Tech Blast: Apple Voice Control

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At enTECH, we are always excited to see the advances companies are making regarding accessible technology. While this can sometimes include purpose-built hardware and software, we have found that technology becomes most accessible when accessibility options are built into the devices themselves. 

Apple has historically been a leader in developing accessible technology: their VoiceOver technology has been included on their devices for years, and helps people with low vision or vision loss navigate their devices by having the phone read out what is happening on screen. Apple is releasing iOS 13 for iPhone and iPod Touch devices, and iPadOS 13 for iPads this fall, which are bringing a host of new accessibility features to the devices many of us use every day. 

One major new feature is called Voice Control, which allows users to navigate their devices entirely by their voices, which is a significant benefit for people with musculoskeletal and motor impairments. By accessing this function in the device’s Accessibility settings, the user is able to use the device completely hands-free, including moving around the device, opening apps, entering text, and browsing the web.

The YouTube channel Soldier Knows Best details this in the video below:

Unfortunately, these sorts of innovations in user experience are not given as much press time, as the ‘flashier’ features are not aimed at customers who may benefit from these types of technologies. As a club, we are happy to promote these sorts of features, in hopes that we may reach people who may not have learned about them otherwise.

If you know of any new software or hardware breakthroughs to help technology become more assessable to everyone, please let us know!


Welcome to the enTECH Outreach & Social Media Division!

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Dear readers,

It is my pleasure to announce the start of enTECH’s Outreach & Social Media Division! ENgage TECHnology (enTECH), is a student-led, volunteer initiative to target the unique needs of the older adult population through the provision of resources, education, and tools to help everyone engage with 21st Century technology. Since its conception in 2015, enTECH has continued to grow exponentially, serving much more than just older adults, and I am excited to provide a brief overview of its role and future directions for our first post.

EnTECH is an official Federation of Students Club at the University of Waterloo, and we are graciously partnered with the Research Institute for Aging and Schlegel Villages The Village at University Gates, where we deliver technological support and education to residents in both individual and group settings. enTECH is now expanding its operations to the oncology suite at Grand River Hospital, and we look forward to continue developing our partnerships in order to better serve the needs of the community.

Given the unanimously positive feedback we have received from the residents we serve, enTECH is now being studied as an intervention to reduce depression and social isolation, and improve quality of life in older adults living away from their families. The study will be starting in Fall 2019, and has been awarded the Network for Aging Research’s Catalyst Grant. We hope that its results can lay the foundation towards future improvements in programs for older adults. In addition, we will be organizing the enTECH Lecture Series in Fall 2019, where we will be inviting professors and professionals from varying fields to speak about topics on geriatric technology.

Finally, with the initiation of our Outreach & Social Media Division, enTECH can now be followed on many social media platforms including our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We will also be sending a bimonthly newsletter covering varying aspects of the club. We encourage you to send us your stories on how enTECH has changed how you view and use technology!

There is a lot in store for enTECH this year, and we are always happy to hear from you with feedback, partnerships, and any wishes to get involved!

Sincerely,

Peter M. Hoang
Co-Founder, enTECH Computer Club