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Tech for all

While going through regular news feed, I came across a piece about one of the popular internet browsers adding special features for the aid of visually challenged people.

The update was interesting and it made me wonder how people with visual disabilities browse and access the internet. It doesn’t take long for anyone to be able to experience the same. All you need to do is to cover your eyes and try using your phone or the computer.

The moment you try to operate your device with closed eyes, you’d realise that doing so is not as easy as it sounds. So how do people with disabilities access computers or mobile phones? Well, most smartphones, laptops, computers, tablets, etc. all come with a feature called screen reader which reads out the content displayed on the screen.

Such software and apps make products and services accessible for people with disabilities and allows them to communicate easily opening the pandora’s box of information to them. Apart from these screen readers, a lot of other applications are available on the mobile app stores which help people to easily send and read emails, follow a route in a map and complete other day-to-day tasks.

With over 15% of the global population with disabilities, tech companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. ensure that their products are available to use for everyone. Google Chrome, for instance, uses artificial intelligence to correctly describe the images and content displayed on the browser.

AI comes really handy when browsers describe images which do not carry a proper description. With the help of neural networks, images can be classified and explained to the people with disabilities.

Amazon and Netflix also ensure that their services are compatible with screen readers. Google’s Live Transcribe which instantly transcribes speech and Sound Amplifier which can amplify audio aims at helping people who have hearing problems.

Talking about the hardware part, there is an entire ecosystem of devices like screen readers, refreshable Braille displays, gesture-based input devices and digital screen magnification which enable people with disabilities to interact with computers.

A certain set of compliance policies that have been designed to offer a level playing field for people with disabilities. Websites, software, and apps are designed keeping these policies in mind and aim at providing maximum information to everyone.

The fact that most major tech companies have a separate accessibility team and employs people in leadership teams, highlights the fact that how important it is to keep improving the technology so that it can empower everyone. And as technology is an ever-evolving process, it not only becomes an enabler but becomes an equaliser as well.

A round-up of key launches during the week

Fujifilm Instax LiPlay: The Fujifilm Instax LiPlay is a hybrid instant camera that brings in the best of both the worlds – digital point and shoot camera and an instant printer.

It features a 1/5-inch CMOS sensor with a 5-megapixel resolution and an f/2 aperture camera, an LCD display, SoundRecord feature, a remote trigger option with the help of a smartphone app and a rechargeable battery which can print up to 100 shots per charge. The Instax LiPlay is available in three colour options Blush Gold, Elegant Black, and Stone White and is priced at Rs 13,799 in India.

LG W30 PRO: The W30 Pro is a budget offering by LG. The dual sim Android-powered smartphone comes with a 6.21-inch HD+ FullVision Display with a 19:9 aspect ratio, Snapdragon 632 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM. It has 64GB of onboard storage which is expandable up to 512GB via a MicroSD card.

The LG W30 Pro has a triple rear camera setup — 13-megapixel primary sensor, 5-megapixel secondary sensor, and an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor. A 16-megapixel selfie camera is located at the front. The phone is available in two color options Midnight Blue and Midnight Purple colour at a price of Rs 12,490

Toreto Drum Beat and Party 100: Toreto has announced two new portable party speakers in India. The Drum Beat features two 25W speakers with True Wireless Connection (TWS) technology. It supports Bluetooth, micro SD card, 3.5mm aux input and USB flash for connectivity.

The Party 100 is a 20-Watt speaker with a 2200 mAh built-in battery. Both the speakers come with mic-in support for Karaoke and Bass and Treble controls to let users fine-tune according to your choice. As for the pricing, the Drum Beat is available at Rs 5999 and the Party 100 is available at Rs 3699, while the MRP is Rs 7999 and Rs 3999, respectively.