Adaptive Technology
Resource Page

 

Fact Sheets About Assistive Technology

There are many forms of gaining information that is on the screen whether it be Braille through hardcopy printout through a Braille printer; electronic Braille display which can be read either in Computer Braille (one to one representation of individual letters spelled out or uncontracted Braille), or Grade 2 Braille which is contracted Braille which will be gibberish on the screen for not only the sighted person but also to a blind person who doesn't have a Braille display to check what is written on the screen; speech output either hardware speech connected to a computer by serial cable or special card inside computer or software speech heard through sound card; optical character recognition which automatically determines whether a page on the scanner is right side up or upside down, large print access either through closed circuit TV with camera and moving tray or large print software that magnifies the screen.

To read about speech systems and screen readers, select this link.

Select this link to read about Braille technology. for those who are totally blind.

To read about optical character recognition select this link.

To read about video magnifiers for people with low vision select this link.

Select this link to read about magnification program for the computer screen for people with low vision.

 

Additional links on Technology Resources and Articles

To learn about technology resources from National Federation of the Blind select this link.

To access a resource list of speech and Braille technology managed by National Federation of the Blind, select this link.

Choosing a Refreshable Braille Display By Susan Stageberg--Documentation Specialist at Iowa Department for the Blind, Project ASSIST with Windows.

Choosing Your Braille Embosser by Anne Taylor, National Federation of the Blind, The Braille Monitor, October, 2001.

How to Select a Suitable Adaptive Technology Training Program by Robert Leblond, The Braille Monitor, May, 2002.

Laptop Computers and Electronic Notetakers for the Blind: A Comparison by Curtis Chong, The Braille Monitor April, 2003.

Tactile Images and You: A Comparison of Thermal Expansion Machines by Robert S. Jaquiss, The Braille Monitor, May 2003

The SAL (Speech Assisted Learning): A Review, by Robert Jaquiss, The Braille Monitor, July 2003.

A Review of the Tiger Embossers by Robert Jaquiss Braille Monitor February 2004

A Few Notes on Buying a Computer by Curtis Chong

Effective Technology by Jim Halliday Braille Monitor March 2004

An Overview of Accessible Technology: Where Are We Now, and What Does the Future Hold? by Danika Taylor Braille Monitor January, 2005

For the Blind, a Welcoming Web by Sarah Lacey Braille Monitor, January, 2005

Access Technology and Disabilities in the Twenty-First Century by Ray Kurzweil Braille Monitor, June 2004

The First Jernigan Institute Technology Training Conference by Betsy Zaborowski Braille Monitor, June 2004

The Heart of the Technology-Training Conference by Anne Taylor, Braille Monitor, June, 2004

The Topography of Technology, Blindness, and the Luddite by Marc Maurer Braille Monitor, June, 2004

Striving for Excellence: The Role of Technology and More by Joanne Wilson Braille Monitor, June, 2004

Brave New World: Technology for the Blind in the 21st Century by Raymond Kurzweil

Comparing The Open Book and the Kurzweil 1000 by David Andrews Braille Monitor, February, 2001

THE OTHER HALF OF THE EQUATION PC-BASED READING SYSTEMS: A COMPARATIVE REVIEW by David Andrews, Braille Monitor, January, 1995

Shopping for Braille Notetakers? Take Note by Brad Hodges, Braille Monitor, May 2001

Graphical Verification: Another Accessibility Challenge by Curtis Chong, Braille Monitor, November, 2003

Appropriate Use of the Electronic Notetaker in School by Curtis Chong, Braille Monitor, January 2004

Clarification of Tiger Braille Embosser Review, Braille Monitor, April, 2004

Your Panels Leave Me Flat by Terri Uttermohlen and Jim McCarthy, Braille Monitor, October, 2004

Talking Turkey about Household Appliances and Consumer Electronics: Crisis for the Blind at the Big Box Store by Brad Hodges, Braille Monitor, December 2004

Crisis at the Big Box Store, Part 2 by Brad Hodges, Braille Monitor, February, 2005

Consumer Electronics: Crisis at the Big Box Store, Part 3 by Brad Hodges, Braille Monitor, June, 2005

Accessibility to Microsoft Products by Curtis Chong, Braille Monitor, December 2004

Clarification from Curtis Chong's Email Basket by Curtis Chong, Braille Monitor, March, 2005

Why I Bought a PAC Mate by Susan Povinelli, Braille Monitor, March, 2005

BrailleNote or PAC Mate: A Matter of Personal Preference by Danika Rockett, Braille Monitor, July, 2005

Braille Sense: A Comparative Evaluation from Voice of the Nation's Blind, November 2005

Net Surfing for Those Unable to See: Often Web Sites' Designs Hinder Navigation by the Blind by Abigail Tucker, Braille Monitor, June, 2005

Computer Aids for the Blind by Stacey Hirsh, Braille Monitor, January 2003

Accessible Web Applications and the Implications of Technology in the Years Ahead by David Greco, Braille Monitor, October, 2002

GPS Technology for the Blind, A Product Evaluation by the NFB’s Access Technology Staff Braille Monitor, February, 2006

Google Struggles with Accessibility as Services Expand by Christopher Danielsen, Voice of the Nations Blind February 17, 2006

Mozilla Firefox Is Accessible! by Christopher Danielsen, Voice of the Nations Blind February 17, 2006

The Ins and Outs of Audible.com by Christopher Danielsen, Voice of the Nations Blind February 17, 2006

The Kurzweil--National Federation of the Blind Reader The Revolution Is Here! by James Gashel, Braille Monitor, July, 2006
The Milestone 311: The Epitome of Accessibility by Michael D. Barber, Braille Monitor, June, 2006

Accessible Cell Phone Technology by the International Braille and Technology Center Staff, June, 2006

Deaf-Blind Communication Devices by Anne Taylor, Steven Booth, and Michael Tindell Braille monitor, October, 2006

An Examination of Four Stand-alone Reading Machines by Steven Booth, Mike Tindell, and Anne Taylor of Braille monitor, December, 2006
 

Accessible Workplaces This is a very important document to read if a business or company decides to hire a blind person on its staff in competitive employment. You will find helpful information there. Buying a Computer. Screen Reader Tips. Tips for Computer Users with Low Vision

AFB Product Evaluations. On this page, several articles that were evaluated were published in a bimonthly magazine called AccessWorld. This is where you will find reviews of braille displays, cellular phones that is accessible, notetakers, PDAs, low vision CCTV's, reading machines between Open Book and Kurzweil, various portable MP3 players accessible to the blind, GPS (global positioning systems), blood pressure monitors for diabetics, screen readers, color identifiers for identifying color of clothing, DAISY players accessible to the blind, accessible voting machines, braille printers, bar code reader, video magnifiers, music production software, a couple of reviews of America Online, etc. The magazine of AccessWorld is free to view online.

Podcasting web sites

Podcasting--Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia explains what podcasting is and the history behind it.

Blind people on the Internet are getting into the action just like a sighted person would. The way we as blind people get into is by creating an audio blog or audio files with our own recording equipment. Some are using their cellular phones to create an audio blog, others are simply creating an audio files in .mp3 format and uploading it to a server with lots of space to store it on, and others are writing their blogs on the web site. Below are some blind people's podcast or blog that we have discovered recently.

Blind Cool Tech hosted by Larry Skutchan who works for American Printing House for the Blind. Larry Skutchan demonstrates all kinds of cool technologies that can be used either in an educational setting at a school for the blind or in a rehabilitation program that teaches blindness skills to blind adults who are learning to deal with blindness.

Marlaina Lieberg is another who started her own audio blog. She also host a number of shows on ACB Radio.org. One show is the Marlaina show hosted on Sunday night at around 6:00 P.M. Pacific Time or 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time. Check out the show on the Mainstream channel.

Jeff Bishop's show called The Desert Skies PodCast is another technology show. He is also another one of the blind DJs on ACB Radio on the Interactive ACB Radio channel.

Jonathan Mosen's Blog, Byron Lee's Journal, and DJC's Thoughts and Podcasts are several podcasts you can check out. Another one that comes to mind is Blind Access Journal by Darrell Shandrow and David Faucheaux's Blind Chance.

Another site that I have found recently that list blindness podcast sites is located at http://www.whitestick.co.uk/podcasts.html. The site is called Blind Podcasters. This site also list other sites that lists other podcasts in a variety of subjects.

Recently I have learned that EASI: Easy Access to Software Information have gotten into the podcast arena called Barrier-free IT--Tips and Tricks Podcast located at their EASI Podcasts Homepage. This is very exciting stuff.

Stay tune to this section as we find more interesting podcasts.

 

Favorite Chat Sites Run by Blind People

Do you like to chat with people online? We have personally found that very few sites are speech-friendly and easy to navigate.

Audio-tips and Talking Communities are one of our favorite sites. George Buys is the pioneer who is always looking for something new and exciting to try on the Internet. This is a family-oriented site and does not tolerate violence or strong language. I highly recommend many businesses, corporations, school systems, and others take a look at this innovative technology for teleconferencing over the web. This eliminates the need for transportation, pay for room space in a hotel or other establishment, saves money and time in traveling, etc. We believe this is an excellent technology for community colleges throughout the country.

For-the-people is another site we visit every once in a while. Most of the rooms on this site are OK, however, use your judgment in this area.

Both of these sites require free registration in which a member chooses a username and password. Both of these sites offer an opportunity to either purchase a server or rent a room for a reasonable fee.

Another site that we also found is Our Place hosted by ACB Radio. This is another place where you can meet other blind people. This site does not require a password. This is another site that is part of Talking Communities.

Are you a technology trainer? Are you looking for a way to network with other technology trainers around the world who share the same sorts of things that you are experiencing when working with a blind computer user? If so, check out our new Access Technology Institute Trainers Consortium for more information.

Another community of blind people have gathered together to form a chat room for its members. It is located at http://www.blindcooltech.com/chat.htm. At the moment, it doesn't require a password. Just type your name in the username field and press enter on the login button.

Pat Price's Web Conference Rooms is another location where rooms are available to both blind and sighted people to do online meetings at no cost. Check it out for yourself. In addition, this site have three mailing lists you can become part of:

Access World announcements
 
Old Time Radio announcements
 
Old Time Radio Discussion.
 

You'll learn about many things there. Don't be afraid to try it. Just do it. You'll be glad you did.

If you want to do voice chat, be sure that your microphone and speakers are working correctly. Don't get discourage if it doesn't work the first time. There are plenty of people who can help you resolve your problems.

 

Sources of Tutorials/Keyboard Commands for Major Applications

Do you often wonder how does a blind person navigate around using Windows Operating System? Don't fear. Most blind people learn hot keys or shortcuts to get from point a to point b. Below are some sources where tutorials can be purchase and direct links where keyboard commands are given.

Access Technology Institute is one of the best sources of tutorials such as

An Immersion into Microsoft Word,
 
An Immersion to Microsoft Excel 2000,
 
An Immersion into Powerpoint 2003,
 
An Immersion into Outlook,
 
HTML--The Basics of Web Page Design,
 
An Immersion into the Internet,
 
An Immersion into Windows,
 
An Immersion into Eudora, and
 
ZoomText from a Blind Perspective.
 

Many of these courses can either be taken as an online class or CDS can be purchased and used as self-study classes at a very reasonable price. For persons who need to obtain certification as Adaptive Technology Trainer, this is the place to receive certification on the Internet receiving intensive training for 9 months and ongoing training workshops after initial training. I personally found it cheaper to purchase the courses on cds.

In addition, Cathy Anne Murtha has created a page entitled Resources and References which contains such information as Reference Cards for Popular applications, Configuring popular applications to work with screen readers, Helpful Hints, Tips, and Secrets, Articles for Access Technology Trainers, and many more topics.

Braille, Inc. sells a variety of braille, large print, cassette and electronic tutorials, keyboard guides, and other computer-related items.

National Braille Press, Inc. sells several computer books relating to Windows 95, 98, XP, Word 8 and 2000, E-books on the Internet, Introduction to the Internet; reference cards for many applications such as Eudora Pro; Internet Explorer and Outlook Express; Office 2000: Word, Excel, Access, and Outlook; Windows 98; Word 8, WordPerfect 9; RealPlayer/Winamp/Media Player; RealPlayer Plus; UNIX; and HTML 4.0. Some books are available in braille, cassette, and electronic formats either as Grade 2 Braille files or ASCII text files. Some of the PortaBooks are being distributed on floppy disks and CD-ROMs. All of the Portabooks are now being delivered via the web by purchasing it with a credit card and downloading it right to your computer. These are braille or text files you can read with your braille display or speech synthesizer on the computer.

Iowa Department for the Blind, Project Assist with Windows sells several tutorials and keyboard guides on audio cassettes and electronic files on disk or CD in ASCII text, Grade 2 Braille, and Microsoft Word formats for many computer applications focusing on keyboard commands for both screen reader specific commands and application commands with the blind user in mind. Some applications include: Windows 95, 98, ME, XP; Internet Explorer; Outlook Express; Word 6, 97 or 8, 2000 and XP; Excel 97, 2000, and XP; Access 97 and 2000; PowerPoint 2000, WordPerfect 7, 8, and 9; Quicken, Outlook 2000, Microsoft Front Page 2000, Eudora Pro, Acrobat Reader 5, Netscape Navigator, Norton Internet Security, and many more to come. These tutorials are very affordable. Tutorials on disks are $25.00 and cassettes are $35.00 each. They also create tutorials to use for braille displays and computer applications as well. Technology trainers can receive training online and they can receive Microsoft Office Specialist certification in Word, Excel, or Access. I found their tutorials are reasonably priced.

Top Dot Enterprises sells a variety of tutorials on audio cassettes as well as a bimonthly magazine called Sound Computing. They provide articles, mini-tutorials on many applications interested to blind readers, and other computer-related items. This is another source that is very affordable.

Crisscross Technologies is another company who sells tutorials in Word, Excel, Access, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Eudora, and Windows 98. They also distributes a bimonthly magazine called Listening In on audio cassettes and on audio CDs. This magazine usually gives you a mini-tutorial on various applications with the blind user in mind.

Freedom Scientific and GW Micro sells a variety of tutorials from different sources as well as many computer-related items.

CarrollTech.org is a new online way of taking courses such as Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, Access, and Duxbury Braille translator. Each course listed on their site is $100.00 with the exception of the Online Public Access Catalog, and Windows for TVIs: Achieving Mouselessness. These two courses are free and is self-paced. One must register at no charge to use the site to gain information about upcoming classes, sign up for their newsletters, and to take the assessment quiz. Check the site out for more information.

Select this link to access FREE GUIDES FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE. This site list various FREE GUIDES, MINI-TUTORIALS AND USER NOTES. these guides and notes are provided free of charge to visually impaired people as an aid and insight to how they can be utilized from a non-visual basis. Check this site since this may change often.

Another company from the UK is called T&T Consultancy Limited. They sell several tutorials on audio cassettes and cd-roms. Some of these tutorials include:

Why Should I Buy A Computer?,
 
The VIP'S Guide To The Internet,
 
New Mail: You Have New Mail: Tutorial for Eudora 5.0,
 
It's Only Words--Advanced Word Processing for Word 97 and 2000,
 
Expressing Yourself With A Positive Outlook using Outlook Express version 5,
 
Sound Editing Just Gets Easier Volume One Using Sound Forge XP 4.5, 5.0 and XP Studio 5.0
 
Sound Editing Just Gets Easier Volume Two Using Sound Forge XP4.5, 5.0 and XP Studio 5.0.
 
Shop Till You Drop--Shopping On The Web,
 
Get Windows Wise With WindowEyes Volume One,
 
Get Windows Wise With WindowEyes Volume Two, and
 
Infotech Magazine.
 

In addition, a variety of other products are being sold by this company. They sell products for visually impaired people as well as people with dyslexia. Check the site out for more information.

WinGuide: Related Resources was put together by Dr. Sarah Morley the creator of a good Windows series of teaching materials with tactile diagrams with combination of tutorial in braille, audio tape, and electronic format either as a braille format for notetakers or as an ASCII text file for new users of Windows in accessible form. Check the site for other resources.

For additional resources check out Adaptive Technology Training, Tutorials and Educational Aids.

ACCESSIBLE MANUALS ONLINE FOR ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Have you always wondered where to find manuals online for access technologies? This is a new section that we are adding to this page so keep coming back for more surprises as we put these links together. These manuals are in multiple formats such as html, ASCII text file, .pdf, Microsoft Word, daisy, or .brf (braille) file. Some are even in audio file such as mp3 as well.

Screen Reading Software Documentation for Version 7.0 of JAWS FOR WINDOWS or Job Access with Speech

JAWS 7.0 Help System (self-extracting file)

JAWS 7.0 Quick Start Guide (text)

ILM Network Authorization Quick Start Guide Basics of Scripting Manual (self-extracting file)

FSDN (Functions Reference Manual)

If you want to view documentation for earlier versions of JAWS, visit the Additional JAWS for Windows Downloads page and download the appropriate JAWS version. Install this program and then look in the Help folder to find the product documentation.

Functions and Scripting Reference Manuals for JAWS 7.0 and PacMate 3.0 functions

PAC Mate Software Documentation for 3.0 BX and QX series, BNS and TNS series,

FSTTY User Guide (HTML),

FSTTY User's Guide (Text)

FSTTY User's Guide (Accessible Self Extracting PDF).

StreetTalk™ Owner's Guide (HTML),

StreetTalk™ Owner's Guide (Self Extracting PDF)

StreetTalk™ Owner's Guide (Text)

PAC Mate™ Braille Display User's Guide (HTML)

PAC Mate™ Braille Display Quick Start Guide (Accessible Self Extracting PDF)

Socket™ 56K Modem Quick Start Guide (Self Extracting Doc)

Socket™ Low Power Ethernet Card User's Guide (Self Extracting Doc)

Socket™ Bar Code Scanner User's Guide (Self Extracting Doc)

Socket™ Blue Tooth Connection Kit User's Guide (Self Extracting Doc)

Screen Magnification Software Documentation for Magic 9.50

Scanning and Reading Software Documentation for Open Book 7.02

SAL Speech Assisted Learning Systems Documentation for versions 1.2 and 1.0

Web Access Software Documentation for Connect Out Loud

Notetaker Documentation for Braille Lite m20 & m40, Type Lite, Braille n' Speak, Type n' Speak, Braille Lite 2000 and 40, and Windisk

Braille Embosser Documentation for Braille Blazer, Blazer Inferno, and VersaPoint Duo

Braille Display Documentation for PacMate Portable Braille display,

Focus series braille displays, and PowerBraille displays.

DBT for Beginners Tutorial

HumanWare--BrailleNote Family audio tutorials

HumanWare--BrailleNote Family Manuals in alternate formats

Listen to the Window-Eyes 5.5 Tutorial from GW Micro (audio mp3 file)

Read the Window-Eyes 5.5 Manual (HTML) Read the Window-Eyes 5.5 Manual (All sections in one TEXT file, including Appendicies)

Braille Sense Manual (HTML) Braille Sense Manual (PDF)

Braille Sense Manual (DOC) Microsoft Word format

Braille Sense Manual (TXT) ASCII text file

Ocusource Presentation in audio mp3 format

Braille Sense audio Demonstration

Screen Reader Technologies

Below is a list of manufacturers of screen readers for different operating systems.

Freedom Scientific manufactures Jaws for Windows. JAWS is an acronym for "JOB ACCESS WITH SPEECH". This software provides speech and Braille access to the Windows operating system and a wide range of Windows applications. While it comes with its own speech synthesizer, many other synthesizers are supported. Support for a wide variety of refreshable Braille displays is also provided. The install process talks. Also provided is a powerful scripting tool that can be used to improve access to many applications that initially may not be compatible with JAWS for Windows. JAWS was first developed for the DOS operating system back in the middle 1980's by Ted Henter, the founder and developer of Henter-Joyce, Inc. Sometime in either 1995 or 1996, development in the DOS screen reader was dropped to focus on development for the screen reader under Windows 3.1. Sometime in 1997, Henter-Joyce figured out a way to access the screen under Windows 95. Somewhere in April 2000, Henter-Joyce merged with Blazie Engineering to form Freedom Scientific, however, in June 2000, Arkenstone, Inc. was merged with the two companies already in place.

GW Micro is another manufacturer that produces a second screen reader called Window-Eyes and Window-eyes Pro. This is a screen access program for Windows 98/ME, is designed to provide full access to Windows and related applications. The Pro version supports these two operating systems plus Windows XP and 2000. Both programs come with a software speech synthesizer. A variety of refreshable Braille displays and internal and external speech synthesizers are supported. This is the second most popular screen readers used by blind people.

Dolphin Computer Access LLC markets

Hal (a screen reader), Lunar (a screen magnifier),

Supernova (technology containing speech, magnification, and braille in one package),

LunarPlus (enhanced screen magnifier),

Cicero (text reader from scan to speech),

Cipher (braille translator), and

Dolphin Pin (a USB thumb drive containing software and personal settings for each user).

These products are manufactured in the UK but a dealer is in the U.S. for those prospective customers who are interested in obtaining these products.

BRAILLE EMBOSSERS

There are many braille embossers on the market. They can print from 10 CPS (characters per second) to 800 CPS. Some printers print both sides of a page; others print one side of a page. To print something into Braille, you should have a Braille translation software that would translate from print to Grade 2 Braille. The faster the embosser prints, the more expensive it is. This is one of the expensive hardware needed for Braille production.

Freedom Scientific manufactures such printer as the Braille Blazer which prints on a single side of a paper using 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper. This is one of the smallest and most portable braille printers today. It prints at 15 CPS and weighs 12 pounds.

Enabling Technologies sells a variety of Braille printers to be used for braille production. Some newer models of Braille printers comes with built-in speech synthesizers to be used as speech output to a computer with a screen reader. Some examples of Braille printers are known as Romeo 25, Romeo Pro 50, Juliet Classic, Juliet Pro, ET, Juliet Pro 60, Bookmaker, Thomas, marathon, Braille Express 100, Braille Express 150, Braille Plate, and PED30 plate embossing device. They also manufacture 2 signmakers called Presto Braille and KGS Braille labeler. For production of Braille and Print together, they market a product called Transcend LT. They are also marketing a product called Gemini which prints Braille and print on the same page. A couple of new braille printers are called Romeo Attaché, and Romeo Attaché Pro. In addition, they sell a reading machine called Extreme Reader. Check the site out for more information.

Another company selling Braille printers is called Sighted Electronics. They primarily market the Index line of products. These include the following: Basic-D and Basic-S, Everest, Index 4X4 PRO, and 4 Wave Professional. They are also currently selling Braille displays and note takers as well. In addition, they are marketing a braille translator called WinBraille which comes with the Index line of Braille printers. They also sell a unique optical Braille recognition software that will let you scan single and double-sided Braille paper to input into computer for reproduction of Braille.

American Thermoform Corporation is another company selling braille printers, different sizes of Braille paper, and thermoform machines. They also sell a variety of binding materials to be used for Braille production.

Quantum Technology of Australia have just launched a new site called Mountbatten Brailler It contains lots of information on braille literacy and the use of this technology that have been developed for the past 20 years. It is very important that everyone today who is blind obtain the skills of braille and computer technology since it leads to a better opportunity in education and employment. Check these 2 sites for additional information.

Notetakers and PDAs with speech and braille Output

Today there are many devices on the market that allows a blind person to keep track of addresses, phone numbers, schedules, and many other timely information when on the go. Sighted people have been doing this for the last few years. To date, four companies are marketing products for blind and visually impaired consumers.

GW Micro markets a product called Braille Sense with 32 braille cells with braille keyboard manufactured in Korea. It was introduced in the U.S. at the CSUN conference in March 2005.

Optelec have recently come onto the speech and braille product arena. They originally were selling low vision products and have recently expanded in distributing the product called EasyLink that connects to a standard PDA using a wireless braille keyboard with speech output making it very economical for a blind user to have access to the same information that sighted colleagues used on a daily basis on their PDAs. The company also markets Voyager refreshable braille displays, Supernova speech and magnification systems, Hal screen reader, Lunar screen magnifier, Mobile Speak (an accessible Nokia-compatible smart phone with wireless modem via blue tooth, infrared, or USB connections to a PC), and a variety of tactile and educational products as teaching aids when learning braille.

Freedom Scientific markets several products including Pac Mate with either a braille or QWERTY keyboard with or without a Braille display in either 20 or 40-cells, StreetTalk and Destinator GPS Solution with PacMate, Braille Lite M20, Braille Lite M40, Braille 'n Speak, Type 'n Speak, Type Lite, Braille Lite 2000, and Braille Lite 40.

HumanWare markets the following products:

BrailleNote PK,

BrailleNote mPower BT,

BrailleNote mPower QT,

and VoiceNote mPower.

In addition, HumanWare also carries other products such as:

Maestro (an accessible handheld PDA with speech output,

Trekker (a GPS system with speech output for the blind),

Victor Reader (a line of digital talking book products to read Daisy and mp3 files),

and a few low vision products as well. They also sell braille displays, scanning systems, braille translators, braille printers, and many more. Check the site for more information.

Paperless Braille display

Braille displays are stand-alone devices that are hooked up exclusively to computer. Drivers that are created for either DOS or Windows is what makes the Braille displays function. Many companies markets a variety of other computer products as well.

Freedom Scientific markets the following:

Braille Focus 40 or 80 braille displays,

PAC Mate 20 Portable Braille Display,

PAC Mate 40 Portable Braille Display,

and PowerBraille Braille Displays.

Humanware markets the Brilliant in either 24, 32, 40, 64, or 80 cells.

Sighted Electronics marketing the following braille displays:

The NEW BRAILLEX® EL-80s,

The NEW BRAILLEX® EL-66s,

The NEW BRAILLEX® EL-40s,

The NEW BRAILLEX® EL-40sd,

The BRAILLEX® EL 2D-80,

and The BRAILLEX® EL 2D-66;

GW Micro marketing Braille Sense with 32 cells with braille keyboard.

Baum, a German company sells Braille displays, reading machines, and other products.

Vision Cue markets Braille displays in many models.

These include the following: Alva Satellite Braille Display,

ALVA A4 Braille Display,

and ALVA ABT320 braille display. The U.S. distributor is located in Portland, Oregon.

 

Braille Translation Programs

There are some Braille translation programs that are widely known throughout the United States and several foreign countries. Duxbury Systems, Inc. markets Duxbury Braille Translator for Windows (DBT Win)). DBT Mac is available for the Macintosh platform as well. MegaDots is a DOS-based program and can run under Windows. Salsa (interactive braille lesson maker for SAL) can be used with most braille translators and editors. TGD-Pro is an advanced braille Tactile graphics software. Check the site for more information. Braille Board is an easy to use braille translator for sign making. Check the site for more information. Quick Tac is a free tactile graphics software. These files can be imported either into DBT Windows 10.5 or Megadots 2.2. Perky Duck is a free program that allows a beginning Braille student to create their Braille lessons to demonstrate to the Braille instructor their understanding of the Braille code. It emulates like a Perkins braillewriter with limited editing capability. It is primarily used in distance education in which files are sent electronically to the instructor for grading.

Technologies for the Visually Impaired, Inc. markets a variety of braille printers, braille displays, talking computer games, braille keyboards, and many more. They also sell low vision products as well.

NFB-TRANS is a DOS-based free Braille translation program developed by National Federation of the Blind. It supports ASCII text files.

Computer Application Specialties Company is now marketing a new Braille translation program called Braille 2000. This is a program that supports a variety of file formats including .brl, .brf, .bfm (braille format files), .txt (ASCII file format, HTML (hypertext markup language file format), XML (extended markup language) file format, rich text file format, etc. It is supported under Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.

 

Music Braille Translators and Scanning Software

Dancing Dots markets a variety of products to meet the needs of blind musicians which would allow them to create their own music.

GOODFEEL (braille music translator),

CakeTalking for SONAR,

and Sibelius Speaking for Sibelius
are the specialized software needed to produce music independently.

Some of the mainstream products to produce music independently in conjunction with the specialized products above include the CakeWalk SONAR,

Sibelius,

Lime (Music Notation Editor not completely accessible to the blind),

SharpEye 2 (scanning software for music),

and Sound Forge (a professional recording sound editor) are tools for creating, scanning, and translating print music into Braille.

 Also available are teaching materials for learning to read music Braille notation as well as how to transcribe print music into Braille. These include An Introduction to Music for the Blind Student, (A Course in Braille Music Reading Parts I and II) By Richard Taesch; An Introduction to Piano for the Blind Student, (A Course in Braille Music Reading) By Richard Taesch; Who's Afraid of Braille Music By Richard Taesch and William McCann; and TACK-TILES. Theese are the teaching tools useful for blind students and their teachers for learning to read and write Braille music notation.

Opus Technologies markets OpusDots Lite (A braille music transcription program); Toccata (A full-featured braille music translator); Opus Braille Font Pack (Seven true-type, scaleable braille fonts for Windows); Introduction to Braille Music Transcription (An introductory text for braille music transcribers), How to Read Braille Music, Second Edition (The newest revision of a classic braille music tex) on CD-ROM, print, and braille) By Bettye Krolick; Music Braille Code 1997 (The 1997 version of the standardized music braille code Print and braille available); New International Manual of Braille Music Notation (Available in the CD-ROM, print, and braill versions); Primer of Braille Music (The classic primer, written for younger students Print and braille available); They Shall Have Music (One of the earliest braille music teaching texts. Print available) and Popular sheet music in Braille.

Scanning systems for the Blind and learning disabled

Have you always wanted to have a desire to read a book along with everyone else? If so, there are many companies that manufactures scanning systems for the blind and learning disabled.

Freedom Scientific manufactures Open Book that reads information on the page as long as the document is typewritten or normal print on black and white paper. It is a Windows-based system designed to read printed documents using a commercial scanner and convert them to synthesized speech. This program does not require screen access software inasmuch as it creates its own speech. It also contains other features such as a dictionary, thesaurus, and editor. Depending on the quality of the scanner, you can read just about anything, however, there will be errors in the document since scanning recognition is still not perfect and requires someone with sight to assist the blind in comparing the electronic copy from the hard copy of the book. When using this method of input for Braille production, accuracy is very important. It must be read thoroughly to be accurate with no errors. At this time it does not read handwriting or documents that is poor in quality in terms of printing.

Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc. is another company that markets a competitive product called Kurzweil 1000. This is a Windows-based reading system designed to convert printed documents into speech. A screen access program is not required. Additional features include a dictionary, thesaurus, and text editor. A variety of speech synthesis options are available, including a choice of different voices for reading documents and system messages. A commercial scanner must be purchased separately. The features are the same between Open Book and Kurzweil. To make an informative choice of scanning software, the blind user needs to evaluate both of them and communicate with blind users who are using these products.

Galileo is a reading machine manufactured by Robotron, Ltd., of Australia. It contains a giga-byte hard drive and a floppy disk drive that can be used to store documents that have been scanned. It is marketed by Technologies for the Visually Impaired.

Portset Reader is a lightweight (13 pounds) standalong reading machine manufactured in the United Kingdom by Portsert Systems, Ltd. This is distributed by Technologies for the Visually Impaired, Inc.

ScannaR is a standalone, compact flatbed scanner that will scan text and read it aloud. It includes speech and volume controls, storage for 500,000 pages at a time, and direct connection to the BrailleNote. It is marketed by Pulse Data Humanware.

VERA (Very Easy Reading Appliance) is a standalone reading machine, which is said to simplify the task of reading printed information. Like other reading machines, the VERA converts printed material into synthesized speech. The machine is operated using a simple keypad. It is marketed by Freedom Scientific.

For people with learning disabilities, Wynn from Freedom Scientific and Kurzweil 3000 from Kurzweil Educational Systems is appropriate for them.

Educational Hardware and Software Products

Students who are blind faces many challenges when it comes to education. Below is a list of educational software and hardware products that is appropriate for developing academic skills such as math, typing, computer literacy, and many others. For additional sources for obtaining other educational products not mentioned on this page, check the Education page link at the bottom of this page.

Typing is an important skill that both blind and sighted people should have. Before the use of computers, blind people had to type on typewriters that were either manual or electric. The problem is having to depend on someone else to proofread our work. If there were errors on any of our papers, we had to retype the whole document again. This technique was time-consuming unless you have developed good typing skills with accuracy and planning ahead of time as to what thoughts should be on paper. Back then, there were no spell checkers, grammar checkers, and the like. Knowing how to format various types of documents was also a challenge. Learning how to type at an early age is important since it helps to build motor skills, eye-hand coordination, listening, and comprehension.

Talking Typer for Windows®, typing tutor program is a self-voicing program eliminating the need for a screen reader. The demo is available for you to try out. If you like the program, purchase can be done either by phone or online. If you downloaded the demo, you can call in your order to receive a key that would change it from a demo to a real program. This typing program provides drills, exercises for building accuracy and speed, dictation, open-ended typing, and many more. Teachers can create their own lessons for the students to work on. Check the site for specifics on operating system, equipment required, and others. There are online instructions telling you how to operate the program. In addition, there are instructions in the manual that gives step-by-step instruction on how to put JAWS or Window-Eyes to sleep when Talking Typer is running. This and many other educational products is available through American Printing House for the Blind or you can call in your order at (800) 223-1839 or (502) 895-2405 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. or send an email to Customer Service Department for further assistance.

Another typing program I came across is called Talking Typing Teacher from MarvelSoft. This program is also self-voicing eliminating the need for a screen reader. This program is human speech making it very easy to understand and fun with lots of sound effects. The sound effects can be turned off if necessary. Teacher can go in and change lessons and check the report on each student taking the typing course. This program also works on spell checking, speed and accuracy, and many more. Both Talking Typer and Talking Typing Teacher have audio demonstration so that you can listen to the speech of both programs. Both programs can run on a network in which 1 copy is on the server and several copies are on the computers so that all the lesson reports is at a central location and the teacher can monitor the student's progress. Call MarvelSoft at 1-800-987-DOTS (1-800-987-1231) to place your order. There are two versions of the program. Check pricing and system requirements on their web site before purchasing the product.

Marvel Math from MarvelSoft, Virtual Pencil Arithmetic and Virtual Pencil Algebra from Henter Math, Math Flash, multi-media math flash card drill and test program and Money Talks, manage your accounts from American Printing House for the Blind are tools to help blind and learning disabled people improve their math skills. All of these programs are self-voicing. Money Talk helps a blind person manages their checking, saving, and credit card accounts and it assist you in categorizing such things as utilities, taxes, dining, groceries, travel, and household expenses. Check the site for more information on system requirements and pricing.

Teacher's Pet. accessible test creation and administration program,
Talking Word Puzzles, accessible word puzzle program,
Learn Keys, keyboard exploration and learning program,
Book Wizard Reader,
DAISY Digital Talking Book reading software,
Studio Recorder, electronic recording software,
Book Port, portable device designed to read electronic books,
Talking Clock, free software announces time with digitized speech
,
and many other technology products are available through American Printing House for the Blind.

Talking Toolbox for Windows is perfect for kids, made for adults who've just learned to type, and ideal for elderly folks who haven't been around computers all their lives, Talking Toolbox 2.00 is the latest and greatest talking product offered by MarvelSoft. This 100% self-voicing software program lets you send and receive Email, write letters and read E-books, organize an address book, use a calendar to plan your week, listen to audio CD's ... and even comes with a talking clock and calculator.

What's more, any new blind computer user can now afford to turn their machine into a talking computer--without having to purchase expensive screen-reading software. In the olden days, the only way a blind person could access a computer was to fork out hundreds of dollars for a screen-reading package that used synthetic speech to read everything on the screen.

But Talking Toolbox has changed all that. For just $75, you can get your hands on this entire suite of programs, which gives you access to the world of technology. If you're still new to computers, you'll find the learning curve for this suite of programs to be far quicker than you imagined. We've taken great care in designing a straightforward interface for the toolbox, to be sure it'll work and act just like you'd expect. But don't be fooled for an instant: the program is still loaded with all kinds of powerful features for you to take advantage of as you gain experience. And because Talking Toolbox employs digitized human speech wherever possible (seamlessly switching to synthetic speech only when necessary), blind people new to computers will find it much easier to understand what the program is saying. Perhaps best of all, Talking Toolbox knows what to read and just when to read it--without your having to memorize a dozen confusing hotkey combinations.

Already have a screen reader? Think you're too advanced for this program? Think again--you'll surely find that Talking Toolbox makes it much easier (and way more fun) to do many everyday computing tasks. Imagine ... Writing a letter or Email message, and having every key you press instantly spoken with human speech. Pulling up a spell-checker that automatically announces the misspelled word and a suggested replacement, where the problem line can be reviewed with the tap of a button. Writing down appointments in a calendar or contacts in an address book that's so easy to use, you'll actually do it. Playing a CD, using a calculator, and setting a timer--all without listening to one word of synthesized speech. You get the idea.

Inside your virtual toolbox, you'll find:
 

Talking Notebook, a feature-packed talking word processor, complete with lots of user-friendly functions like a fully-narrated spell checker;
 
Talking Address Book, a lightning-fast address manager that keeps track of all your addresses, lets you search for a specific one in a flash, then print it out or automatically call up the person on the phone;
 
Phone Pad, an interactive, easy way to learn how to dial phone numbers with words or letters in them;
 
Post Office, a fully-functional Email client that allows you to communicate with friends and family around the world, organize your messages in different folders, spell-check messages you send, and so much more;
 
Talking Calculator, a feature-packed program to make balancing the books a piece of cake;
 
Talking Calendar, a simple-to-use program that makes sure you'll never miss another doctor's visit, important meeting, or dinner date;
 
Talking Alarm Clock, a cuckooing, chiming, bonging program to ensure you always get everything done on time;
 
and--last but not least--Talking CD Player, a utility that not only plays CD's in the background, but also lets you label each disc in your collection, shuffle them to add variety, and create play-lists!

Naturally, each and every one of these tools is entirely self-voicing, narrated with MarvelSoft's state-of-the-art blend of pre-recorded human speech and text-to-speech technology. Whenever you're typing or cursoring over text letter-by-letter, navigating menus, changing options, or visiting the Help Desk, the friendly human voice of Eager Eddie guides you every step of the way. And when you're reading back what you've written, you'll enjoy listening to the voices of Mike or Mary, who offer high-quality speech synthesis.

In a nutshell, Talking Toolbox turns your computer into the most robust toolbox you could ever imagine. It's truly a package you must have if you're a fan of getting work done in half the time. Check the web site for system requirements.

Speaking Spelling, Quality Quiz, and Talking Teacher Suite are all excellent tools from MarvelSoft.

For more educational products in reference to braille and other supplies needed for educational purposes, check out Braille Books Dot Com--The Braille Superstore.

RWF Talking Software offers some exciting talking software that is educational and fun.
These include
Talking Dictionary,
Talking Event Scheduler,
Talking Maze Game,
and Talking Calculator are very afordable. Try the demos listed on their site.

Premier Assistive Technology markets a variety of products for blind and learning disabled population. Their mission is to enrich and improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by making information truly accessible through the use of affordable technology. This company began in 1998 developing a suite of products that address "reading, writing and information transfer" needs for individuals with visual, cognitive and mobility challenges. Applications for learning disabilities, general literacy and English as a Second Language can also be well-served using existing and emerging assistive technologies.

Their suite of products continues to grow and now includes the following 18 products and technologies:
Scan & Read Pro©,
Text-to-Audio©, Talking Word Processor©,
Text Cloner Pro©,
Talking Calculator©,
Scan and View©,
Complete Reading System©,
Universal Reader©,
Universal Reader Plus©,
OFF Limits© The Talking Web Browser,
PDF Magic Pro©,
The Ultimate Talking Dictionary©,
Predictor Pro©,
Word Prediction Technology,
The Talking Checkbook©,
E-Library©,
E-Text Reader©
, and Premier CD/DVD Creator©.
In addition the company carries
PDF Magic and so much more. Check the site out for yourself for more information. They are now beginning to have online videos of their products available 24/7 or can be obtained on CD-ROM.

All of their products are designed with simplicity in mind and feature both easy setup and "one-button" control for many key functions. The quality and overall capabilities of their products is equal to or better than any on the market today, with one major difference ...theirs cost much less. A driving force behind Premier Assistives' business philosophy is that assistive technology should be affordable for everyone!!!

 

Archives of audio workshops and Online conferencing dealing with Assistive Technology

Have you always wanted to attend the largest technology conference held in the U.S. each year in March? CSUN (California State University at Northridge) is an international conference which brings together about 4,000 participants. It covers all facets of manufacturers, resellers of assistive technology, professionals in the rehabilitation, special education, and other related fields for all types of disabilities. Below are places to listen to and read about assistive technology in more details.

CSUN 2005 Audio Blog--ACB Radio--Connecting the Blind Community. Please take the opportunity to listen to various interviews and workshops in relation to blindness products that were released at the conference.

See Papers and Recordings From CSUN EASI Track March 17, 2005. This day long portion of the conference was sponsored by EASI (Easy Access to Software and Information) headed up by Norman Coombs and Dick Banks. They have a lot of information on their web site in reference to assistive technology for all disabilities including archives of several online conferences for many educational professionals in the field.

Talking Communities and Ocusource joined together and produced a virtual tour of the exhibit hall at 2005 CSUN in March 2005. Check these sites to learn how you can join the community to conduct a virtual conference online without leaving your home or office.

Do you know someone who have trouble learning how to use a computer? Do you wish you can talk to it instead of typing on the keyboard or using a mouse? Now it is possible to talk to a computer using a new product called FreedomBox. This equipment is used by people with physical disabilities, blindness disabilities, senior citizens, and anyone who have to travel in using computers in libraries, schools, friend's house, internet cafe, and many more situations. When using input devices such as this, it is best to use it in a quiet place if possible. The FreedomBox comes in five forms:

Pass Key
 
Key to Freedom
 
FreedomBox software for your PC
 
FreedomBox Standalone
 
FreedomBox Lifestyle

With FreedomBox, you can read e-mails, surf the web using its own browser it supplies that will get to the meat of the web page without hearing all the navigational links, shopping, listening to radio stations all over the web, read newspapers, magazines, and many more. Check this site out for more information. Listen to some interviews and demonstrations to understand how it works. I am really excited about this technology. There is very little training involved in learning this product since it is menu-driven and you have the choice of speaking the option, typing the number into the computer, or doing both if desired. 

 

Information on Web Accessibility and accessing accessible PDF Documents

Below are links to various points that will provide important information on designing web pages for persons with disabilities. Many web sites contain images which is a problem for blind people especially when they are not labeled with alt-tag anchors. To get an understanding of how a screen reader such as Jaws for Windows reads your web pages, try out the demo of the program located at http://www.freedomscientific.com/fs_downloads/jaws.asp. If you want to try Window-eyes, go to http://www.gwmicro.com/demo/. These demo programs run for 30 minutes for Window-eyes and 40 minutes for JAWS for Windows. Contact these manufacturers if you prefer to obtain a demo CD especially if you have a dialup modem. For cable or DSL connection, it may take at least 15 minutes to download. 

Now that we have something to work with in the way of access technology in particular with speech output through a sound card, let's explore some sites that have information on web accessibility and accessing accessible PDF documents.

Should you need to contact various organizations of the blind, companies that are complying with accessibility, companies that are providing accessible software with screen readers that have been tested by manufacturers and users of their respective products, Select external Resources or other valuable resources pertaining to United States Resources, U.S. Disability Legislation, and U.S. Advocacy Groups. Please use these resources to the fullest when serving people with disabilities.

To learn what blind users have tried in working with specific applications with JAWS, consult JFWLite Home Page to get helpful hints, training and tutorials for JFW users, and a list of programs that works with JAWS. Check this site often since new products are being tested with JAWS as more and more blind people get into programming or writing scripts to make some of these applications accessible.

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws contains valuable information for everyone in case a discrimination occurs. These legislations are very important when companies hires 15 or more people in a business environment or if your company receives federal and state funds from grants. It is also important for students with disabilities advocate for themselves as well. How can I tell if my Web pages are accessible? This is a very common frequently asked question that many people ask a person with a disability. Check out these recommendations and utilize these resources for guidance.

Read the following articles on web accessibility. Making Your Web Site Accessible to the Blind by Curtis Chong, President of National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science. Creating Accessible Computer Applications. The Challenges of Web Accessibility. Improving Your Web Site's Accessibility. The Visually Impaired Web User's Technology. Improving Your Web Site Site-Wide Problems and Solutions. Accessible Forms. Tips & Tricks. Usability Testing. Resources How to Make Your Blog Accessible. Tips for making your site accessible. Test Your Site. How does a screen reader work? Making Web Sites Accessible! PDF and Public Documents: A White Paper. Competitive Bidding for Printing Government Documents. Assistive Technology Act. Memo Regarding Remedies Available Under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Using Accessible PDF Documents with Adobe Reader 7.0: A Guide for People with Disabilities (HTML format). Please take the time to read this document to learn about reading PDF documents with a screen reader or large print program. Select this link to download the PDF version listed above (PDF: 3.8M).

To learn about Creating Accessible PDF Documents with Adobe Acrobat 7.0 (PDF: 10.3M). If you are the individual who will be creating PDF documents for the general public, this is the most important information you'll need to learn how to tag documents correctly. Careful planning is made in structuring the document before creating the file.

For any additional documents or programs from Adobe, Select Accessibility from Adobe. A word of caution! Be sure to download the full version of Acrobat Reader that contains accessibility built into the product. The basic version of Acrobat Reader does not have accessibility features at all. The basic is not accessible to people with disabilities.

Select this link to go to Online conversion tools for Adobe PDF documents If a document is on your hard drive, CD-ROM, or internal server, it can be submitted as a MIME attachment to an e-mail message. This will allow you to send a PDF document to either a PDF to txt server and emailed back to you as text format or PDF to HTML server in which the file will be sent to you by email in HTML. In addition, there is an online form where you can fill out the form if the document is stored on a server available to the general public.

For plain text, mail the attached PDF to pdf2txt@adobe.com. For HTML, mail the attached PDF to pdf2html@adobe.com.

To convert an Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) file to HTML or text, simply type a URL for an Adobe PDF document into this electronic form and select "Convert". The Adobe PDF document will be converted and returned to you in your browser application. Depending on the complexity of the document and the number of requests being made on the server at the time, the conversion process may take a while. Select this link to access the online form.

Should you need to access Frequently Ask Questions regarding PDF document, select this link. Please take time to read this important document since it will help you deal with many problems such as security issues, text and graphics mixed together, and proper structured markup tags. If you have an acrobat reader PDF document and it is password protected, go to Advanced PDF to HTML Conversion Form. Be sure to contact the original author of the document to find out the password if any, used to retrieve the document. Enter the URL for the file and password to access it.

In the past, I used to send PDF documents to pdf2txt@sun.trace.wisc.edu or pdf2html@sun.trace.wisc.edu, according to whether a reply is desired in text or HTML format. In some cases, you may get a message from the server by email telling you that the file is too large. It is my understanding that Trace and Adobe are working on new PDF translation services for the future. It will be awhile however before they are available. In the meantime, Trace will not be hosting the older Adobe translator that we were before.

Adobe now has several options to convert Adobe PDF documents to text or HTML format.

For more information on Adobe's conversion services, go to their web page at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/access_onlinetools.html.

Blind or visually impaired users of Open Book or Kurzweil 1000 should consult their documentation for instructions on accessing PDF document. In my experience in converting PDF documents to accessible format, I use all the methods provided to me because not one method is more perfect than the other depending on how the documentt is marked up for reading in order.

Another program that I have discovered for converting PDF to txt is called PDF to txt by Jamal Mazrui. This program is version 2.0 copyright 2005. PDF to TXT (also written PDF2TXT) is a free program for converting files in Portable Document Format (.pdf extension) to plain text (.txt extension). The program lets you convert multiple files in a single, batch operation, either from a GUI dialog or a console-mode command line. The resulting text files can be read in almost any editing or viewing program. PDF2TXT, itself, also includes a plain text view for reading PDF files. The program works on any 32-bit version of Windows (Windows 95 and above with Internet Explorer 4.0 and above).

This Windows program is the successor to my first version of PDF2TXT, developed several years ago as a DOS-based, command-line only utility.

Adobe Reader 7.0—English for Windows, 19.8MB.

Watch the Recording of The Oct. 20 Free Web Conference on Accessible PDF. This is an introductory course to let participants know who are participating in this live conference of an upcoming 4-part series of webcast slated for the dates of November 1, 8, 15, and 29 at 2:00 P.M. Eastern Time. If you miss the live conference, it will be archived for later viewing. This will be a very important clinic to attend since it will help you learn how to create an accessible PDF that is available to everyone. The 4-part series of seminars entitled Accessible and Usable PDF Documents: Techniques for Documents is led by Karen McCall. Karen McCall is the owner of Karlen Communications, an adaptive technology consulting and training practice. She started working with accessibility issues of PDF with version 4.5 of Adobe Acrobat Reader and the plug-in that had to be used for minimal access to PDF documents. Since version 5 of Adobe Acrobat, Karen has been providing on-site, online and self-paced CD workshops on creating accessible and usable PDF documents. Karen was the author of the Adobe Systems How to Use Adobe Reader 6: A Guide to People with Disabilities booklet and their How to Create Accessible PDF: A Guide for Document Authors, also for version 6. She has lead several pre-conference workshops on creating more accessible PDF documents, the most recent one at the Accessible Design in the Digital World conference in Dundee, Scotland in August of this year. Karen is an active member of the PDF/UA [Universal Access] working group which will be developing standards for accessible PDF documents.

Karen also provides workshops on

The standards and guidelines for digital environments and information related to eLearning
 
Creating Daisy content and choosing Daisy players
 
Using tablet technology for people with disabilities [and without]
 

For more information on the 4-part PDF clinic, Select EASI 4-part PDF Web Conference which will give you an outline covered in this 4-part seminar on PDF. Stay tune for additional links if you missed this seminar.

Check Web Accessibility. Improve your site's accessibility for Windows. Download for free. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Home Page. Home page of W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative--resources for increasing accessibility of the Web for people with disabilities. This will be the most important site for following specific guidelines. Check this site regularly because changes are being made all the time. WebAIM--Web Accessibility in Mind. Information, training, resources, guidelines and standards for Web accessibility and disability access to the Web. Watchfire WebXACT. WebXACT is a free online service that lets you test single pages of web content for quality, accessibility, and privacy issues. Section 508: The Road to Accessibility. Check out the new Buy Accessible (BA) Wizard tool. This is a web-based tool to help users determine and document Section 508 requirements that apply to a particular E&IT acquisition. Dive Into Accessibility. This is a book that can be viewed either online, downloaded as HTML or PDF formats on this site. Both of these files are zipped so you must have a program that allows you to unzip these files. WebABLE. WebABLE is the authoritative Web site for disability-related internet resources. The WebABLE site goal is to stimulate education, research, and development of technologies that will ensure accessibility for people with disabilities to advanced information systems and emerging technologies. WebABLE Solutions: 508 Guidelines. This page is very important if you are going to comply with not only section 508 compliance in reference to web accessibility, but also electronic and information technology. Building Accessible Web Sites. This is a book written by Joe Clark. When you buy the book, you get the entire text (but no graphics) on the included CD-ROM, along with a few extras, like fonts and utilities. Now the whole book is available online, in individual chapters.

W3C accessibility checkpoints.
What Is Web Accessibility? by Trenton Moss.
What Is Web Accessibility?: A List Apart

This article will tell you who you need to consider when making your website and what their unique requirements are.

Take the HTML Challenge This is where you learn about how JAWS (a screen reader) works when surfing on the internet. This is what I consider an online tutorial that must be followed on this site. Please do not skip around because you may miss something important in the material. There's a lot of reading there. An accessible version of Constructing Accessible Web sites This is a page regarding Section 508 web compliance. Adobe Online Resources Freedom Scientific have put these pages together in one area so that you don't have to wander off to other parts of Adobe Systems's web site. Visually Impaired Users--How To Help Them This is an excellent site to use as a resource when creating web pages for accessibility. Blind Programming Site--Resource for Blind Programmers! This is a site that have many tutorials on writing JAWS scripts for applications that currently does not work with JAWS. There is a mailing list you can subscribe to communicate with blind programmers and find out how they write their programs. They also have many tutorial files up there to download that is accessible to people who are blind. This is a valuable resource to use. There are various materials for linux, unix, and IBM-related materials. Links to online books and other programming-related material and text. This is an excellent resource if you are looking for books that is accessible to blind people when it comes to programming. HTML Tutorials and More From W3Schools This is an excellent site if you wish to learn how to create web pages. It contains valuable information for developing good web sites. Making Your Work More Accessible to JAWS and MAGic Users This is a very important area of concern in making materials available for blind users who are using JAWS for speech or Magic for large print access. DAISY Books and JAWS Audio Training This is a new page that was developed for anyone who needs to access the new DAISY books for JAWS 6.0 and up. This site is continuing to expand. Check back often.

Accessibility myths and misconceptions Here is an article that people may not have read about. You see accessibility awareness information posted on various web sites, newspapers, and magazines. This article points some myths and misconceptions to be mindful of.

Are you still not sure if your web site is certified as being speech-friendly? Never fear. Web Certification Program. This is a place where you can contact National Federation of the Blind and its blind experts in the field of blindness, web accessibility, technology for the blind, ATM accessibility issues, etc. You can contact Anne Taylor at (410) 659-9314, extension 2413, or send her an email and she'll be happy to assist you on the certification process. In addition, you can go to Jim Thatcher, Accessibility Consulting out of Austin, Texas for expertise and guidance in creating accessible web pages. On his site he does have a course on writing accessible web pages and information on section 508. Or call anytime 512-306-0931--or write, Jim Thatcher, 800 Double Bend Back Road, Austin TX 78746. Understanding disability issues when designing Web sites Here is what IBM says about accessibility.

If you are interested in learning HTML, Webmonkey: The Web Developer's Resource is one of the tools I used when I took the Web Design 1 course with Susan Escobar at Northwest Vista College back in Fall 2003. We found it very beneficial in our learning process and still come back to this site from time to time to expand our knowledge.

We recently learned that there are some new web accessibility tools that are better than Bobby. To learn of what's new in web accessibility checker tools, Watch New Web accessability checker tools. This free clinic seminar was recorded on January 19, 2006 by Easi (Easy Access to Software Information) In addition, there is an extensive four-part seminar that was held in February 2006 that will go in greater details. Check out http://easi.cc/clinic.htm for all upcoming free and fee-based online seminars plus the new EASI Podcasts Homepage they are putting together each Wednesday every week.

Another document I learned recently that talks about defining PDF accessibility is entitled Defining Acrobat PDF Accessibility. This is a document that covers all types of disabilities including motor disabilities, hearing disabilities, cognitive disabilities, low vision, blindness and screen reader accessibility, and many more. This is an excerpt from the WebAIM Web Accessibility Suite. Comprehensive, In-depth, Invaluable. That can be ordered from http://www.webaim.org/products/training/. This is a document that is available on six pages on the web. This document is ideal for education, government, business, health care, web developers, and anyone else who is responsible for creating accessible documents within their organizations. Check their pricing structure since there are variations in pricing depending on number of licenses that can be available for multi-users within a company. This is a very comprehensive resource available on CD-ROM.

Stay tune for additional resources on this site concerning web accessibility articles.

 

Accessible games for both blind and sighted players

Do you like to play games? If so, here are some companies that are marketing talking games for the blind. For many years, blind people have not been able to play computer games under Windows. A few years ago, there were a lot of games written in DOS, however, as years went by, a few of the developers that were creating games under DOS decided to put most of their resources to developing games under Windows. I firmly believed that although the blind is a very small market for accessible games and various adaptive technologies, this is where the challenge is for vendors who develop specialize software. Some of the games uses the blind person's screen reader installed on their computer while others use their own software speech output to read the screen. I hope you enjoy going to these vendor's sites to download and play with these games. Should you have questions on these games, contact the vendor of the game for additional information.

Ador Entertainment is working with PCS Games in developing Ten Pin Alley. Please check the site often on further development on this game. Experience realistic bowling sounds, alley ambience, and a human announcer in this revamped version of the PCS games's classic Ten Pin! This will be the first release, as it is nearing completion. You won't be disappointed! The second game is called Final Defender -- Speed through three distinct areas of entirely different play, and three levels of difficulty in this arcade-style game, where the only thing that stands between Earth and the invading alien fleet is you! They wish to emphasize that this is not a new spin on the Space Invaders games, and that you'll need more than quick reflexes to defeat these dastardly foes! The third game is called Eamon Guild of Free Adventurers -- Eamon will be Adora's flagship project, and is a wholly new take on accessible role-playing games. Create a character and navigate them through a 3D universe where sword, sorcery, and advanced technology blend to create a world that has limitless possibilities. A great deal of information on this series is currently available on their web site.

All inPlay (formally known as ZForm) announces a new name and a couple of new games for blind and sighted people to play together on the internet. They are the leading provider of online, interactive games for the blind. Their first game was called Poker. The second game is called Crazy Eights. These 2 games are the most popular card games that have been fully accessible. With these 2 games, the blind and sighted are on the same playing field and can play together as equals. All games that they have developed work seamlessly with the assistive technologies employed by the visually impaired to use computers. It works well with all screen readers and screen magnifiers currently available. Great care has also been taken to create contemporary graphics to enhance the game play experience for sighted players. ZForm is changing the company name to All inPlay. Their objective is to be inclusive, to provide a community where everyone can play. To use their service, you can play the games for free for 15 days, however, you have the option to sign up for either monthly service or yearly subscription to utilize their online service. This is not real money. No fear. Enjoy this site. This is one of my favorite site to play these games.

BSC Games is marketing the following games into many categories:

 

ARCADE GAME DOWNLOADS

Classic Pipe 1.0
 
Pipe2 Blast Chamber
 
Classic Troopanum 1.6
 
Troopanum 2
 
Hunter
 

EDUCATIONAL GAME DOWNLOADS

15 numbers
 
Word Strain Volume 1
 
Word Strain Volume 2
 

FREE GAME DOWNLOADS

Deekout
 
Finger Panic
 
Sonic Match
 
Bobby's Revenge
 
Crazy Darts

They recently announced that there is a mailing list for BSC Games customers. To sign up send a blank email message to gametalk-request@bscgames.com with the word "join" in the subject line or the word "leave" to unsubscribe from the mailing list. Stay tune for further developments.

Code Factory is another new company just coming on the horizon in developing speech friendly games for the blind. They have developed on a new Adventure game called Time Adventures. This is the plot of Time Adventures: In the not too distant future, the world is divided between citizens who lead an ordinary life and those who have signed a contract with the megacorporations, who offer a happy llife, free of problems. However something sinister is lurking behind all this. The future of humanity is in your hands.! These are the characteristics:
 

More than 60 different scenes
 
Over four hours of digitalised voices
 
Dozens of sound effects and animated drawings
 
More than 50 original soundtracks
 
Easy-to-access menus
 
In two languages: Spanish and English
 
New intuitive user interface
 
No installation required. Just insert the CD-ROM and start to play.
 

Code Factory created another game called Alien Invasion. The evil Octans have stolen the energy supply which regulates the cosmic balance. As a result, the planets have come out of their orbits and run the risk of getting lost forever in interstellar space. You are the best pilot in the galaxy, and the Senate has chosen you to enter the enemy system and recover the planets. However, the mission is full of dangers. Dare to accept the challenge! IN the United States, you can purchase all of their games from Independent Living Aids. You will find the educational software games there, as well as Time Adventures or Alien Invasion. If you do not live in the United States but you would like to get Time Adventures or Alien Invasion please contact the company directly at sales@codefactory.es. The headquarter is located in Spain and was founded in 1998.

In addition, Code Factory is making other products besides games for blind people now. Mobile Accessibility is accessible software that makes your cell phone talk. Mobile Accessibility has got a text to speech synthesizer of the company S-VOX inside that reads you SMS messages. The software has got its own interface so that you can make calls, get calls, have a look on the call list, manage your contact list, receive and send sms and mms messages, manage and advise ring tones and a lot more features. If you want to know more about it, please check it out on their web site. at www.mobileaccessibility.com. There you will find a presentation and the manual for download. Currently it supports the following cellular phones: Nokia 3230, Nokia 3650, Nokia 3660, Nokia 6260, Nokia 6600, Nokia 6620, Nokia 6630, Nokia 6670, Nokia 6680, Nokia 6681, Nokia 7610, Nokia 7650, Nokia N70, Nokia N-Gage, Nokia N-Gage QD, Siemens SX-1 and Samsung SGH-D720. The company will adapt it soon to other mobile phones that will come out. If you have comments or questions about the games or Mobile Accessibility, please send the company an email to: info@codefactory.es. If you are still uncertain as to what cellular phone to purchase that is accessible, please read an article entitled What phone should I use?. You'll be glad you did your homework in advance before purchasing any of them.

Adora Entertainment (formerly ESP Softworks) have developed several computer games. These includes:

Monkey Business -- Get ready for an absolutely fun action arcade-style game in this first-person adventure against the evil Dr. wobble! As a net-for-hire by a scientist who's teleportation invention and plans have been stolen by Dr. Wobble, you must catch a fleeting group of monkeys across ten levels of arcade-style insanity and a bonus level!

Dr. Wobble have broken into your boss' laboratory in the middle of the night and stolen the teleportation device he's invented. But, that's not all. Dr. Wobble's also spiked the Monkeys' water supply that are used for the teleportation tests with a drug that has made them extremely smart and mischievous. Not only does Dr. Wobble have the device, but the monkeys have gotten loose and stolen pieces of the teleporters! Now, it's up to you to catch the monkeys' retrieve these parts of the teleporters, and put a stop to Dr. wobble!

Monkey Business features:

Run, Jump, Climb, Crouch and Swim Through Ten Themed Levels of Game Play With Fun Challenges
 
Great Ambient Sound Effects
 
Complete c-D Player Freedom of Movement
 
Bonus Level
 
Intuitive, Innovative, and Fast-Action Game Play
 
Cool Music
 
Goodies on CD including: Game Trailers, ESP Pinball Demo, ESP Pinball Bloopers, and Shell Shock

Chase monkeys and avoid obstacles in real-time through a lush jungle! Explore the dark torch lit runes of an ancient Aztec temple, avoiding perilous traps and wild animals! Strap on yer six-shooters for a spell in the ol' west for slots, suds, and a chance to take down the town's bad boy! Take a stroll along a sandy beach, avoid crabs and cannonballs, and watch your step on a creaky bridge! And, much.. much more all in vibrant 3D sound!

Monkey Business is currently shipping and retails for $34.95.

DynaMan -- Enter the high energy world of Dynaman and conquer the electron grid in this fast-paced, multi-level grab n' run style game. As the main character Dynaman, you'll navigate several stacked 3D layers of twisting pathways and transports gathering electronics while avoiding the ever-present and menacing Spark Brothers who are out to zap you of your precious energy reserves. Rack up mega points as quickly as possible, but beware of the short circuits! Dynaman Features:
 

Fast-paced arcade action requiring quick reflexes and good memory skills!
 
Multi-level 3D game play with 3D positional audio
 
Real-time variable skill setting
 
ESP Score Server enabled (click for more information about ESP Score Server)
 
Bonus score level
 
Lots of cool sound effects
 
Great fun for all ages!

Dynaman is currently shipping and retails for $24.95.

Alien Outback -- Busha Bob was settling back having a Foster's with Duncan after a safari adventure when all of a sudden there was a commotion out by the billaboards. Crikey, Jolly Rancher! It looks like the outback's been invaded by alien vermin! They can take our women and they can takeour Foster's, but they won't be taking our bloody sheep! Throw on your waders and drop your feet into Busha Bob's world as he takes on alien invaders from out of this world and help save the outback!

Alien Outback Features:
 

A new twist on the arcade classic Space Invaders with that signature E.S.P. flair!
 
Over 42 levels of out of this world, arcade-style shoot 'em up fun!
 
Many way cool, high-quality sound effects!
 
ESP Score Server enabled (click for more information about ESP Score Server).
 
Scoreboard contests!
 
Compete with your friends and foes on the high scoreboard!
 
Extra bonus levels!
 

Who needs Men In Black when ya got Busha Bob out in the outback?"

Alien Outback was shipping and retailed for $34.95.

Change Reaction -- Looking for a break from the intense action-arcade games and craving something a bit more cerebral and puzzle-oriented? Check out Change Reaction! It's a race against the game timer in a bid for connecting as many similar coins as you possibly can to start a chain reaction--a Change Reaction! You start off playing above a ten by thirty coin grid and given a coin to toss amongst the denominations in hopes of starting a chain reaction..exploding as many contiguous coins as possible. Clear a row and the coin denominations are added to your jackpot score. Reach the bottom for a bonus! Try to grab a randomly placed time bomb to set off multiple reactions to help you in your race against the ever-present clock. The faster you play, the more coins you react and the bigger your jackpot!

Best of all. your jackpot translates directly into ESP Bucks that can be used toward the purchase of any ESP Softworks game title if you can top the competition! Click here for the contest rules!

Change Reaction Features:

Fast-paced puzzle action to challenge your memory and reflexes!
 
Lots of cool sound and game effects!
 
ESP Score Server enabled (click for more information about ESP Score Server).
 
Compete against all the other Change Reaction players to catch in your winnings toward ESP games!
 
Several methods of play and a special bonus level!
 
Win back your money, effectively getting Change Reaction for free!
 
Hidden Easter Egg--Can you find it?
 
Cool music!
 

The retail price for Change Reaction was $19.95.

ESP Pinball Classic --Since the first pinball game was introduced in 1947, people the world over have had an obsession with making a little silver ball jump all over a table, hitting targets and flying up ramps along the way. Pinball has been one of those true blassic arcade games with ongoing appeal to generations old and young.

While the pinball tables themselves have wildly varied themes, the object remains the same--score MEGA points by propelling a round, steel ball around an electronic and mechanical obstacle course bouncing it off bumpers, flippers, targets, switches, and gizmos at blazing speeds!

Each theme has its own obstacles and objectives, sound effects and ambience, and scoring system. ESP Pinball comes with six completely different themed tables including:

Heist--Shine up your .38 Special and getting ready for a heist! Whether it's diamonds, cold hard cash, or expensive cars this table rakes in the big bucks! Great sound effects and lots of bonus jobs on the side!

Haunted House--Take a stroll through a graveyard to the old haunted mansion on the hill.. think you're brave enough to spend a night there? It'll take more than nerves of steel to rack up every last ghoulish point this table has to offer! Complete with spooky music and plenty of cobwebs!

The Jungle--Welcome to the jungle.. now, go home! That is if you can make it home! Explore the thick underbrush and jungle ambience while hunting wild animals and escaping quicksand. If you've got a sharp aim and don't mind mosquitoes the size of Jersey, take an adventure in the wilderness!

Soccer Star--Take to the stadium field and don't forget your cleats! It's man against machine on the green in this "goal"-oriented theme. Each round is timed and it's either your goal or theirs! Score for points, more time, and to win! Gatorade not included!

Wild West--trade in your pinball for a six-shooter and bullets and take down the town's sheriff while escaping the law for horse thieving. And, after your're done taking out the law, stop in the saloon for an ice cold beer or brawl with the locals.

Pac Man--Gobble up points, avoid ghosties, and turn the tables on 'em with mega power-ups in this pinball rendition of the classic game Pac Man.

ESP Pinball features:

Six exciting and interactive themed tables including the free bonus table "Pac Man"
 
Great Ambient Sound Effects
 
Two Modes of Play: Classic and Accessible
 
Two difficulty levels: Normal and Insane
 
Fast-Action Game Play
 
ESP Score Server enabled (click for more information about ESP Score Server).
 
Cool Music
 
Lots of Cool CD Extras Including:
 
Hilarious Bloopers and Outtakes
 
Monkey Business Demo
 
Free "Shell Shock" Game
 
Audio Trailers For Our Other Game Projects

ESP Pinball was shipping and retailed for $34.95.

ESP Pinball Xtreme - Greetings pinball fanatics! Welcome to the awesome sequel to ESP Softworks' premiere release--ESP Pinball 2! This titles promises to deliver adrenaline-pumping, hyper-cool pinball like you've never experienced before! Built on the ESP Pinball second generation audio engine, the sequel to one of accessible gaming's favorite game promises to deliver non-stoppable fun for all ages young and old alike! While the pinball tables themselves have wildly varied themes, the object remains the same--score MEGA points by propelling a round, steel ball around an electronic and mechanical obstacle course bouncing it off bumpers, flippers, targets, switches, and gizmos at blazing speeds! Each theme has its own obstacles and objectives, sound effects and ambience, and scoring system. ESP Pinball 2 comes with six all-new completely different themed tables including Home Run, Sudwerks, Top Gun, and three more yet-to-be-announced out-of-this-world tables! ESP Pinball 2 starts with the best features of the original game and sports a cool brand-new interface, a whole slew of new high-quality sound effects, innovative table designs and many more features such as:

ESP Pinball 2 features:

Six Very Cool, Brand-New Interactively Themed Tables
 
Great Ambient Sound Effects Including Dozens Upon Dozens Of New Ones!
 
All New Scoreboard That Allows Multiple Players!
 
Two Modes of Play: Classic and Accessible
 
Two difficulty levels: Normal and Insane
 
Fast-Action Game Play
 
ESP Score Server enabled (click for more information about ESP Score Server).
 
Includes An Accessible Editor To Create and Share Your Own Custom Tables!
 
Several New Table Gadgets and Gizmos
 
Quarterly High Score Contests For A Chance To win A Special Collector's Edition Copy Of The Original ESP Pinball!
 
Cool Music For Each Table!
 
Lots of Cool CD Extras Including:
 
All ESP Demos, The Original ESP Pinball Bloopers & Outtakes, Freebies, And More!

ESP Pinball 2 retailed for $39.95.

GMA Games is currently working hard On GMA Tank Commander. The company took a two month break from the game to rewrite a good portion of Tank Commander's game engine. Shades of Doom, Pacman Talks, and some other upcoming games are written using this engine, but it has come a long way since its early roots with Shades of Doom. With the new changes to the engine the company expect that game writing will be a quicker process, and with the new functionality, we feel that the engine is much more flexible and powerful as well.

PCS is helping David Greenwood with GMA Tank Commander. The helicopter circles over your technologically advanced tank, the whub-whub-whub of its blades clearly audible in your headphones. Your attention is fixed on the voice saying target in 350 yards, where you know your opponent is waiting. Five times before, you've sent missiles hurtling into the enemy, turning it into a fireball. But now, you are distracted by the low thrum of a tank in your left ear and it fires one perfectly targeted blast from a rocket launcher. You hear a tremendous crash and find yourself tumbling through the air as your tank flies apart. Welcome to GMA Tank Commander, where you can die a hundred deaths from dark until dawn and still have a roaring good time. You can download the demo at www.gmagames.com or at www.pcsgames.net.

The company is starting development on, a Harry Potter Monopoly computer game. You've reached the intersection where Park Place crosses Diagon Alley. The school year at Hogwarts has just started, so get set to enjoy excitement and adventure in the Wizarding world of Briton.

Monopoly is the world's best loved board game, and The Harry Potter books have been thrilling kids and adults world-wide ever since the first book's 1997 release. You don't have to have a hex cast on you to know that the blending of these timeless classics will mean hours of fun for you, your friends and your family.

Develop your magical prowess, your daring, your powers of deduction and, of course, your ability to cope with danger."

So concentrate on a very happy memory, and say, "Expecto patronum!" And, watch out, there's Owls in the Wind!

PCS is now working on these preliminary rules. You start the game as a first year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The object of the game will be to circle the list of properties, for each year you are at the school. Passing Number 4 Privet Drive, will add a year to your grade.

You start with gold Galleions from Gringott's Wizarding Bank, and pick your student name, The One of the tokens is chosen at random for you. For example, if you start as Harry, you begin with 1000 gold, no spells and no knowledge points. If you start as Ron Weasley, you begin with 100 gold, 10 spells and 5 knowledge points. If you start as Hermione Granger, you begin with 500 gold, 0 spells and 10 knowledge points. The properties will include shops in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade plus HOGWARTS classrooms and environs. The first one to land on a property gets double points, then every other person landing on it has to transfer some of their house points to them. Your triumphs will earn you house points, while any rule-breaking will take them away, which at the end of the year, will be converted to knowledge points. The first player to complete seven years of school will collect 1000 extra Galleions. When the game is over, each player's points and money will be added up to determine the winner.

At an early stage in the game development, PCS will try to contact J. K. Rowling or Warner Brothers to get the rights to release this Harry Potter game for the blind. Stay tune for further development. PCS welcomes suggestions on the concepts outlined of the Harry Potter game. Send any comments to Phil at, phil@pcsgames.net.

PCS is also selling Pacman Talks that plays on computers with Windows 98, ME and XP. It uses the GMA Games engine and has an MSRP of $30 US. For more information, and to download the demo, visit the PCS Games web site at http://www.pcsgames.net.

Games for the Blind is another company marketing all kinds of games for the blind. These games were written by a blind programmer and can be played by everyone including the blind. Check it out for yourself.

Bavisoft. Software for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a company marketing a game called Grizzly Gulch Western Extravaganza. (I have this game and I really enjoy playing it.)

It's like nothing you've experienced before--a game you have to hear to believe.

Grizzly Gulch Western Extravaganza™ is a virtual world set in the Old West created purely from sound imagery. You will have the chance to meet and interact with many crazy characters as you explore the town of Grizzly Gulch. Would you like to settle into the Saloon for a game of chance, or try to make a name for yourself upholding the law against some of the baddest outlaws in the West with your trusty six shooter in blazing arcade style gun battles? It's all up to you.

While other games are only arcade style shoot-em ups, or adventures with puzzles and mazes, Bavisoft's Grizzly Gulch is both and more. Arcade style action sequences as a gunfighter and earning your keep in the hotel whacking rats, adventure style evolving storyline, as well as a fully playable casino. The casino is a full software package all by itself, but with Grizzly Gulch Western Extravaganza it is included.

Absolutely no vision is required to play this game.

Features:

Simple 4 key control interface
 
CD quality stereo sound
 
Original music
 
Professional voice talent
 
Over 1000 digitally recorded sound effects and dialog lines
 
Full stereo environments for each of the many locations
 
Complete audio help which can be accessed at any time with the "Quick Help" feature
 
Interactive evolving storyline
 
Create a character and save your progress
 
Explore the town and get to know it's inhabitants
 
Fully functional town Bank where you can deposit and withdrawal the money you earn, as well as take out a loan if necessary
 
Purchase items in the General Store
 
Drop into the saloon to win money at 4 different casino games
 
Receive bounty mission assignments in Marshall's office and lock captured outlaws in the jail
 
Interact with townspeople to solve puzzles and gain items as well as clues to outlaws' whereabouts
 
Improve your reputation as you complete bounty missions. Track the outlaws to their hideouts then fight it out to bring them in.
 
Exciting action sequences including "whack-a-rat".
 
Arcade style gun-fighting and target range
 
Practice your shooting skills by picking off flying bottles at the target range
 
Put your gun-fighting ability to the test foiling bank robberies, fighting off ambushes, and bringing the outlaws and their gangs to justice in blazing gun battles.
 
Fight off surprise rattlesnake attacks while traveling through the desert
 
4 different games in the saloon
 
Full featured Blackjack including Double Down, Split, and Insurance
 
Quick poker
 
Slot machine
 
Shell game
 
Two difficulty levels
 
Surprise plot twists
 
Much more...
 

This is the game you've been waiting for!

Minimum Requirements:

IBM Compatible PC
 
Win 95/98/2000/NT or XP
 
Pentium 60
 
16 MB RAM
 
CD-ROM Drive
 
190 MB Hard Drive Space
 
DirectX 6.1 or above (Included)
 
DirectX compatible stereo sound card
 
Speakers (headphones recommended)

Be sure you check this game out. It is fun to play.

Kitchen's Inc is another company run by a blind programmer that have spent hours developing games for DOS and Windows for the blind. All the games on his site are free. There are some games for DOS, Windows, and Windows text to speech games. (I have played a few of those games and I found it to be fun.)

Another company I have found recently that makes computer games for the blind is called LWorks! The company have been operating for about 2 years now. There are some games that are free and others to purchase. For those to purchase, you can try the game before buying them.

Try before you buy

LWorks Arcade Volume 1 A collection of word and logic games to challenge your mind. This collection of games cost $12.00 and contains 5 games which make you think and challenge your brain. Give it a try.

Super Liam Run through over 7 levels of non-stopped action in this side scrolling adventure. This game cost $25.00. Give this game a try.

Super Shot boggle your mind and your ears in this fast paced game. This game is available for $10.00. Give this one a try. I believe this is the lowest I have seen in a talking game for the blind other than the ones that would be free.

Free Games

Super Egg Hunt It's the follow up to Egg Hunt. More eggs, and more surprises! This game is for all ages. This game should be fun to play with.

The Great Toy Robbery a fun and exciting Christmas game. Try this game out for fun whether it's Christmas season or not. We feel that this game can be played year round.

Lockpick Grab the loot, race the clock, and the cops! This ought to be a fun game. Watch out for the cop. Personal comment: My brother used to be a cop for about 27 years if I am right.

Pigeon panic shoot the pigeons to rack up points, and bragging rights. This game should be fun.

Egg Hunt Grab easter eggs in this fun game for all ages.

Most of the games in this section except for one will work with Windows 98 and beyond. Check each game's specifications before purchasing or downloading them.

Lighttech Interactive is marketing a game called Light Locator which you can download right now. in Light locator you play as detective Henry Johnson as he tries to save a whole city by deactivating the mega radioactive bomb A group of terrorists has planted in it's main sky scraper! features include:

totally self-voicing (no screen reader required)
 
3 skill levels to play on
 
the ability to view your local top ten scores for the 3 difficulty levels
 
authentic sound effects,
 
and more!


 

An Audio demonstration of the game was reviewed by Chris Skarstad
and was posted on Blind Cool Tech as of March 20, 2006
.

SoundSupport have the following accessible games for the blind:

 

The Curb Game --Life isn't really exciting when you're a hedge-hog living on a curb. But life is what you make of it! So get your quills moving because there's bound to be some excitement waiting in the place all hedge-hogs know as...The Other Curb!

In The Curb Game you are a small hedge-hog living on a city curb, which isn't really that exciting. So, as a hedge-hog, you get your thrills from crossing the road as many times possible! Not an easy task because you may either end up as roadkill or die from boredom if you stay on your curb.

The Curb Game is developed by AudioGames' Richard van Tol and Sander Huiberts (with support from Hugo Verweij). With this game we research the possibilities of designing a game fully based on sound (making it directly accessible for blind players) while it also features graphics (hybrid). This means that during the game you'll be able to turn off the graphics and continue to play on sound alone! In this, The Curb Game is unique! We deliberately chose the subject "crossing the road" for this game because of several reasons. First, the tension of crossing the road while not being able to see the traffic is something most blind people have experienced in real life. It is this tension that we wanted to use in a game. The second reason is that we wanted to present seeing people (since we were making a hybrid game) with a situation blind people face everyday. The Curb Game is also an attempt to increase the very limited amount of online (Shockwave) games for blind gamers. Be sure to read the rules posted on the web site.

 

Drive--Cycom Testlab is developing a new vehicle and YOU are chosen to test it. So get on board and drive!

"Drive" is a racing game completely based on sound. The object of the game is to test the maximum speed of a newly developed vehicle by driving as fast as possible. The player has to pick up boosters that are on the track to gain speed. The player is accompanied by co-pilot Bob and his obstinate comments.

Drive is a racing game, completely based on sound. In 'Drive' you will be testing a new vehicle named "Shuttle" at the Cycom TestLab. Your Shuttle is connected to a track. Your goal is to test the maximum speed of the Shuttle. This is done by accelerating and by picking up and activating boosters you pass on the track. You'll receive points for any boosters you pick up. During the ride you will be accompanied by co-pilot Bob. Use the cursorkey-up to accelerate. To brake, press the space-bar. You can gain speed by using Boosters. First you pick-up a Booster by pressing the left-cursorkey. Then you activate the booster by pressing the right-cursorkey. You can pick-up up to 3 boosters without activating them. Remember, boosters are only active temporarely. To reach higher speeds you need to activate multiple boosters. Go to the web site to download their program and follow instructions on how to play the game.

These two games were reviewed by Kristian Whawell on Blind Cool Tech posted on March 1, 2006. Listen to the reviews and have fun.

DanZ Games--more accessible games for the blind!

To get a list of accessible games for the blind select this link

Audyssey Magazine is a quarterly magazine letting blind people and any sighted person in the gaming community know what is going on in the gaming community especially games that are considered to be speech friendly. All the back issues of the magazine is free and is available from several web sites. As soon as I can find the sources, I will list it on this page at a later time.

• Audyssey Magazine--read all old issues of this popular VI-gaming magazine in HTML format

Community Forum -- discuss with other audiogamers

To get a site map of community forums, resources, links, news of accessible games, select this link.

 

Back\ Return