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Posts Tagged ‘Assistive Technologies’

I presented on the topic of ‘technologies of disability in virtual worlds’ at an event hosted by Dr Anna Hickey-Moody in the Department of Gender & Cultural Studies, School of Philosophical & Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney on the 31st July 2009.

The seminar focused on understanding technology as an act of thought and a material craft. The speakers, Dr Anna Hickey-Moody, Professor Gerard Goggin and Dr Denise Wood discussed material technologies such as film, virtual worlds and telecommunications through technologies of thought intended to open up bio-political conceptualizations of disability.

You can listen to a podcast of the three presentations from this url: htttp://www.unisanet.UniSA.edu.au/3dvle/media/techdis.mp3 (32 MB MP3 File)

My presentation is also available as a Quicktime movie download: htttp://www.unisanet.UniSA.edu.au/3dvle/media/r/dwood.mov (40 MB .mov file)

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My segment on Radio 5RPH during the Lifestyles program on the 27th July 2009 focused on challenges associated with ensuring Web 2.0 and 3D virtual worlds are accessible. We touched on the Boston conference and also the implications of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2, which were finally approved in December 2008. These revised guidelines take into account the broader range of technology devices used to access the Web as well as the increasing importance of rich media content. I also spoke briefly about our Australian and Learning Teaching Council Grant and our work in creating a more accessible 3D virtual learning environment.

You can download the podcast of the radio segment from http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/3dvle/media/rph_ll2_250709.mp3

We are hoping to have a discussion with Bruce Maguire, project officer with the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee on the Committee’s response to the approval of the W3C WCAG 2.0 guidelines in a future segment.

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Denise and the VHH presenting via SL at the Accessing the Future Conference in Boston

Denise and the VHH team presenting via SL at the Accessing the Future Conference in Boston

We presented a poster session at the IEEE-IBM sponsored Accessing the Future Conference in Boston from the 20th-21st July. It was one of those terrific mixed media events with the programmer from our project team, Charles Morris, presenting live, and three of us presenting virtually through Second Life and via Skype. We presented on our collaborative project involving Virtual Helping Hands (VHH) and the assistive technologies under development including Max Voice, a text chat to voice application that functions in Second Life and Max the virtual guide dog. We are incorporating these technologies into the open source environment we are developing through the Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant – our focus at present is on adapting an open source viewer so that these features can be used with Second Life or other emerging 3D virtual worlds such as OpenSim. You can learn more about our ALTC funded project from the project site: http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/3dvle/ and the Virtual Guide Dog project site: http://www.virtualguidedog.com/

After our presentation we were invited to establish a showcase of the assistive technologies under development on the IEEE island in Second Life. We have claimed our virtual space and will begin development soon. I will be posting more news and images from the showcase in coming weeks.

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I spoke about the Helen Keller event and accessibility in 3D virtual worlds such as Second Life last Saturday.

You can download and listen to the radio interview from here: htttp://www.unisanet.UniSA.edu.au/3dvle/media/rph_ll1_270609.mp3

I will be doing a monthly segment on interesting developments in Web 2.0 and 3D virtual worlds on the last Saturday of each month at 5 pm Adelaide time in the Peter Greco Lifestyle program.

Tune in for interesting topics for discussion or blog me and suggest topics of interest that you want to share with the community: 1197 AM Adelaide: http://www.rphadelaide.org.au/Webcast.html

Podcasts from the program will be posted here each month. Please feel free to add your comments, ask questions or contribute your suggestions.

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The Helen Keller Day in Second Life was launched at midnight 27th June 2009 PST by Simon Stephens (AKA Simon Walsh).

The event was organised by Virtual Helping Hands and a coalition of community volunteers in Second Life. Helen Keller Day is a community-event exploring how and why to employ, educate, entertain, and engage everyone through virtual worlds.

The Helen Keller Day is an event dedicated to raising the level of awareness of Second Life Residents who have disabilities.

There are several keynote speakers including Keller Johnson Thompson, the great grandniece of Helen and Linden Lab’s Education and Healthcare Developer, John Lester, AKA Pathfinder Linden. You will hear from experts in the fields of virtual education, employment, social engagement and entertainment. There will be building contests featuring skilled builders doing accessible builds before our virtual eyes. There will be a world premiere “movie” featuring “Max,” the virtual guide dog developed in Second Life for blind or visually impaired SL users.

Our presentation focused on accessible technological solutions for teaching in 3D virtual worlds based on our research, which has been supported by an Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant. The programmer working with us on the project, Charles Morris (AKA Charles Mountain) is the co-founder of Virtual Helping Hands and a member of the team who developed the virtual guide dog.

Read more about our presentation from the news release and our 3D virtual learning project Website.

Denise Wood (AKA Denlee Wobbit) and Charles Morris (AKA Charles Mountain) presenting with Max the virtual guide dog

Denise Wood (AKA Denlee Wobbit) and Charles Morris (AKA Charles Mountain) presenting with Max the virtual guide dog

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