Yahoo introduces new Accessability Page

October 18, 2014

Yahoo Statement:

We put our users first in all that we do, and accessibility is no exception.  Accessibility is about ensuring that every user, regardless of his or her capabilities , can fully enjoy using Yahoo’s products. That is why we are excited to introduce our newAccessibility page, hosted by the Yahoo Accessibility Team.

The Accessibility team is based in Sunnyvale, performs user studies and works side-by-side with our product teams during development to make sure that our mobile and web products can be used and enjoyed by everyone. Some of the ways our products become more accessible are through the use of high-contrast colors, resizable text, alt-text (descriptions) for images and user interface elements, and support for closed captions and subtitles on videos.

Even the design and layout have been deeply considered to provide excellent accessibility, making it easy to read, understand and navigate.

For more info:


Stem cell therapy success for macular degeneration

October 18, 2014

The study (pdf) represents the first evidence for the long-term safety of the pioneering therapy, which restored some vision to more than half of the patients who took part in the trial.

There had been concerns that the cells could be rejected by the body’s immune system or become overactive and grow into tumours. But after following the patients for up to three years, researchers said the treatment appeared to be safe.

The trial focused on 18 patients with two different types of macular degeneration (9 with Stargardt’s, 9 with dry AMD ). The diseases have no effective treatments and are among the leading causes of blindness in adults and children in the developed world.

Effectiveness is yet to be proven.

For more info:


October 11, 2014

Most high-tech glasses, like Google Glass, are geared toward putting more information in front of your eyes. That way, you aren’t always looking down at your phone.

That’s cool, but no one is actually making glasses themselves more useful for people who actually have trouble seeing. Until now.

A computer science professor at Berkeley, along with a few compatriots, recently published a paper about using “smart” glasses to cure vision problems.

The glasses work by using front-facing cameras that track incoming light and automatically adjust the lens to best fit your vision. You won’t need bifocals because the entire lens adjusts automatically so you can see at any distance.

The test model was built with an iPod touch, video camera and a variety of glasses. It worked, which means that this tech could be going home with you soon.

Other Developments:

The OpenGlass Project is using Google Glass technology to develop applications that can help blind and visually impaired users identify objects and environments via established crowd-sourcing technologies.

The following videos demonstrate user trials of two OpenGlass applications in development that can inform blind and visually impaired users about critical features and/or objects in their environments:

  • The first application, called Question-Answer, allows blind and visually impaired users to use Google Glass to take a picture with a question attached, which is sent to “the cloud” for answers from sighted respondents viaTwitter or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. The answer is read aloud to the user through the bone conduction speaker that is part of the Google Glass headset.
  • The second application, called Memento, automatically recites notes when the blind or visually impaired user faces, or looks at, a recognizable scene. To use Memento, sighted users must first record descriptions or commentary about environmental features or a room setup. When a blind or visually impaired person using Google Glass approaches the same spot, Google Glass will recognize the feature or scene and read back the pre-recorded commentary.


OrCam, an Israeli start-up that has developed a camera-based system intended to give the visually impaired the ability to both “read” easily and move freely.

The OrCam device is a small camera worn in the style of Google Glass, connected by a thin cable to a portable computer designed to fit in the wearer’s pocket. The system clips on to the wearer’s glasses with a small magnet and uses a bone-conduction speaker to offer clear speech as it reads aloud the words or object pointed to by the user.

The system is designed to both recognize and speak “text in the wild,” a term used to describe newspaper articles as well as bus numbers, and objects as diverse as landmarks, traffic lights and the faces of friends.

It currently recognizes English-language text and beginning this week will be sold through the company’s Web site for $2,500, about the cost of a midrange hearing aid. It is the only product, so far, of the privately held company, which is part of the high-tech boom in Israel.


More ideas coming…

Hope for blind as scientists find stem cell reservoir in human eye

October 4, 2014

Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered stem cells in the human eye which can be transformed into light sensitive cells and potentially reverse blindness. The reservoir of stem cells is in an area of the eye called the corneal limbus. It could offer a potential cure for the hundreds of thousands of people suffering macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa, which are both caused by the loss of photo-receptor cells in the eye.
For more info: