Accessibility, Making and DIY Communities
John Schimmel, DIYAbility
As software and hardware become more accessible and APIs support the digital and physical world - people with and without disabilities have new tools to make their world.
The folks from DIYAbility are going to come discuss some of these technologies and how they make a difference for people with disabilities.
Machine stenography has existed for more than a century, but it's only been capable of communicating with computers for the last two decades, and both the hardware and software have been so prohibitively expensive that only a small number of professional stenographers have had access to it. Plover is the first open source project intended to bring steno to amateurs as well as professionals, at a tremendous reduction in cost. Realtime captioning is the most well known application of stenography in the accessibility sphere, but it also has tremendous potential for allowing conversational-speed text-to-speech for people who don't use their voices to speak, and possible utility in compensating for various language disabilities due to its largely phonetic mechanisms of text production. In addition, stenography is an extremely promising professional field for people with vision loss who have trained their auditory processing skills on screen readers, and might offer a partial solution to the pervasive underemployment affecting many people with vision loss.