Saturday, March 2, 2024
spot_img
Html code here! Replace this with any non empty raw html code and that's it.

Apple’s New Software Adds Cognitive, Speech & Vision Accessibility Features

Apple announced upcoming software features for cognitive, vision, hearing and mobility accessibility, along with innovative tools for individuals who are nonspeaking or at risk of losing their ability to speak. These updates draw on advances in hardware and software, include on-device machine learning to ensure user privacy, and expand on Apple’s long-standing commitment to making products for everyone.
Set for later in 2023, users with cognitive disabilities can use iPhone and iPad with greater ease and independence with Assistive Access; nonspeaking individuals can type to speak during calls and conversations with Live Speech; and those at risk of losing their ability to speak can use Personal Voice to create a synthesized voice that sounds like them for connecting with family and friends. For users who are blind or have low vision, Detection Mode in Magnifier offers Point and Speak, which identifies text users point toward and reads it out loud to help them interact with physical objects such as household appliances.
“At Apple, we’ve always believed that the best technology is technology built for everyone,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a company press statement. “We’re excited to share incredible new features that build on our long history of making technology accessible, so that everyone has the opportunity to create, communicate and do what they love.”
Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives, added, “Accessibility is part of everything we do at Apple. These groundbreaking features were designed with feedback from members of disability communities every step of the way, to support a diverse set of users and help people connect in new ways.”

Assistive Access Supports Users with Cognitive Disabilities

Assistive Access distills experiences across the Camera, Photos, Music, Calls, and Messages apps on iPhone to their essential features in order to lighten their cognitive load for users.Assistive Access uses innovations in design to distill apps and experiences to their essential features in order to lighten cognitive load. The feature reflects feedback from people with cognitive disabilities and their trusted supporters — focusing on the activities they enjoy — and that are foundational to iPhone and iPad: connecting with loved ones, capturing and enjoying photos, and listening to music.
Assistive Access includes a customized experience for Phone and FaceTime, which have been combined into a single Calls app, as well as Messages, Camera, Photos and Music. The feature offers a distinct interface with high contrast buttons and large text labels, as well as tools to help trusted supporters tailor the experience for the individual they support. For example, for users who prefer communicating visually, Messages includes an emoji-only keyboard and the option to record a video message to share with loved ones. Users and trusted supporters can also choose between a more visual, grid-based layout for their Home Screen and apps, or a row-based layout for users who prefer text.
“The intellectual and developmental disability community is bursting with creativity, but technology often poses physical, visual or knowledge barriers for these individuals,” said Katy Schmid, senior director of National Program Initiatives at The Arc of the United States. “To have a feature that provides a cognitively accessible experience on iPhone or iPad — that means more open doors to education, employment, safety and autonomy. It means broadening worlds and expanding potential.”

Live Speech and Personal Voice Advance Speech Accessibility

With Live Speech on iPhone, iPad and Mac, users can type what they want to say to have it be spoken out loud during phone and FaceTime calls as well as in-person conversations. Users can also save commonly used phrases to chime in quickly during lively conversation with family, friends and colleagues. Live Speech has been designed to support millions of people globally who are unable to speak or who have lost their speech over time.
For users at risk of losing their ability to speak — such as those with a recent diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other conditions that can progressively impact speaking ability — Personal Voice is a simple and secure way to create a voice that sounds like them.Live Speech on iPhone, iPad, and Mac gives users the ability to type what they want to say and have it be spoken out loud during phone and FaceTime calls, as well as in-person conversations.
Users can create a Personal Voice by reading along with a randomized set of text prompts to record 15 minutes of audio on iPhone or iPad. This speech accessibility feature uses on-device machine learning to keep users’ information private and secure, and integrates seamlessly with Live Speech so users can speak with their Personal Voice when connecting with loved ones.
“At the end of the day, the most important thing is being able to communicate with friends and family,” said Philip Green, board member and ALS advocate at the Team Gleason nonprofit, who has experienced significant changes to his voice since receiving his ALS diagnosis in 2018. “If you can tell them you love them, in a voice that sounds like you, it makes all the difference in the world — and being able to create your synthetic voice on your iPhone in just 15 minutes is extraordinary.”

Detection Mode in Magnifier Introduces Point and Speak for Users Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

Point and Speak in Magnifier makes it easier for users with vision disabilities to interact with physical objects that have several text labels. For example, while using a household appliance — such as a microwave — Point and Speak combines input from the camera, the LiDAR Scanner and on-device machine learning to announce the text on each button as users move their finger across the keypad. Point and Speak is built into the Magnifier app on iPhone and iPad, works great with VoiceOver, and can be used with other Magnifier features such as People Detection, Door Detection and Image Descriptions to help users navigate their physical environment.
The Voice Control Guide offers tips and tricks about using voice commands as an alternative to touch and typing across iPhone, iPad, and Mac
The Voice Control Guide offers tips and tricks about using voice commands as an alternative to touch and typing across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Additional Features
  • Deaf or hard-of-hearing users can pair Made for iPhone hearing devices directly to Mac and customize them for their hearing comfort.
  • Voice Control adds phonetic suggestions for text editing so users who type with their voice can choose the right word out of several that might sound alike, like “do,” “due” and “dew.” Additionally, with Voice Control Guide, users can learn tips and tricks about using voice commands as an alternative to touch and typing across iPhone, iPad and Mac.
  • Users with physical and motor disabilities who use Switch Control can turn any switch into a virtual game controller to play their favorite games on iPhone and iPad.
  • For users with low vision, Text Size is now easier to adjust across Mac apps such as Finder, Messages, Mail, Calendar and Notes.
  • Users who are sensitive to rapid animations can automatically pause images with moving elements, such as GIFs, in Messages and Safari.
  • For VoiceOver users, Siri voices sound natural and expressive even at high rates of speech feedback; users can also customize the rate at which Siri speaks to them, with options ranging from 0.8x to 2x.

Are you looking forward to accessing these new features? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

0FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,619FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles