Friday, August 29, 2014

Bureau of Engraving and Printing to Distribute Free Currency Readers

Logo: Bureau of Engraving
and Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) will distribute free currency reader devices to people who are blind or visually impaired as part of an effort to improve access to printed money. BEP will begin a four-month pilot program on September 2 in partnership with the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) that will enable NLS patrons to pre-order the devices. NLS administers a free library program that circulates braille and audio materials to approximately 400,000 people through a national network of cooperating libraries. BEP will use this pilot phase to test ordering and distribution processes and to gauge demand.

A nationwide roll-out of the program will be initiated early next year. Starting on January 2, 2015, currency readers will be widely available to all U.S. citizens or persons legally residing in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired. To request a currency reader, those who are not NLS patrons must submit an application signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility. For further information on the program or applying for a currency reader, visit BEP's website.

The U.S. Department of Education and BEP previously released apps for mobile devices that scan and identify currency images. There is an app for Apple iOS platforms (EyeNote®) and another for Android phones (IDEAL Currency Reader ®).

Friday, August 8, 2014

ODOT - Long Range Plan

A lack of accessible, affordable and convenient transportation remains one of the most-often mentioned barriers to employment for people with disabilities.  You can play a part in development of the state’s future transportation priorities by providing your comments at the ODOT website on long-range transportation planning:

Scroll to the “We Want Your Comments” form to give ODOT planners your views on current transportation needs and the direction the state should go in funding transportation improvements in the coming years.

New Mobile App for Visually Impaired Airline Passengers

SFO Unveils Mobile App for Visually-Impaired Passengers

Airport demonstrates prototype phone application which can guide passengers through terminal

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) today unveiled a prototype version of a smartphone application which can help visually-impaired passengers to navigate through an airport terminal.  The app was developed through San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, which paired SFO with the, a leader in indoor navigation technology, and was developed in a relatively short span of 16 weeks.

“This groundbreaking new innovation offers visually-impaired passengers something remarkable…the ability to navigate through SFO independently without assistance,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “I appreciate the collaboration with and the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, made possible by Mayor Ed Lee’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program. This program demonstrates Mayor Lee’s commitment to innovation.”

The prototype app works in conjunction with approximately 500 beacons located throughout the terminal to audibly call out various points of interest, including gate boarding areas, restaurants, and even power outlets. The prototype version will undergo additional testing and refinement before being released for use by the traveling public.