Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beyond accessibility in Google+ hangouts

A recent post on Google+ got me thinking about how to improve the accessibility of Google+

I work for Monash University as part of the team integrating Google Apps with university systems. As an educational establishment in Australia we are subject to strict rules regarding the accessibility of the services we provide to students. That being said, I am not an expert, nor do I act in an advisory role to Monash for accessibility, there are far more knowledgeable people providing that role, as such, this post is my own, possibly uninformed thoughts on a subject which I find interesting.

Google have a massive opportunity with Google+ to get accessibility right. While Google wave was a fantastic experiment they didn't give enough thought to accessibility, and putting it in as an afterthought was never going to end well.

Hangouts are one of the killer features of Google+. They do however bring their own set of accessibility challenges, and some huge opportunities.

Google already have speech to text technology as demonstrated in Android. This could be integrated with hangouts to build a system of automatic captioning, such that deaf users could read what was being said.

This technology could then be integrated with Google translate. Again, this has already been demonstrated in Android. If coupled with hangouts we could have a system whereby users could communicate face to face across language barriers.

I like the idea that hangouts can be conducted in sign language, and that those users can grab the active view easily, but why stop there? Taking this much further, could Google develop a system to interpret sign language and give a text equivalent to those unable to understand it themselves.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New tech, shiny tech.

A number of things which have caught my eye recently...

Electric DeLorean Car.

An all electric version of the Iconic 80's DeLorean car, supposedly coming in 2013.
Touted to go faster than 88mph, great scott.

Galaxy Nexus.

For those people living in a bubble, Google and Samsung announced the next generation of Android cell phone today in Hong Kong.

The Galaxy Nexus is the first phone to feature Android 4.0, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich.  A redesigned user interface and features such as Face recognition to unlock the phone, Near field communications allowing things like Google Wallet and transfer of data by touching another enabled smart phone, vastly improved camera and awesome screen.
Really can't wait for this to be released in Australia.  Hopefully it will be on a decent network and the timing will be right for me to move away from Vodafone, whom I have been less than impressed with, without too much of a penalty.

Deblurring technology coming to a future version of Photoshop.

Impressive algorithm for removing camera shake blur from images, see the demo at this link...

The Canon EOS-1D X is the successor to both the 1D and 1Ds lines.  Featuring a full frame sensor, vastly improved high ISO performance.  3 digic processors with 1 dedicated to metering and autofocus, and pro video functions.
Very nice camera, but well out of my price range at the moment.

Read the preview at DPReview

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