iTEC (Independence Technology and Employment Computer) Lab
The Alliance operates the iTEC Lab, Independence Technology and Employment Computer Lab as part of the Innovative Services Department. The lab focuses specifically on assessing and training individuals for operating Assistive Technology, standard technology, computers, tablets, AACs, peripherals, and furniture for people with disabilities. We serve all types of disabilities, both apparent and non-apparent. Please contact us for more information on the iTEC Lab.
You may believe that AT might not “be for you”. Come by the lab sometime, and try out what we have to offer and let us know what your challenges are and what you want to do. You’ll be surprised that most of the time, there’s AT out there for you! And it makes working easier or more possible!
Below are some links to assistive technology in the software space. Please feel free to let us know how these work for you.
AMIS: a software program that you can use to read DAISY books. It is self-voicing, meaning that no specialized screen-reading software is needed in order for it to be used by visually impaired people. AMIS is open source software and is provided free of charge.
Balabolka: a Text-To-Speech (TTS) program. All computer voices installed on your system are available to Balabolka. The on-screen text can be saved as a WAV, MP3, OGG or WMA file. The program can read the clipboard content, view the text from DOC, RTF, PDF, FB2 and HTML files, customize font and background color, control reading from the system tray or by the global hotkeys. Balabolka uses various versions of Microsoft Speech API (SAPI); it allows to alter a voice’s parameters, including rate and pitch. The user can apply a special substitution list to improve the quality of the voice’s articulation. This feature is useful when you want to change the spelling of words. The rules for the pronunciation correction use the syntax of VBScript.
Clamwin AntiVirus: ClamWin is a Free Antivirus program for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003 and Vista.
CLC STAR Firefox Extension: Allows users to easily setup preferences for how they want pages presented to them in Firefox.
CLiCk, Speak Firefox Extension: an open source, freely available extension for the Firefox web browser. It is part of the CLC-4-TTS Suite of products, it features a mouse driven interface, and it reads web pages – hence its name. CLiCk, Speak is designed for sighted users who want text-to-speech functionality. It doesn’t identify elements or announce events – two features that are very important for visually impaired users but very annoying for sighted users. It also has a simplified, mouse driven interface that is designed to be easy for users familiar with point-and-click graphical user interfaces. CLiCk, Speak works on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
Dasher: a very unique text entry program. You point where you want to go, and the display zooms in wherever you point. The world into which you are zooming is painted with letters, so that any point you zoom in on corresponds to a piece of text. The more you zoom in, the longer the piece of text you have written. You choose what you write by choosing where to zoom.
Delayed Audio Feedback: Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF) and Frequency Altered Feedback (FAF) program in support of people who stutter.
Desktop Zoom: a zoom/magnify program with lots of options.
DSpeech: a TTS (Text To Speech) program with functionality of ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) integrated. It is able to to read aloud the written text and choose the sentences to be pronounced based upon the vocal answers of the user. It is specifically designed to quickly and directly provide the functions and improved practical usefulness that are requested by this kind of program. In the meantime, the invasiveness and resource consumption is minimal.
Dwell Clicker: Use the mouse without pressing buttons. Dwelling is resting the mouse over one area of the screen for a specified time. The dwell click software allows you to left-click; right-click; double click; and drag things around the screen…all without clicking a button!
Express Scribe: free professional audio player software for PC, Mac or Linux designed to assist the transcription of audio recordings. The program is installed on the typist’s computer and can be controlled using a transcription foot pedal or keyboard (with ‘hot’ keys). This computer transcriber application also offers valuable features for typists including variable speed playback, multi-channel control, file management and more.
Fatbits: Fatbits is one of those mind bogglingly useful utility programs for graphic artists or people designing user interfaces. It magnifies an area of the screen centered around the mouse pointer and paints the giant pixels into a small, tastefully decorated window. This can be indispensable when you want to see something right down to the last pixel. Fatbits is also useful as an accessibility tool. It can perform text smoothing and can modify the colors it displays to help those with color vision deficiency.
FBReader: an e-book reader for Unix/Windows computers.
Fire Vox Firefox Extension: a screen reader that is designed especially for Firefox. In addition to the basic features that are expected of screen readers, such as being able to identify headings, links, images, etc. and providing navigational assistance, Fire Vox provides support for MathML and CSS speech module properties. It also works on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
LetMeType: helps you enter text, but regardless of the program you use. Running in the background, it analyses what you type. After some time it has collected enough information to guess a word after you have typed the first two or three letters. A list of the most probable words is displayed, and you can select one with a single keystroke or just continue typing.
Lightening Express: a completely free full screen magnifier for PC’s running Windows XP and Vista. It is designed to offer an easily-accessible option for anyone needing screen magnification.
MathTrax: a graphing tool for middle school and high school students to graph equations, physics simulations or plot data files. The graphs have descriptions and sound so you can hear and read about the graph. Blind and low vision users can access visual math data and graph or experiment with equations and datasets.
NexTalk Video: place video calls to other NexTalk Users or to Video Relay Services. NexTalk video turns your PC into a video phone removing the need for a stand-alone TV based video phone. The advantages of NexTalk video over TV-based video phones are that it uses a standard PC; takes up less desk space; supports simultaneous video, text, and voice; uses sophisticated firewall traversal; all calls, even video calls, are backed by the NexTalk mail services if the call is not answered; and supports “One-Number” access to Video Relay Services.
NexTalk: offers many state-of-the-art text-based communication features available at your fingertips, including call or accept text calls from any other NexTalk.net user; call a TTY; anyone on a browser can call you; receive “Text Mail” messages that are forwarded to an email address; send or receive Instant Messages with any NexTalk user; and transfer and conference text calls between NexTalk.net users.
Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA): a screen reader is a program that speaks what is happening on the computer to the user. People who have low vision or are totally blind use screen readers. People who may have problems reading may also at times use screen readers. There are many screen readers available; this text is going to cover one screen reader called NVDA. NVDA stands for “Non visual desktop access”. Everything that you are going to do on the computer will be told to you with synthesized speech. Synthesized speech is an artificial computerized voice. You will be doing everything only by using the computer keyboard.
Open Office: OpenOffice.org is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.
Power Talk: a free program that automatically speaks any presentation or slide show running in Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows. You simply start PowerTalk and open and run your presentation as usual. PowerTalk then speaks the text on your slides. The advantage over other generic ‘Text To Speech’ programs is that PowerTalk is able to speak text as it appears and can also speak hidden text attached to images. Speech is provided by the standard synthesised computer voices that are provided with Windows.
P. T. Reader Firefox Extension: a DAISY Book reader especially designed for Firefox.
Quick Input: Quick Input software is used to speed up the typing of frequently repeated words and word combinations in all applications where developers have not implemented this feature. Using predictive technology, there is now no need to learn how to touch type on the keyboard! Quick Input software can be installed on your computer in order to considerably reduce the time required to type text!
SimpleOCR: SimpleOCR is the popular freeware OCR software with hundreds of thousands of users worldwide.
Skype: Free calls, video calls and instant messaging over the internet. Plus great value calls to phones anywhere in the world.
Sonar: provides an expanded ring around the mouse pointer for users who have difficulty locating the pointer. Unlike the Windows XP version, this package places a permanent ring around the pointer. This version introduces the option to vary the colour of the Sonar ring.
Speech Profile Manager: designed to be a small speech recognition profile manager tool that can be used to back up and restore speech profiles on the same machine or between different machines.
System Info: everything you need to know about a computer in order to provide support.
T-Bar: software-based color overlays for a PC screen. Useful with dyslexia.
No longer available from developer
TeamViewer: free remote access and remote desktop sharing via the Internet. Not for commercial use.
Thunderbird: an e-mail client that includes many new features to help you manage your inbox. With Thunderbird 2, it’s easier to prioritize and find your important email with tags and the new find bar helps you find content within your email faster.
Top OCR: Incredible OCR accuracy, No page limits, and no extra downloads or components needed; Handles images with mixed text and graphics (Manual or Auto Zoning); Tolerates skew and uneven lighting; Multiple text output formats, including searchable PDF and HTML; Built-in Text-To-Speech software. How about OCR to MP3?
Trillian: a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. It provides capabilities not possible with original network clients, while supporting standard features such as audio chat, file transfers, group chats, chat rooms, buddy icons, multiple simultaneous connections to the same network, server-side contact importing, typing notification, direct connection (AIM), proxy support, encrypted messaging (AIM/ICQ), SMS support, and privacy settings.
Viacam: a mouse replacement software that moves the pointer as you move your head. It works on standard PCs equipped with a web camera. No additional hardware is required. Based on the award winning Facial Mouse software.
Vu-Bar: A unique piece of software, provides an on-screen, slotted ruler. Useful with dyslexia, when the user skips lines or drops from one line to the next. This version allows the user to select the bar width, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of screen width and set the slot height to the required font size.
Webpage Communicator: Use the Web Page Communicator package to turn any device that can run Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, or Safari (direct select only) browsers into a communications device for free!
WordFlashReader: a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) program that makes on-screen reading easy. Its free, open-source, and works on both Windows and Linux.
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