

Aladin Smart Lamp. A smart lamp that hangs on the wall and anticipates and prevents falls of residents in assisted living and nursing facilities, Aladin uses artificial intelligence (not sensors) to detect changes in motion, temperature, and more. Its automatic lighting, built-in fall detector, and integrated monitoring system not only reduces falls but can decrease the stress on caregivers, allowing high-risk individuals to be independent again. Learn more at Domalys.

CarePredict TouchPoint. This product is a remote activity monitoring app for seniors. It provides caregivers with continuous insight and increased visibility into their loved one’s well-being. TouchPoint is the companion of another CarePredict product called Tempo, which is a wearable device, similar to a watch or wristband, designed to track subtle changes in a senior’s daily activities and behavior. Learn more at CarePredict.

FallCall Detect.  “FallCall Detect’s breakthrough technology distinguishes between falls with greater force that are more likely to cause injury and falls that occur from a sitting position. If a high-impact all is detected, FallCall’s US-based medical monitoring service is automatically contacted* and will send emergency services if needed. If a low-impact fall is detected, only a user’s pre-designated support community is contacted. For Apple Watch.”  Learn more at FallCall – PDF.

WellBe Medical Alert.  “HandsFree Health, rovider of WellBe®, a secure, HIPAA compliant, voice-enabled virtual health assistant platform, is offering the first fully integrated home health system for seniors to help them age-in-place. WellBe Medical Alert PLUS is an AI-powered system that includes both a voice assistant as well as a sleek smartwatch, connecting users with emergency services with their voice at home or via a watch button when on-the-go.” Learn more at HandsFreeHealth. 

 

U.S. Access Board Webinar: Vertical Access

US Access Board logoFrom the U.S. Access Board

February 4, 2021
2:30 – 4:00 pm (ET) 

The next webinar in the U.S. Access Board’s free monthly series will take place February 4 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will explain where vertical access is required (or exempted) in the ADA and the ABA Accessibility Standards and how it can be achieved. Presenters will review requirements in the standards for ramps, curb ramps, elevators, and platform lifts, as well as clarify common sources of confusion when providing vertical access.

Visit accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register.

All webinars include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

 

Where can I get an inexpensive computer?

fingers on computer keyboardThis has been perhaps the most popular question received at Maine CITE over the past 10 months. A byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic has been high demand for information technology (IT) particularly free and low-cost options. From students learning from home, to patients visiting their doctors via Zoom, to isolated seniors looking to connect with friends and family, the need for computers and IT has become phenomenal.

While for many, personal technology at home is commonplace, for many others, including seniors on fixed incomes and people with disabilities, the costs are prohibitive. Fortunately, there are several options for getting Maine people low-cost, recycling technology.

As part of our Maine CITE Equipment Reuse resource webpage, we have listed numerous programs and organizations that may be able to help Maine citizens get inexpensive, used assistive technology (AT). Here is a summary of programs that specialize in the recycling of computers and information technology equipment:

Give IT Get IT

Probably the best resource in Maine is Give IT Get IT a nonprofit organization that helps eligible individuals and nonprofit organizations get access to fast, high-quality computers – and outstanding user support – at the lowest cost possible.

The Waterville-based nonprofit formed last year out of a merger between PCs for Maine and eWaste Alternatives and has increasing its capacity to recycle retired technology devices from Maine businesses, refurbish them, and distribute them to “technologically isolated” Mainers.

Give IT Get IT can provide information technology equipment to eligible individuals or non-profit organizations including schools and libraries at costs well below market-value. Eligibility to purchase equipment is based upon family size and household income – see/download this link for details – PDF

Give IT Get IT does have a Sponsorship program which will provide computers to needy individuals for free, but the waiting list for these is quite long.

Qualified persons with disabilities may be able to get funding for this equipment through a MaineCARE assistive technology waiver, through vocational rehabilitation, or other insurance. Please check with your funder before contacting Give IT Get IT.

Both laptop and desktop computers are available and come with MS Windows 10 installed (Note: Laptops are more expensive than desktops). Prices start at $95.00 for a basic desktop and range up to $330 for an advance laptop.

All the computers recycled by Give IT Get IT are commercial grade and three years old or newer. There are three pricing levels based upon the device specifications. All devices also come with preinstalled basic software; the advanced devices come with more memory, processor speed, to accommodate advanced software needs. Some of the latest equipment come with web cameras and are ready for video conferencing or on-line learning.

In addition to computers, Give IT Get IT also sells refurbished, low-cost monitors, surge protectors, ethernet cable, headsets, and laptop docking stations. Devices may be shipped to your location for a fee: $38 for desktops, $22 for laptops. Devices may also be picked up for free from their Waterville location.

All devices come with a six-month warranty by Give IT Get IT and all devices can be returned within 15 days for a complete refund.

Free phone support and online training is also available. Call (207) 338-4233 if you have any questions.

Give IT Get IT
60 Industrial St.
Waterville, ME

Phone: (207) 338-4233

Website: giveitgetit.org/

Email: info@giveitgetit.org

PCs for People

Founded in 1998, PCs for People is a national leader in digital inclusion. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, every project, program, and initiative at PCs for People is centered on getting low-cost computers and affordable broadband internet into the homes of low-income individuals.

PCs for People provides services to both individuals and businesses looking to acquire or dispose of technology. Any family or individual receiving government benefits or living below 200% of the federal poverty line is eligible for services (please see website for specific eligibility criteria and documentation requirements). In addition to the services offered directly to families, PCs for People offer free recycling and data sanitization services to corporations. PCs for People’s corporate recycling services are extremely simple, cost efficient, helps those in need, and is a better alternative to traditional recycling.

PC for People operates from seven locations in six states (unfortunately, none in Maine) but all their devices, including desktop computers, laptop computers, and internet “hotspots” may be purchased online and delivered with free shipping. All computers are MS Windows 10, come with a 90-day warranty and may be returned or exchanged within 30 days (note: restocking fee may be charged for returns).

PCs for People
1481 Marshall Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Phone: (654)354-2552

Website: pcsforpeople.org/

Email: info@pcsforpeople.org

Other Resources

In addition to these two programs, there are numerous businesses and organizations that provide similar recycling programs around the country. The following is a partial list of similar programs that resell refurbished information technology equipment:

 

 

Morphic-Making access to computers easier

Information TechnologyThe Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the Southwest and Great Plains ADA Center is pleased to announce the upcoming Special Session in our Accessible Technology Series that will feature emerging technology that will enable persons to access their assistive technology for computer access from anywhere they are at as well as provide tools to “simplify” computer access for persons with cognitive disabilities and older persons who are new to technology.

Gregg Vanderheiden from the Trace Center at the University of Maryland is the featured speaker and developer of this product along with his team. The is a repeat of a session we held in early December and are offering a 2nd time due to its popularity.

Morphic-Making access to computers easier

Date: Friday, January 15, 2021

Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm ET 

Speaker: Gregg Vanderheiden, Director, Trace Center, University of Maryland

Description:

This webinar will introduce a new tool for making computers easier to use for those who use assistive technologies – and those who just find computers too confusing (elders, people with cognitive disabilities, people new to desktop computing, etc.).   Morphic is a unique new open-source developed tool that can be used in different ways for people with different needs.  It makes it easier for people to discover and quickly access and use the features that are built into computers and many accessibility and usability features are built-into computers but are unknown or too hard to find or use. Morphic makes them available with one click – and nothing to remember.

Registration: Free  

Please use this link to register for this event

(you will be required to establish a free account on our website if you don’t already have one)

This session will be closed captioned.  Additional accommodations should be submitted to webinars@adaconferences.org by January 8, 2021.

Questions regarding this session should be directed to webinars@adaconferences.org or by calling 877-232-1990 (V/TTY)

 

Rules Proposed to Improve Access to Vehicles for People with Disabilities

automobile with hand controlsThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released for public comment a proposed rule to improve access to motor vehicles, including rental cars, for people with disabilities. The rule proposes changes to NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard to facilitate the use of adaptive equipment in rental cars and to simplify vehicle transport of wheelchairs and scooters.

Federal law generally prohibits making a vehicle’s safety features inoperable. One proposed change would permit rental car companies to temporarily disable a driver’s air bag to install hand controls. In an accident, the deployment of the knee bolster air bag can result in the hand controls hitting and injuring the driver. A second proposed change would allow installation of rear-mounted transporters for wheelchairs and scooters. These transporters may obstruct the view of a vehicle’s backup camera.

Public comments are due January 27, 2021. For further information, visit DOT’s website or contact Gunyoung Lee of NHTSA Office of Crash Avoidance Standards at (202) 366-6005, Daniel Koblenz of NHTSA Office of Chief Counsel at (202) 366-5329, or David Jasinski at (202) 366-5552.

 

January 2021 Webinars

Maine CITE is offering the following webinar in January 2021:

Webinar: Assistive Technology for Your Life – Tools for Independence

Date: January 26, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM ET

Man wearing dark glasses holds cane and smatphoneTechnology is a part of daily life for most of us, making our lives easier, safer, and more enjoyable. For people with disabilities, Assistive Technology (AT) can be especially empowering and create opportunities for greater independence and access. Join us for a webinar on how people with disabilities and their providers can identify, obtain, and use assistive technology to support a wide range of needs.

Presenters: Ketra Crosson, Henry Powell, Victoria Schalk

Use this link for more information and to register for the webinar: Assistive Technology for Your Daily Life- Tools for Independence


The following list of January 2021 webinars on the topic of assistive technology and accessibility is generated by the Accessible Technology Consortia funded by the Center for Accessible Technology. Thank you.

Implantable Brain-Computer Interfaces in Late-Stage ALS: Real-World Implications from G3ict
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern

Using Screen Readers and Testing Tools to Evaluate the Accessibility of a User Journey from the Paciello Group
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern

Morphic – Making Computers Easier to Use from Great Lakes ADA
Friday, January 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm Eastern

Making Social Media Accessible for People with Disabilities from CIDI
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 2:00 pm Eastern

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fairness for Persons with Disabilities in Workplace Technologies from Southeast ADA & PEAT
Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 2:00 pm Eastern (90 min.)

Review of the Revised 508 Standards (Part 1): Requirements for Federal Websites and Electronic Content from Great Lakes ADA
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Creating Accessible Content in 2021 from AEM
Thursday, January 7th at 4:00 pm Eastern

Implementation: Adoption vs. Abandonment from AbleNet
Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern

 

 

US Access Board Announces Schedule for Public Forum on Autonomous Vehicles

From the U.S. Access Board...

autonomous transporterDecember 17, 2020 – In partnership with other federal agencies, the U.S. Access Board will host a series of virtual meetings in March and April on making autonomous vehicles (AVs) accessible to all passengers, including those with disabilities. The sessions will be free and open to the public via a virtual platform (Zoom). Attendees will be able to pose questions and share comments, suggestions, and information.

The four-part series will feature presentations by agency representatives and invited speakers who will discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing AVs that are inclusive of everyone. Presenters will also review findings and recommendations, identify areas for further study, and recommend next steps. An open dialogue with attendees will follow. In addition, an online crowdsourcing platform (ePolicyWorks) will provide a forum for continued discussion after each live session.

Further details will be provided and posted on the Board’s AV webpage in the coming weeks. Direct questions to Randall Duchesneau III at duchesneau@access-board.gov or (202) 272-0044.

Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles: A Public Forum

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Entering and Exiting Vehicles
March 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Maneuvering and Securement in Vehicles
March 24, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Communication Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory or Cognitive Disabilities
April 7, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Findings, Recommendations, Future Research, and Suggested Next Steps
April 21, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by Pixabay

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar: Review of the Revised 508 Standards

From the U.S. Access Board

Part 1: Requirements for Federal Websites and Electronic Content

US Access Board logoThe next webinar in the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series will take place January 26, 2021 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will cover requirements in standards that apply to a federal agency’s public-facing content, including websites, publications, and social media sites. It will also address requirements for other types of electronic content, such as policy announcements, notices of benefits, templates or forms, educational or training materials, and intranets. Presenters from the U.S. Access Board will discuss relevant application, scoping, and technical provisions, as well as definitions and functional performance criteria.

The following webinar (Part 2) on March 30, 2021 will cover requirements in the Section 508 Standards for hardware and software.

For more details or to register, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can receive a participation certificate.

Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the session. Instructions for accessing the webinar on the day of the session will be sent via email to registered individuals in advance of the session. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and Video Sign Language Interpreters are available for each session and will be broadcast via the webinar platform. A telephone option (not toll-free) for receiving audio is also available.

The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series provides helpful information and best practices for federal agencies in meeting their obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which ensures access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This webinar series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the U.S. Access Board.

 

U.S. Access Board Webinar: Interior and Exterior Accessible Routes

US Access Board logoThe next webinar in the U.S. Access Board’s free monthly series will take place January 7 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will provide an in-depth review of ADA and ABA requirements for interior accessible routes and issues, such as overlapping clear space requirements and door maneuvering clearances. The session will also address exterior routes, such as site arrival points, connections to transit stops and public streets and sidewalks, and unique accessible route exceptions permitted at recreation facilities. Presenters will highlight some of the more frequently asked questions and common source of confusion for accessible routes.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register.

All webinars include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board.

Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site. 

 

Blind and low vision individuals needed for research study

UNAR Labs,Person reading Braille an early stage Maine-based startup with a mission to empower people with vision impairment via multisensory information access using touchscreen-based smartphones and tablets. UNAR Labs researchers are seeking individuals for paid participation in a study to understand and identify the best tactile guidelines, conversion/translation parameters, and embossing strategies used in traditional tactile graphics generation processes. The researchers believe that insights from experts in the field will guide them in designing a meaningful prototype software system for enabling blind and visually-impaired users with access to digital graphical materials.

The commitment is an interview (zoom or phone) with field experts involved in the process of generating braille and tactile graphics. The interviewee may be tactile artists, braille transcribers, braille proofreaders, tactile graphic prepress support staff, and braille/tactile graphics transcribers. Researchers are also interested in shadowing staff at work to better understand workflow, recognize steps used in information down-sampling and the overall conversion/production process; this, of course, will need to take into consideration health and safety during this time of the spread of the coronavirus.

Each interview will take approximately 30-60 minutes. Qualified participants will be compensated $20/hour (Amazon gift card) for their participation (prorated at $5 per 15 minutes). Researchers would like to conduct interviews in the next 2-3 weeks so please don’t delay your response.

To participate, please send an email to Hari Palani at hari.palani@unarlabs.com

Learn more about UNAR Labs…