There are some interesting results, both positive and negative, amongst the social indicators in the Zero Project Report 2012.  For example, on the positive side, much seems to have been done both to ensure the accessibility of buildings open to the public and that, for those who need it, sign language is increasingly a sine qua non in the courts.  However, on the negative side, a great deal of work still needs to be done both in ensuring that, in national emergencies, early warning systems are accessible to all persons with disabilities, and that buses in countries’ capitals, too, really are made accessible to all.

VerbaVoice_student

(c)Hristo-Trajkovski

VerbaVoice provides a unique solution to the barriers deaf and hard of hearing people currently face in their daily life – especially in education and on the labour market.

Via an online platform, any deaf or hard of hearing person can book and connect to a speech-to-text reporter (STTR) whenever necessary: the voice of the speaker is transmitted to a laptop or mobile phone, transcribed in real time by the STTR, who is working from home, and displayed on the screen of the laptop or phone of the deaf or hard of hearing user.

The STTR “re-voices” the content word for word so that speech recognition software – trained specifically to decipher his or her voice – can convert the spoken content into text. As the text is being produced, it is corrected by the STTR before being transmitted to the client’s laptop or mobile phone with a minimal time lag. This is only possible because VerbaVoice is putting a strong focus on technology development and has combined existing and in-house software solutions (patent pending) to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Blind Women Detect Breast Cancer

Breast palpation - Blind women detect breast cancer | copyright Ashoka

Discovering hands uses the special skills of visually impaired women to make a difference in the early detection of breast cancer. Blind women are trained with a standardised diagnostic method and are then based at physicians’ offices. There they examine women for irregularities in the breast, aiming to identify any potential nodes as early as possible.

This approach makes a real difference in the early detection of breast cancer as it: 1) makes use of visually impaired persons’ special cognitive skills and 2) includes a 30-minute examination of the breast (whereas the physician typically spends only a few minutes on examining the breast).

Parallel to this, discovering hands provides a meaningful and important employment opportunity for visually impaired women, creating a real “win-win” situation for breast cancer patients and blind women.

Accessibility Information for Wheelchair Users - Raúl Aguayo-Krauthausen

Accessibility Information for Wheelchair Users - Raúl Aguayo-Krauthausen

Wheelmap.org is an online map of wheelchair accessible and inaccessible places, providing a simple and efficient way towards better inclusion for wheelchair users.

Over the world. Every user can easily tag places as accessible, partly accessible or not accessible to wheelchairs, and a blog and other features allow for additional information sharing and community organising.

The platform works with various input devices, including mobile phones, and provides open programming interfaces for third party applications and websites.