Multifunctionality in the Accessible World

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The time has come for a union of technology that enables access to information from the non AT world. Single devices covering many functions and combining size, cost and access to standard equipment is quickly becoming the norm.

This includes multifunctional software and hardware. Three things to consider when adapting new technology: • Multiple Uses • Learning Curve • Life Cycle

For instance: Does your Braille printer have graphics capability? Does it have ink and color? Will it print two sided? Can you communicate with the seeing world and the Braille community with one device?

How about your Smart phone or Tablet? While one brand held all of the AT cards in the past, now all cell and tablet manufacturers are offering AT functions, and eager to add more.

Can your Smart Phone read 2 dimensional barcodes, magnify, differentiate and translate text in over 50 languages? Can it add recordings to existing one dimensional barcodes for later identification of objects by scanning at a later date? Does it keep a record of documents that you can delete at will? Does it connect to your Braille devices? Can you learn it in a reasonable amount of time and does it utilize the functions and expertise you have already invested time in?

If you have said yes you are probably using the free VOICEYE app for smart phones. Yes it’s free. And the learning curve for a completely blind individual is minutes. No kidding. A vision impaired person will need a little less. It’s a stellar example from ViewPlus Technologies of combining a standard widely accessed device and replacing other equipment for single functionality. Let’s address life cycle. Personal smart mobile device use is at about 70-72% in the US among adults. The same figure is tracking among the vision impaired. It doesn’t look like this technology will be waning in the near future. Look for applications and devices that partner with this technology. An application can be updated and features can be added in seconds. Your smart phone company will offer you incentives to upgrade every two years, and make it easy to keep your applications and data transparently. So life cycle of the technology is fluid, but always to the benefit of the end user.

ViewPlus Technologies is the world’s third largest Braille printer manufacturer. Established in 1996, ViewPlus is the leader in Braille graphics and color printing. Also a leader in research and development of new assistive technology products ViewPlus is the sole US distributor of VOICEYE 2D Barcode Makers for Microsoft Word, Win 8 and Adobe InDesign. For more information please visit www.viewplus.com.

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