Archive for February, 2006

Home-listing service introduces accessibility information

February 26, 2006

The Kalamazoo Gazette – By spring the Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors will have a new tool in its Multiple Listing Service that shows the accessibility features of a home.“This will allow people to search for these features,” said Matthew W. Maire, executive vice president of the association.

“As baby boomers get older, it (accessibility) is going to be a bigger issue for all involved,” he said. “There was really nothing we had with our system to address the growing trend.”

Until now, Maire said, real-estate agents haven’t have a way to locate homes for sale that have accessible features.     (more…)

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Carnegie Mellon Scientists Show How Brain Processes Sound

February 24, 2006

California Computer News – Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that our ears use the most efficient way to process the sounds we hear, from babbling brooks to wailing babies. These results represent a significant advance in understanding how sound is encoded for transmission to the brain, according to the authors, whose work is published with an accompanying “News and Views” editorial in the Feb. 23 issue of Nature.

The research provides a new mathematical framework for understanding sound processing and suggests that our hearing is highly optimized in terms of signal coding—the process by which sounds are translated into information by our brains—for the range of sounds we experience. The same work also has far-reaching, long-term technological implications, such as providing a predictive model to vastly improve signal processing for better-quality compressed digital audio files and designing brain-like codes for cochlear implants, which restore hearing to the deaf.    (more…)

Adapting Your Home To Maximize Mobility

February 18, 2006

Work to accommodate disablilities can allow owners to age in place – By Sandra Fleishman – Washington Post Staff Writer – Stephen Bennett doesn’t need a wheelchair-accessible bathroom. But the president and chief executive of United Cerebral Palsy has lots of friends and professional acquaintances who do and says “when I have friends over, I want them to be able to go to the bathroom in my house.” (more…)

Adaptations for Universal Design

February 18, 2006

By Sandra Fleishman – The Washington Post The Americans With Disabilities Act, the 1990 law that requires public spaces to be accessible, does not establish guidelines for building accessible private homes or adapting them. The key, according to design experts, is to make the changes that best suit the person who lives or visits there.   (more…)

John Belluso, Who Wrote Plays About Disability, Is Dead at 36

February 15, 2006

By JESSE McKINLEY for the NYT – John Belluso, a young playwright who translated his own experiences with physical disability into a prolific body of promising work, died on Friday at a hotel in Manhattan. He was 36 and lived in Los Angeles.  

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Blind patrons sue Target for site inaccessibility

February 10, 2006

By Michelle Meyers for News.com – Bruce Sexton says he’s one of many blind individuals who can live more independently because of the Internet.

When it comes to shopping, for example, the 24-year-old college student doesn’t have to get to and navigate brick-and-mortar stores or ask employees for help. Rather, with the help of a keyboard and screen-reading software, he can navigate a Web site and make his purchase.

Or can he?

Sexton, along with a blind advocacy group, filed a class action lawsuit this week against Target, alleging that the retail giant’s Web site is inaccessible to the blind and thus violates a California law that incorporates the Americans with Disabilities Act.   (more…)

Blind Cal student sues Target

February 8, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle

Suit charges retailer’s Web site cannot be used by the sightless – Henry K. Lee – Chronicle Staff Writer – OAKLAND — A blind UC Berkeley student has filed a class-action lawsuit against Target Corp., saying the retailer is committing civil-rights violations because its Web site is inaccessible to those who cannot see.  (more…)