Tag Archive

accessibility

Like renting Redbox movies? LightHouse is seeking blind California residents for paid usability study

In 2014, the LightHouse settled a class-action lawsuit with Redbox Automated Retail LLC, which required Redbox to improve accessibility of their movie rental kiosks in California. As a result of the lawsuit, Redbox agreed to make its approximately 3,600 movie and video game rental kiosks accessible to blind users. You can now browse, select and return movies with headphones and a text-to-speech interface controlled via touchpad, thanks to careful collaboration between LightHouse and Redbox. Now, Redbox wants to make sure its accessibility measures are working to meet the needs of its blind users. And that’s where you come in.

Help the LightHouse test and ensure accessibility of Redbox movie rental kiosks! Sign up to become a tester by December 31 and try out Redbox’s new platform for accessibility. Four statewide studies will be conducted beginning January 2018.

You’ll be asked to test the following functions to determine its effectiveness for blind users:

  • Accessing information with the user interface touch pad
  • Browsing through options and locate your desired movie
  • Renting a movie
  • Returning a movie

Gratuity:

  • Participants will be compensated with a $150 Visa gift card upon completion of the study survey

What is required:

  • Two visits to a Redbox kiosk convenient to your location. Redbox Kiosks are located outside and inside supermarkets and retail centers throughout CA and can be found via www.redbox.com
  • Independently operate the kiosk functions and go through the tasks without sighted assistance
  • Headphones to hear the speech output prompts
  • Debit or credit card to pay for the movie rental
  • Provide your transportation to and from the kiosk location
  • Two visits are needed to complete the study, one visit to rent the movie and one visit to return the movie.
  • Allow approximately 20 minutes per visit to navigate the interface, to browse, rent  and/or return the movie
  • Please be aware that other customers may wish to use the kiosk during the study
  • After each visit, you must complete a survey with your findings
  • The initial testing period will take place from January 12 through January 26. Note that there will be three additional test periods in April, July and October 2018.

Sign up to become a tester by emailing redbox@lighthouse-sf.org by December 31. Please note that you are responsible for your transportation to and from Redbox kiosks and incur the normal risks associated with your travel. Testers must be 18 years or older.

San Joaquin RTD Introduces Accessible Transit Maps in Collaboration with LightHouse’s MAD Lab and CCBVI

Just last week, San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) launched Talk to Me Maps, a set of audio and tactile maps of transit boarding areas, in hopes of increasing access to the local transit system for people who are blind and low vision.

With money from a state grant, San Joaquin RTD collaborated with Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CCBVI) and LightHouse’s Media and Accessible Design Lab to produce large map books that not only share details of the region’s major bus stations in braille, but can be read by a “smart pen.” When moved around the tactile map, the pen speaks to the user to audibly share information about the physical layout of each station and which buses are going where.

The program will be yet another tool in the toolbox for people who are blind or low vision to easily get around town on RTD. It’s a step toward independence and self-reliance for thousands of San Joaquin County residents who are blind or have low vision.

“I’m just unbelievably grateful,” says Joni Bauer, a mobility specialist at CCBVI and a board member at the San Joaquin Regional Transit District. “I’ve been around a long time, and none of this was in anybody’s vision 40 years ago. It’s really amazing.”

The “Talk To Me Maps,” as they’re known, have been in the works for a couple of years. Bauer had heard about our accessible maps for BART stations in the Bay Area, so she met with experts from our Media and Accessible Design Lab, who put their heads together to create the maps over the course of nine months.

“For those with low or no sight, taking steps into new areas requires a high degree of confidence and is often daunting,” says MAD Lab Director Greg Kehret. “Access to information about the streets and paths around public transportation hubs is exceptionally useful. One methodology that has proven useful are tactile maps.”

For braille readers, the talking aspect of the map is extra, but serves as a helpful tool for non-braille readers who are blind or have low vision. Manufactured by Oakland-based Livescribe, the pens include cameras that capture information from the books and share it out loud through a speaker. It’s just a matter of holding the pen at an angle over the book and tapping.

“Everyone at RTD is thrilled to work with our friends at CCBVI, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and our sister transit agencies to make life a little easier for those traveling throughout San Joaquin County,” says RTD CEO Donna DeMartino. “This program will make ‘The Places You Can Go on RTD!’ even more accessible than before.”

RTD Talk to Me Maps are available for checkout at multiple transit hubs in San Joaquin County, including:

Development of RTD Talk to Me Maps was a collaboration among the following: Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CCBVI) proposed the project. RTD Director Joni Bauer spearheaded the project. San Joaquin Regional Transit District developed and implemented the project. The LightHouse MAD Lab is available to produce similar maps for governments, transit districts, schools or any other place where tactile maps would help the blind traveler. Click here to learn more about our MAD Lab’s braille and accessible design services or contact our specialists at madlab@lighthouse-sf.org.

For additional information regarding Talk to Me Maps, including a video of a map in use, please visit www.sjRTD.com/TalktoMeMaps.

Check out this video to see the map in use:

Maps, at Your Fingertips: The LightHouse Store Announces On-Demand Tactile Maps

Have you ever wanted to get to know the lay of the land before heading to a new city, campus or neighborhood? Wish you could just generate a quick, raised-line aerial map the way others do with Google? Whether it’s the blocks around your kid’s new school or a conference in San Diego — it’s not always easy to get a quick overview of a neighborhood before visiting. And unfortunately, mobile web mapping systems like Google or Apple Maps tend to fall short for blind users when it comes to getting the “big picture.”

Thanks to a collaboration between the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and our Media and Accessible Design Lab, we’re pleased to announce that you can now order on-demand tactile maps of the area of your choosing for just $19 (plus shipping and handling) from our Adaptations Store. The tactile street maps depict the area around a user-specified address or intersection, using raised lines along with a circle marking the point of interest in the center of the map. Braille and large print labels indicate street names and other critical area information like cardinal directions, scale, and main streets. For those who are new to tactile maps, this is a great way to get started with this invaluable, always dependable tool for blind and low vision travelers. And for O&M teachers, or those learning how to travel with a dog or cane, this new instant service will make a tremendous difference.

To order a map, just call our product specialists at the Adaptations Store at 1-888-400-8933 and specify the destination of the map you’re interested in. Within two business days we’ll place your order, ship it or make it available for pick up at the store.

What’s in the package?

  • 3 signature Tactile and ink-printed Maps, generated by the MAD Lab at LightHouse for the Blind, of the area surrounding your point of interest: printed at simple, moderate and dense map scale ratios
  • A tactile map key
  • An explainer page
  • All materials are printed on 11” X 11.5” sheets of embossed paper and include ink / large print labels in addition to braille

Never used a tactile map before? Stop by the Adaptations Store in person and take a look at our pre-printed maps of the area around LightHouse Headquarters at 1155 Market St. We’ll help you get a feel for using tactile maps and you can even take a pre-printed tactile map with you for $19.

This Thanksgiving, the Actiview App Brings Video Description to Five New Theatrical Releases

This week, LightHouse partner Actiview is delighting blind and low vision movie fans across the United States with the announcement that the app will provide audio description tracks for Thanksgiving’s biggest theatrical releases. The app is now supporting five current theatrical releases, both for independent and major Hollywood films.

Actiview put out word this week that the platform will carry description, amplified audio and foreign language support for Disney•Pixar’s new musical adventure Coco and Bleecker Street films’ Dickensian origin story, The Man Who Saved Christmas, in addition to more late-2017 studio releases such as Dealt, Breathe and Wonderstruck.

Starting with this summer’s theatrical release of Cars 3, Actiview has been pushing theaters and consumers alike to think differently about what movie theater accessibility looks like. Calling it “a broader platform” for movie access, TechCrunch profiled the startup back in July, noting that it may be an uphill battle to convince a very established industry to accept a new, smartphone-based system, despite the obvious advantages for blind and hard of hearing moviegoers.

“The accessibility content already exists for all these movies,” says Paul Cichocki, who left Pixar last year and now works at Actiview, ”most people just don’t know how to deliver it to the audiences who need it. We’re the platform that simplifies access, so that everyone can pay for movies knowing they’ll get their money’s worth.”

In 2015 the LightHouse partnered with Actiview as they started their venture, incubating the company in our Market Street and Ed Roberts offices. The partnership continues, as we are dedicated to full video description for all. Here’s why LightHouse community member Aerial Gilbert uses Actiview:

See below for full details about this Thanksgiving’s new films, and stay tuned for more information about local December screenings of Dealt, co-presented by the Roxie Theater in San Francisco!

DOWNLOAD THE APP: Actiview (App Store)

LEARN MORE: ActiviewApp.com

SUPPORT: team@actiview.co

——————

New Films

COCO

Rated: PG (Trailer)

Release: November 22

Studio: Pixar Animation Studios

Actiview will provide:

  • Audio Description
  • Amplified Audio / Hard of Hearing track

——————

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS

Rated: PG (Trailer)

Release: November 22

Studio:  Bleecker Street

Actiview will provide:

  • Audio Description
  • Captions in English and Spanish
  • Amplified Audio / Hard of Hearing track

WANT YOUR FILM ON ACTIVIEW?

http://activiewapp.com/studio

FOR MORE INFO, CONTACT:

team@actiview.co

Five Reasons to Look Forward to Superfest this Weekend

Get ready for the 31st year of Superfest International Disability Film Festival this weekend on November 4 and 5 in San Francisco and Berkeley. We’re thrilled to have such a spectacular and diverse lineup, co-produced with our friends at the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University.

November 4, 2017, 2 p.m. & 6 p.m.

The Magnes Collection of Art and Life, Berkeley

Buy tickets to Saturday’s Superfest showings.

November 5, 2017, 1 p.m.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

Buy tickets to Sunday’s Superfest showing​.

 


Why are we excited for Superfest this year?

 

1) This will be our 31st year!  

Superfest first debuted in a small showcase located in Los Angeles and is now co-hosted by San Francisco’s Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. We are proud to be the longest running disability-related film festival in the world.

2) Leaders from local disability organizations will introduce each film!

Not only does Superfest have a great selection of films, but it is also a chance to learn more about leaders and organizations making a positive difference in the Bay Area.

3) This year we received over 160 submissions, a new record in both numbers and geographic diversity.

Learn why Deej received our Best of Festival – Feature award, a refreshing look at autism told with the autistic person and documentary subject getting the final word.

While we cannot feature each and every film, the 15 selected films have been shot and filmed in nine countries and represent an important array of issues and perspectives. There will also be nine filmmakers, a festival record, joining us from all over the world to preview their work.

4) Free access tours at The Contemporary Jewish Museum

Arrive early on Sunday for described and ASL interpreted tours of the museum!

5) Superfest is as accessible as it gets!

Access is always a process, but we are proud that Superfest models what access can look like for film festivals internationally. We provide open captioning, audio description, integrated seating for wheelchair riders, a scent-free zone, ASL interpreting, and more.

Our decision to use open audio description has been core to our festival. At the same time, we understand that it creates a barrier for some festival goers. Thanks to our community’s support, this year we are introducing a second screening room on Saturday to provide another form of access. Since space is limited and available on a first come first serve basis, please contact Emily Beitiks to reserve a spot at beitiks@sfsu.edu. Read more about audio description on the Longmore Institute’s blog.

To buy your tickets today, check out www.superfestfilm.com.

Win Two Free Tickets to Tomorrow’s Accessible Pre-Screening of ‘Wonderstruck’ at Mill Valley Film Festival

Following in the footsteps of accessible festivals like Superfest International Disability Film Festival, more mainstream festivals like Mill Valley Film Festival (October 5 – 15) are starting to catch on to the importance of accessible viewing.

In collaboration with our partners at accessible moviegoing app Actiview, we’re offering you (and a plus one) a chance to attend Mill Valley’s VIP accessible pre-screening of the 2017 film ‘Wonderstruck’ (Julianne Moore, Amazon). The screening is tomorrow, Friday, October 13 at 7 p.m. at The Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901). Actiview will be providing Audio Description and Closed Captioning through their app, which you can download online.

There will be press, potentially some of the people that worked on the movie, and more. It’s an opportunity to show filmmakers that access is crucial—and that blind and deaf people want to attend their movies!

The film travels through two different eras — 1927 and 1977 — and follows two deaf children who secretly wish their lives were different. In the earlier time period, Rose (Millicent Simmonds) begins a quest to find her idol, actress Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore). Fifty years later, Ben (Oakes Fegley) searches for his father in New York. “Wonderstruck” is adapted from a novel of the same name by Brian Selznick. In his Cannes Film Festival review, Variety’s Owen Glieberman praised Haynes’ direction, writing, “For a while it plays like two movies in one, and Haynes is so on his game in staging each of them that the audience gets swept right up in the bittersweet mixed-media rapture of his filmmaking.”

To enter to win tickets, contact LightHouse Producer Camilla Sterne at csterne@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7306 before 10 a.m. on Friday, October 13. Please be absolutely certain you can attend the screening before you enter!

Actiview is collaborating with Mill Valley on a number of accessible screenings throughout the weekend, particularly two on Sunday, October 15 that you can still purchase tickets for! It’s a great opportunity to try out the app and see a few well-regarded new films, for only $15 with advanced ticket purchase.

Here’s the info:

Breathe (Andrew Garfield, Bleeker Street)
Watch the trailer.
Sunday 10/15 Century Larkspur Theater at 11:30am.
Tickets available in advance for $15

Last Flag Flying (Steve Carell, Lionsgate)
Watch the trailer.
Sunday 10/15 Century Larkspur Theater at 2pm.
Tickets available in advance for $15

New Movie Tech for the Blind and Deaf, Actiview, Launches with Disney’s Cars 3

If you’re blind or visually impaired, you know that going to the movies isn’t as simple as smothering your popcorn in butter and leaning back in a cushy chair. While you wait thirty minutes for the manager to locate and set up assistive devices, you’ve already missed the beginning of the movie — if the device even functions properly.

But over the last year, LightHouse partner Actiview designed and prototyped a mobile solution to this problem within the walls of the LightHouse headquarters, and even 3D printed their streaming devices in our Toyota Innovation Tech Lab as part of our startup accelerator. They have since moved their base to our Berkeley satellite location.

On June 16, Actiview launched in the App Store to offer widespread accessibility for the summer Pixar release of Cars 3.

The team and their direction were influenced by many hours of feedback from LightHouse blind staff. We supported Actiview through their beta version because we think it is a huge step in the right direction towards accessibility for all moviegoers.

There is a strong buzz about this new technology as the wider community understands that Actiview will be able to provide affordable access to thousands of movie screens. Last week, industry reporter TechCrunch wrote a fascinating feature on this LightHouse-supported technology. You can read the whole story here. 

The newest release from Disney•Pixar, Cars 3, will be fully supported by the Actiview app, delivering both amplified audio and audio description, free of charge, to anyone who downloads the app and shows up at the theater. Audio description is for blind users, with a voiceover track describing what is happening on screen. Amplified audio takes the audio of the movie and makes the dialogue clearer and louder, for hard of hearing attendees.

Here’s what to know:

  • Available on the App Store (http://appstore.com/activiewempoweredentertainment)
  • Audio Description for Blind and Low Vision
  • Amplified audio for Hard of Hearing
  • Captions and Languages coming soon
  • Works with Cars 3 in all US theaters
  • Assistive services are free

How to use Actiview:

  1. Download the Actiview App from the App Store.
  2. On June 16, Cars 3 assistive audio (assistive tracks will be available to for download in advance. Download over Wi-Fi before getting to the theater if you want to save on data use)
  3. Go to the Cars 3 screening of your choice, open the app, and choose either Audio Description, Amplified Audio or the two tracks combined.
  4. Give us your feedback by emailing comments to team@actiview.co or by calling our hotline at 1(844)-399-2789 to sound off!

Please note: The first time a user opens the app, there is a 30-second tutorial helping the user to understand how to navigate the app which requires headphones to go through.

Now Available at Adaptations: Next Generation Braille Apple Manuals

The LightHouse Media and Accessible Design Lab (MAD Lab) is the sole translator for authorized braille versions of a variety of Apple User’s Guides. Earlier this year, Apple commissioned the MAD Lab to translate a few of their new manuals into braille. This week, as the culmination of several months of work, free Braille Ready Files (BRFs) are available online. You may also purchase embossed versions of these manuals in our Adaptations Store.

Call 1-888-400-8933 today to order one of the following manuals in braille at the standard braille embossing rate of $0.50 a page. Click on the any of the links below and scroll down to ‘User Guides’ to access free BRFs to print from your own embosser.

For blind braille readers who use Apple products, this is a huge step towards tech literacy. The iOS manuals provide detailed insight into optimizing these products and leveraging the accessible features for personal and professional use. The embossed manuals offer a complete set of directions on how to use each Apple operating system, intelligently organized into multiple volumes of interpoint Braille.

Adaptations also carries a wide variety of low-vision and blindness products, including talking watches and alarm clocks, games, kitchen products, braille supplies and much, much more. Get in touch with us at (415) 694-7301 or adaptations@lighthouse-sf.org, or stop by our store between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Get even more familiar with your Apple products by attending a FREE weekly Access Tech Training at our headquarters on Tuesdays between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To make an appointment, contact Access Technology Coordinator Shen Kuan at skuan@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7312.

Photos from The First-Ever Maker Faire, Made Accessible

A few weekends ago marked our first-ever Maker Faire Made Accessible, a full weekend of hands-on education for blind youth and adults interested in the maker movement. The weekend included an overnight stay at LightHouse with a series of workshops and a daylong trip to the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo.

Participants gathered at the LightHouse on Friday to learn Arduino from board member Joshua Miele, explore tactile maps from MAD Lab, and learn the ins and outs of painting while blind from artist Charles Blackwell.

On Saturday, 28 blind participants and 20 sighted Oracle volunteers hit the Maker Faire to explore the wonders the festival has to offer — including drone racing, robotic dinosaurs, motorized driving cupcakes and the famous Maker Faire dark room with its flashing light installations.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Oracle for making Maker Faire Made Accessible possible with a generous grant and time generously offered by 20 volunteers.

Check out the photos below: 

Participants feel the large tactile globe at LightHouse headquarters.
Participants feel the large tactile globe at LightHouse headquarters.
Painter Charles Blackwell guides a student’s hand as she feels the raised paint on his painting.
Painter Charles Blackwell guides a student’s hand as she feels the raised paint on his painting.
Maker Faire participants read tactile maps at the LightHouse headquarters.
Maker Faire participants read tactile maps at the LightHouse headquarters.
A closeup of a student's hand examining arduino electronics.
A closeup of a student’s hand examining arduino electronics.
Arduino expert Josh Miele teaches participants about electronics in the Toyota Innovation Lab at LightHouse.
Arduino expert Josh Miele teaches participants about electronics in the Toyota Innovation Lab at LightHouse.
Three participants stand outside of Maker Faire chatting with an Oracle Volunteer.
Three participants stand outside of Maker Faire chatting with an Oracle Volunteer.
Youth Services Coordinator Richie Flores holds a spiral of purple rope lights in the Dark Room.
Youth Services Coordinator Richie Flores holds a spiral of purple rope lights in the Dark Room.
After a long day of exploring the Faire, a yellow lab guide dog rests its head on a participant's leg.
After a long day of exploring the Faire, a yellow lab guide dog rests its head on a participant’s leg.
A group of participants and LightHouse Staff including Youth Services Coordinators Richie Flores and Jamey Gump, and Director of Access Technology Erin Lauridsen feel lush blades of grass in a aquaponics display.
A group of participants and LightHouse Staff including Youth Services Coordinators Richie Flores and Jamey Gump, and Director of Access Technology Erin Lauridsen feel lush blades of grass in an aquaponics display.
Richie and a participant stand next to a robotic dinosaur.
Richie and a participant stand next to a robotic dinosaur.
Richie, Erin and a student smile for group shot.
Richie, Erin and a student smile for group shot.
A group shot of two participants and an Oracle volunteer.
A group shot of two participants and an Oracle volunteer.
Jamey and five students smile for a group picture.
Jamey and five students smile for a group picture.
Two students and an Oracle volunteer pose together.
Two students and an Oracle volunteer pose together.
Two students and an Oracle volunteer pose together.
Two students and an Oracle volunteer pose together.
Participants in the bus on the way to Maker Faire raise their arms in celebration.
Participants in the bus on the way to Maker Faire raise their arms in celebration.

Get Paid to Help the Blind from Home: Aira Seeks Part-time Agents in San Francisco

 

Aira logoLast week, LightHouse Staff spent the day with Aira, one of the leading startups to emerge in the remote sighted assistant space. Equipped with a wearable camera or mobile app, blind users can use Aira’s platform to receive on-demand sight assistance from trained professionals – privately and discreetly. The “agent,” who uses Aira’s dashboard software to keep notes on your preferences, track your surroundings through GPS and zoom in on far-away visuals. The result is a highly proficient “expert” who can efficiently identify, explain and Google anything your heart desires, opening up the blind user to a more accessible, frictionless environment.

Aira’s agents are the backbone of their operation, and it’s safe to say these paid professionals have some of the coolest jobs you could imagine. Aira has put out an announcement that they are hiring agents in the San Francisco Bay Area, to work from home or from the co-working spaces available at LightHouse.

If you’re interested, read the full posting here www.FencingDirect.com.

Aira Agent – Part Time, San Francisco

At Aira, we are giving increased freedom and independence to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. But we need your help as the star of our service!

As an Aira Agent you simply log onto our dashboard from your computer at home and begin answering video calls from our customers who reside across the United States – you will help them to shop, read their mail or computer screen, cook meals or even describe individuals in social settings – the scenarios are varied and unique. You will join a small but growing team of Aira Agents who, along with training, will help you hone your skills and share your calls.

Through a live video stream, you are able to see what they would be seeing, and provide the information they need to make decisions or explore their world.

Hours are flexible. We offer a range of hours per day between the times of 4 a.m PST to 10pm PST.

In order to apply, submit here. To see more about Aira go to Aira Inspiration or the Aira Website.

We are looking for:

  • People that are Enthusiastic, eager, and well spoken.
  • People that love to search the web and find the best info.
  • People that can multitask while remaining focused and calm.
  • People that want to grow with a company- the opportunities are just beginning with Aira.