USB Foot Control for Any Software

One more (I can’t resist) step toward full body interfaces. Great idea for many reasons and situations and as an alternative to keyboards, mouse, joystick, etc.
MojoKid writes

“When it comes to controlling your favorite PC title, you’ve got a few options. There’s a mouse. There’s a keyboard. There’s a control pad and the joystick. Now, there’s one more option apparently. Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI) announced today the SoftStep KeyWorx multi-touch foot controller, the world’s first foot controlled digital interface. Available for Mac and Windows, this controller sits on the floor. The company claims that it has multiple uses for gamers, video editors, programmers, data entry professionals, disabled people, repetitive stress syndrome sufferers, etc. It’s both pressure and location sensitive, USB-powered, and contains ten fully customizable keys that remember up to 100 sets of commands for repetitive tasks.”

iPhone App Helps Blind Identify Money

Technology should provide ways to make our lives easier. I believe that if we can help level the playing field and reduce the amount of time people have to come up with workarounds, then we are moving in the right direction.

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Educational Technology Twitter Feed

I am creating several RSS, social network and Twitter feeds for Achieve Kids. I thought this was a particularly interesting result.

I funneled it through Yahoo Pipes, which I am finding to be particularly useful when merging several search parameters into one feed.

{“pipe_id”:”8kj1ac453hGX5d4C3rVd_w”,”_btype”:”list”}

Assistive Technology Assessment Article

I will be assessing the technology needs of some schools in the Bay Area in upcoming weeks and was doing some online research regarding Assistive Technology in schools and best practices for advising administrators on purchases, training and I.E.P. funding for technology.

This article does a great job of outlining what to keep in mind when first interviewing and observing classes, learners and teachers.

Assistive Technology Assessment: More Than the Device

By: Andrew R. Beigel (2000)

Assessing an individual for assistive technology (AT) use is an important part of the reauthorization of IDEA (1997) and an essential support in the path to greater independence and integration into society. Unfortunately, AT devices are frequently abandoned for many reasons. Sometimes AT selection is based on a mismatch between the individual’s desires and/or needs. Sometimes the individual outgrows the capabilities of the device. To foster optimal AT use, this article presents guidelines that educators can follow to put the individual user of AT at the center of the assessment process. Read the whole article…

Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility

508 accessibility is now starting to be taken quite seriously…and legally. The internet is very young in the big scheme of things, but I hope that it will not take a hundred years before it is equally usable and utilized by everyone. Our society is richer, wiser and more interesting now that we are embracing the input and participation of our traditionally under served and disenfranchised citizens.

Lets not make the same mistake for the web and its netizens.

LEGAL PRECEDENT SET FOR WEB ACCESSIBILITY
Federal Court Issues Landmark Decision Certifying Nationwide Class Action Against Target Corporation to Make its Web Site Accessible to the Blind

San Francisco, California (October 2, 2007): A federal district court judge issued two landmark decisions today in a nationwide class action against Target Corporation. First, the court certified the case as a class action on behalf of blind Internet users throughout the country under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Second, the court held that Web sites such as target.com are required by California law to be accessible.

The President of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. Marc Maurer, commented on the court’s ruling: “This is a tremendous step forward for blind people throughout the country who for too long have been denied equal access to the Internet economy. All e-commerce businesses should take note of this decision and immediately take steps to open their doors to the blind.”

Larry Paradis of Disability Rights Advocates, one of the lead counsel for the class, commented on the court’s decision: “Target Corporation has led a battle against blind consumers in a key area of modern life: the Internet economy. The court’s decision today makes clear that people with disabilities no longer can be treated as second-class citizens in any sphere of mainstream life. This ruling will benefit hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities.”

The ruling was issued in a case brought by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). The suit charges that Target failed and refused to make its Web site (www.target.com) accessible to the blind and, therefore, violated the ADA as well as two California civil rights statutes: the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act.

The court granted the plaintiffs’ motion to certify a nationwide class under the ADA for injunctive relief. The court also granted the plaintiffs’ motion to certify a California subclass for both injunctive relief and statutory minimum damages. The court denied Target’s motion for summary judgment.

The court certified, as counsel for the class, the following law firms: Disability Rights Advocates (www.dralegal.org), a Berkeley-based nonprofit law firm that specializes in high-impact cases on behalf of people with disabilities; Brown, Goldstein & Levy (www.browngold.com), a leading civil rights law firm in Baltimore, Maryland; Schneider & Wallace (www.schneiderwallace.com), a national plaintiffs’ class action and civil rights law firm based in San Francisco, California; and Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute and university professor at Syracuse University (www.bbi.syr.edu).

Dan Goldstein of Brown, Goldstein & Levy noted that: “The blind of America seek only the same rights and opportunities as others take for granted. This case should be a wake-up call to all businesses that their services must be accessible to all.”

Josh Konecky of Schneider & Wallace also noted: “This has been a hard-fought case addressing fundamental issues of access and equality. The judge’s decision today is a great step forward.”

Original Article at http://www.dralegal.org/cases/private_business/nfb_v_target.php