Washington Post: World’s fastest blind athlete and his running partner try to stay in sync as they remain apart

Washington Post: World’s fastest blind athlete and his running partner try to stay in sync as they remain apart. “The relationship between David Brown and Jerome Avery is as unique as they come in the sports world. Avery has been by Brown’s side for all of his most successful moments. They have been literally tethered together as they have sprinted down the track, legs pumping and arms swinging in perfect rhythm. Brown, 27, is the fastest blind sprinter on the planet and the first to run 100 meters in under 11 seconds. Avery, 41, serves as his eyes on the track. As Brown’s running guide, Avery sprints right next to him in training and competitions, escorting him from the starting blocks to the finish line…. Over the past four years, the two have been preparing for the Tokyo Paralympics, but their training has been upended by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing guidelines recommend they remain at least six feet apart, which is difficult when the string that connects them on the track is less than a foot long.”

CNET: Google debuts a braille keyboard for vision-impaired Android users

CNET: Google debuts a braille keyboard for vision-impaired Android users . “Braille has been helping the blind and vision-impaired to read and communicate for more than 150 years. Now Google wants to help blind and vision-impaired Android users put braille to work on their smartphones.”

Daily Mail: Software developer creates a simplified website of coronavirus statistics to make them accessible for the blind or visually impaired

Daily Mail: Software developer creates a simplified website of coronavirus statistics to make them accessible for the blind or visually impaired. “Tyler Littlefield, a software developer based in Boston, has created a database of COVID-19 statistics meant to be accessible to the visually impaired. …the site organizes up-to-date COVID-19 data in simple charts specifically designed to be legible to a range of aid devices the visually impaired use to access websites.”

TNW: Google Chrome can now show devs how their sites look to users with visual impairments

TNW: Google Chrome can now show devs how their sites look to users with visual impairments. “Google’s popular Chrome browser has launched a new tool to help developers tune their websites for different visual deficiencies such as color blindness and blurred vision.”

Wired UK: Online Altruists Are Making Reddit More Accessible

Wired UK: Online Altruists Are Making Reddit More Accessible. “These volunteers are from a little subreddit called r/TranscribersOfReddit, who voluntarily type out extremely detailed descriptions of various content so that visually impaired people can access it. The band of noble souls have the goal of making Reddit, and the internet as a whole, a more accessible place. If you travel to one of r/TranscribersOfReddit’s 72 partner subreddits, like r/thatHappened or r/me_irl, there’s a chance you could stumble upon one of the group’s elaborate transcriptions.”

Neowin: Mozilla launches Firefox 73 with global zoom settings

Neowin: Mozilla launches Firefox 73 with global zoom settings. “Mozilla has launched Firefox 73. It’s not a particularly big update this time around, however, if you like to adjust the page zoom on websites you’ll appreciate the fact that this version allows you set a global default zoom level setting. It also improves High Contrast Mode handling on Windows.”

Mashable: Twitter knows GIFs dominate the platform. A new accessibility feature will allow more people to enjoy them.

Mashable: Twitter knows GIFs dominate the platform. A new accessibility feature will allow more people to enjoy them.. “If you’ve ever looked at Twitter while sports were happening, you’ve probably seen countless GIFs posted as reactions to big plays. Twitter made that slightly more accessible on Friday, adding the ability to add text descriptions to GIFs. It’s an extension of the same feature that has existed for still images for a while.”

Northern Illinois University: With the help of a federal grant, NIU is revolutionizing the way braille is taught

Northern Illinois University: With the help of a federal grant, NIU is revolutionizing the way braille is taught. “More than 5,000 teachers of students with visual impairments from across the country have completed an online course developed and hosted at NIU with support from a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The course, known as UEBOT-1 (Unified English Braille Online Training), was designed to train teachers already familiar with the braille code formerly used in the U.S. (English Braille American Edition) in the new braille code, Unified English Braille (UEB), which is now used in English-speaking countries throughout the world.”

Interesting Engineering: World’s First Tablet for the Blind Is Here

Interesting Engineering: World’s First Tablet for the Blind Is Here. “If you happen to be reading this and also blind, you might be using a Tactile Pro Braille Tablet by PCT. An Innovation Award Honoree at CES, this sleek tablet allows people with visual deficiencies to utilize technology in a way never before possible. In essence, the device is a keyboard and display for braille that interfaces through Bluetooth with smart devices.”

The Next Web: Visual accessibility will be a priority in 2020 — here’s how to adapt your site

The Next Web: Visual accessibility will be a priority in 2020 — here’s how to adapt your site. “It’s no surprise that visually impaired people are demanding better access. Populated with Instagram ‘stories’ and online stores that display 360-degree, high-definition product images and video, the web has become a visual public space. That puts many people at an unnecessary disadvantage.”

KMSP: St. Thomas students develop scanner to create digital archive of tactile images for the blind

KMSP: St. Thomas students develop scanner to create digital archive of tactile images for the blind. “Engineering students from the University of St. Thomas unveiled a scanner they developed to better preserve tactile images created for the blind. When the Minnesota State Services for the Blind transcribes school textbooks into braille, images in textbooks are turned into tactile diagrams, so that a vision impaired reader can feel the image.”

Microsoft: Microsoft Soundscape helps the blind and low vision explore the world in 3D sound with Bing Maps

Microsoft: Microsoft Soundscape helps the blind and low vision explore the world in 3D sound with Bing Maps. “Microsoft Soundscape is an application built by the Enable Group in Microsoft Research. It empowers anyone with a visual impairment to experience a mobile voice-based map that offers the independence to explore the world and the ability to choose how to get from place to another. With a stereo headset, a user can traverse their environment using a map delivered in 3D sound. You can hear where landmarks are around you to orient yourself, build a richer awareness of your surroundings, and have the confidence to discover what’s around the next corner.”

Carnegie Mellon University: New Technology Makes Internet Memes Accessible for People With Visual Impairments

Carnegie Mellon University: New Technology Makes Internet Memes Accessible for People With Visual Impairments. “People with visual impairments use social media like everyone else, often with the help of screen reader software. But that technology falls short when it encounters memes, which don’t include alternate text, or alt text, to describe what’s depicted in the image. To counter this, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a method to automatically identify memes and apply prewritten templates to add descriptive alt text, making them intelligible via existing assistive technologies.”