Obama signs new technology access bill for the disabled

President Barack Obama with Stevie Wonder

President Barack Obama with Musician Stevie Wonder. Image via Google search.

Last Friday (Oct. 8), President Obama signed a technology access bill that will enable the blind and the deaf and hard of hearing to more easily use smart phones, the internet, and other technologies that have been staples in our growing and ever changing society. As President Obama signed the bill, he marked the occassion as being another step in guarenteeing equal access, opportunity, and respect for all Americans.

It is estimated that the new law will improve the lives of some 25 million American’s living with visual impairments and some 36 million living with hearing impairments.

The law sets federal guidelines that require the telecommunications industry to:

  • Make getting to the internet easier by improving the user interfaces on smart phones.
  • Provide audible descriptions of on-screen acions to help the visually impaired more fully enjoy television.
  • Add captions to online TV programming to help the hearing impaired.
  • Make the equipment used for internet telephone calls compatible with hearing aids.
  • Add a button or other switch to television remote controls for simpler access to closed captioning on television.

With the improvements set forth in this new law, the visually and hearing impaired will see a reduction in the thousands of dollars that they have had to spend in the past for costly accessories or software to make their cell phones and other devices more accessible.

Superville, Darlene. “Obama Signs Technology Access Bill for Disabled.” Associated Press. Associated Press, 8 Oct. 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2010.

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