Watch this new and improved LEGO prosthetic arm in action

David Aguilar Amphoux (aka Hand Solo) just built an upgrade to his original LEGO prosthetic arm. Very ingenious! Read the rest

DRM, the World Cup, and what happens when a red team plays a green team

Before the W3C green-lit its DRM for web-video, we at EFF made a plea to allow bypassing the DRM to add accessibility features like shifting colors to accommodate color-blind people; the leadership dismissed the idea as a mere nice-to-have that companies could be relied on to fix themselves. Read the rest

New XBox and Windows game controller for people with disabilities

Microsoft's new accessible game controller has a retro vibe, enormous buttons, and a range of attachments tailored to specific disabilities.

The new Xbox Adaptive Controller, which will be available later this year, can be connected to external buttons, switches, joysticks and mounts, giving gamers with a wide range of physical disabilities the ability to customize their setups. The most flexible adaptive controller made by a major gaming company, the device can be used to play Xbox One and Windows 10 PC games and supports Xbox Wireless Controller features such as button remapping.

Reminds me of the original arcade Street Fighter "punchable" buttons (see the photo from Ars Technica, below). There's a certain irony here, because (in their primitive 80s form) they were unreliable and made the game too difficult, leading arcade operators to replace them with normal buttons. Because the punch-plates were pressure sensitive, though, the game required six normal buttons to play properly, kicking off the myriads-of-buttons era in which games became markedly less accessible.

Read the rest

Wonderful marble run made out of fidget spinners, and a parable about accessibility and abled people

Fidget spinners are wonderful. Read the rest

Portugal passes the world's first reasonable DRM law

Last June, Portugal enacted Law No. 36/2017 which bans putting DRM on public domain media or government works, and allows the public to break DRM that interferes with their rights in copyright, including private copying, accessibility adaptation, archiving, reporting and commentary and more. Read the rest

This 'wheelchair dance' company asks, 'Where's the disability?'

At the Disability Rights Legal Center fundraiser gala this past weekend in Los Angeles, Apple was presented with DRLC's Business and Technology Award for their accessibility work, and 'Infinite Flow - A Wheelchair Dance Company' was featured as a cause auction recipient for an Apple Watch Series 3, which was designed with a number of accessibility-expanding features. Of particular note are its wheelchair-specific features, VoiceOver for the blind, and the Taptic Engine (haptic feedback for navigation and notification).

What's the connection between Apple Watch and wheelchair dance?

Activity on the Apple Watch is optimized for wheelchair users. taking into account different pushing techniques for varying speeds and terrain, Apple Watch tracks daily activity, encourages healthy routines through wheelchair-specific workouts, and prompts users to move with Time to Roll notifications.

(...) With sensors configured to address different surface types, inclines, and transition moments, such as moving from a wheelchair to a seat at a desk, the Apple Watch Series 3 is designed with accessibility in mind and ideal for the variety of dancers in Hamamoto's inclusive classes and performances.

Infinite Flow was founded in 2015 by Marisa Hamamoto, a professional ballroom dancer who became temporarily paralyzed, then later regained the full use of her body.

Her group is America's first professional wheelchair ballroom dance company, and works to encourage others to dance inclusively, with and without physical limitations.

At the DRLC event on the Fox Studios lot, Hamamoto and guest artist Piotr Iwanicki did a live cha cha cha performance. Read the rest

Pornhub rolls out best-in-class accessibility features for visually impaired users

Pornhub is the world's largest pornography site and they're now the world's most accessible, with a new, extensive suite of accessibility features for users with visual disabilities: alternative descriptive text for videos, a high-contrast mode for navigation, and custom color-gamut shifting for colorblind people. Read the rest

Calgary airport regrets converting disabled parking spaces into "Lexus only" parking spaces

The Calgary airport authority has apologised for a botched marketing campaign in which it sold Lexus on the idea of designating some of its parking places as "Lexus only" and then, unbeknownst to the car company, used disabled parking spots for the purpose (presumably, they were luxuriously spacious). Read the rest

DRM in web standards creates new barriers to accessibility

The World Wide Web Consortium is pressing ahead with its project to standardize a DRM system for the web, without taking any legal steps to protect people whose legitimate activities would be impaired by the DRM system. Read the rest

The W3C has overruled members' objections and will publish its DRM for videos

It's been nearly four months since the W3C held the most controversial vote in its decades-long history of standards-setting: a vote where accessibility groups, security experts, browser startups, public interest groups, human rights groups, archivists, research institutions and other worthies went up against trillions of dollars' worth of corporate muscle: the world's largest electronics, web, and content companies in a battle for the soul of the open web. Read the rest

Anti-DRM artists march on the World Wide Web Consortium today

Today, activists will gather in Cambridge, Mass to march to the offices of W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee to urge him to keep DRM out of the standards for the open web. Read the rest

Human rights coalition from the global south to W3C: don't put DRM in web standards!

The Just Net Coalition -- whose membership roll includes leading human rights organisations from across the global south -- have written urgently to the World Wide Web Coalition and its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, calling on him to intervene to stop the Consortium from publishing its first-ever DRM standard, a system for restricting video streams called Encrypted Media Extensions. Read the rest

Britons! Ask the W3C to protect disabled access, security research, archiving and innovation from DRM

With two days to go until the close of the World Wide Web Consortium members' poll on finalising DRM and publishing it as an official web standard, the UK Open Rights Group is asking Britons to write to the Consortium and its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, to advocate for a much-needed, modest compromise that would protect the open web from the world's bizarre, awful, overreaching DRM laws. Read the rest

Unesco warns the World Wide Web Consortium that DRM is incompatible with free expression

Unesco's Frank La Rue has published a letter to Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, warning him of the grave free-speech consequences of making DRM for the web without ensuring that lawful activity that requires bypassing it is also protected. Read the rest

UC Berkeley nuked 20,000 Creative Commons lectures, but they're not going away

A ruling about a DC university held that posting course videos to the open web without subtitling them violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (while keeping them private to students did not) (I know: weird), and this prompted UC Berkeley to announce the impending removal of 20,000 open courseware videos from Youtube. Read the rest

W3C at a crossroads: technology standards setter or legal arms-dealer?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an amazing, long-running open standards body that has been largely responsible for the web's growth and vibrancy, creating open standards that lets anyone make web technology and become part of the internet ecosystem. Read the rest

Popular design guides are responsible for plague of grey type

A series of recent, influential design books and articles have convinced the web's designers to go for grey-on-white type, despite the fact that many people can't read low-contrast type (and it's even worse on mobile devices, which are often read in very bright sun, on screens that have been dimmed to save battery) Read the rest

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