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EBU Access Cast

Mar 15, 2021

Welcome back to the 29th episode of the Ebu Access Cast, one away from thirty.

In this episode, hosted by Pawel and co-hosted by Tanja, Mario and Hlynur, we find the time to look into the future indeed, but for most of the time we stay focused on what matters for now, of course.

In absence of new gadgets from either of the Podcast crew, Mario shares with us the Story of how the name Bluetooth came to signify the popular data transmission protocol and it turns out to be a valuable lesson of common history and geography as well as an insight into how technological inventions receive their often unusual names.

Did we already mention that this episode is out of this world? This is not us bragging about it, rather we had a chance to discuss the landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars which, apart from the next foray onto the red planet, brought us the first ever recordings from out of Earth, some of which we are happy to present to you in the podcast directly. In this section we also find out how far it is really from Iceland to Mars and that the European Space Agency is actually thinking of recruiting disabled astronauts in the framework of their Parastronaut Feasibility Project.

For those who are hungry for more space adventure, here are some more sounds of Mars.

While space agencies of the world are busy exploring other planets, the new Talkback has moved outside of the Galaxy and is now available on many more phones than just the latest Samsungs. Those of us running Android share the first and not so first experiences and mourn the slow demise of some old TTS voices that cease to work on many devices due to the lack of support for the 64-bit infrastructure. What we did not mention in the show as it happened shortly after its recording is the update of the Samsung version of Talkback which brings back the integrated Braille keyboard so there is no need to put extra work to enjoy this functionality on these phones.

Fortunately, the fate of the voices we mentioned earlier has been narrowly missed by the Icelandic-speaking community who will soon be able to enjoy new voices and other tools for the Icelandic language. As this has been a long-term project that is finally showing some results and everything has been built from scratch, we speak of a large-scale achievement that has the potential to improve the quality of life for an entire nation. Well done Iceland!

We also discuss the new Humanware Brailliant line of Braille Displays. Is a device that lies in between a traditional braille display and a feature-packed Braille notetaker sporting an entire operating system something that will interest the assistive technology market? We will probably see about that in due course.

Meanwhile, we will learn how to be Handsome, thanks to a French fintech that claims to be the first bank dedicated to disabled customers. Their connected payment card which allows a blind user to track the entire payment process through their smartphone sounds sweet indeed but is it the final solution to the inaccessibility of payment terminals?

Finally, as the world is beginning to enjoy access to the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine, we wonder whether blind people can partake in this access and apply for their shot independently. We share our impressions regarding the accessibility of vaccination application procedures  and, in some cases, application for a COVID-19 test.

Remember that, should you be lost about how to fill in accessibility bug reports regarding public sector websites, there are resources available that will help you out such as this report template from Big Hack.

Provided we will still be on this planet in six weeks’ time, we will catch up with you in the 30th episode of the show. Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy this one. Should you have any questions, remarks or content you would like to contribute, you can reach us by email at or twitter!

As always, you can also explore the transcript of this episode.


All the best from our entire team!