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EBU Access Cast

Jul 23, 2019

Welcome to the 13th episode of the EBU Access Cast, this time hosted by Paweł who is joined by Tanja, Mario and Bart to discuss all that happened in July in assistive technologies.

Paweł got himself a new iPod Touch 7th gen and is yet again ready to explore the accessibility of the Apple ecosystem and iOS apps alongside his usual Android phone. Meanwhile Tanja had the chance to speak in front of a large publicity of web developers conference Voxxed Days which took place in Luxembourg. Her presentation was well-received and even met with some social media attention as many of the attendees tweeted about it.
Check it out for yourself and watch it here.

BeMyEyes has opened up its specialized help network to users all around the world. Google and Careline are the first two companies to be made available globally, however they are reachable only in English and during the US working hours.

Google is back with plenty of news on their side as they release Chrome 75 to the public, boasting their long-awaited, AI-based image description feature. From the preliminary tests it seems to be working quite well, apart from that, users started noticing that it is now possible to turn accessibility services on their Android devices on and off using Google Assistant.

Germany is launching a state-wide app allowing to request help in case of emergency through text messaging beginning 2020. The app will also share the location so that the operators know where to dispatch the necessary help. The app may be an answer to the upcoming European Accessibility Act, giving those with speech impairments access to the emergency helplines.
Read more about it in the original article (in German) here.
Listeners are also encouraged to share examples of how accessibility improves in their countries. We will be glad to include them in our next episodes.

Gatwick Airport has received an award for the most accessible airport. The features highlighted were the availability of assistance material in braille, special buttons allowing to call for assistance and their involvement in training their staff and stakeholders in assisting passengers with disabilities. Bologne was another airport highlighted for their outstanding care about accessibility needs. This mention gave the team the opportunity to share their experiences regarding assistance at different airports in Europe.

Apple has applied for a patent within which a solution should be developed allowing the blind to spatially explore maps and learn about their surroundings in this way. The user should be able to experience the road ahead from A to B by just moving the finger across the screen. Apple plans also to introduce accessibility into the 3D representation of the area.

A new version of NVDA, 2019.2 is approaching with a handful of long-awaited features. For one, braille users should be happy to see the Freedom Scientific displays being automatically detected and certain advanced settings of individual displays can be handled from within the settings interface. Another welcome change is the ability to give the Microsoft voices a rate boost and the ability to assign individual keyboard shortcuts to different settings’ profiles.

From 1st July 2019, newly produced electric and hybrid cars are required to include an AVAS system which will alert passersby about the car’s presence. This change is a result of a long-standing EBU Silent Cars campaign which was already mentioned in the previous episodes of the podcast. Tanja interviewed Jessica Schroeder of the DBSV asking about the implications and limitations of this regulation. We also present samples of how AVAS systems might sound like in a Jaguar and Nissan car.

The show is concluded by the demo of the Voice OCR app done by Tanja. The app has recently received a significant update and is now delivering promising results
. You can read about the recent changes here.

As always, we encourage you to contact us, either on our Twitter or our email and look forward to connecting with you again in the September episode, as August is the holiday season for the team.