December 18, 2019

A look back on the 2010 to 2020 decade and the next for assistive and main stream tech

Some food for thought.


The past decade has seen a lot of assistive and main stream tech come on to the market.


Below is my list of products and services that I have come across over the last 10 years in Australia.


I may have put in some products that were already around in 2010, but their still around smile.


After this list, is a current/Future list perhaps on things to look out for and deal with for the next decade, some of which we still haven’t resolved for accessibility at least in Australia.


The decade was quite busy, and I haven’t put in everything, just the stuff that we dealt with at Vision Australia or in the community in general.


And Yes I put Apple First smile.


David Woodbridge December 2019


The Decade - 2010 to 2020


iPad - I did an unofficial launch of the iPad in Australia in Brisbane in 2010.


Apple TV.

Apple Watch.



Apple Pay - I did a channel 7 TV interview at the Broadway Apple Store when Apple Pay first became available in Australia).


Amazon Echo (plus Echo Show with screen).


Google Home (plus Google Home Nest Hub with screen).


Sneaking this in, in 2009 Voiceover was released for iOS and Talkback for Android became available with OS 1.5 Cupcake.


4G available in Australia in 2011, with movement at the end of this decade to 5G.

Accessibility dedicated support Helpdesk from Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Accessible radios such as the Sangean PR-D17 Accessible AM/FM radio.

Aira and Be My Eyes video assistance services.

Amazon Officially comes to Australia.

Audio Description becoming more available not just on DVD, but streaming services (TV not yet supported in Australia yet)) - ABC iView was trialed with 14 hours of content (mid decade) per week and then stopped after 18 months or so, funding for 2020 now for more content on TV.

Audio streaming - AirPlay, Sonos, Chromecast etc.

Apple offers ESIMM support plus physical SiMM from iPhone X S and above plus carriers in Australia supporting Apple Watch ESIMMS.

Apps and more apps - replacing many dedicated blind or low vision devices such as OCR systems, video magnifiers, light detecters etc.

App controlled devices allowing accessibility via smart phones - alarm systems,  air Conditioner, coffee machines, robot vacuum, video doorbell, washing machine/dryer etc.  Other apps to control such devices as the Fitbit exercise tracker etc.

Bindi Maps arrives on the scene with indoor beacons at some Vision Australia and Guide Dog offices plus other places such as a shopping centre in Sydney (had the pleasure of working with the Bindi Maps folks in testing out the app and beacons).

Braille display support for both iOS and Android (Brailleback not Talkback for Android).

Brailling on a flat touch screen (VoiceOver BSI).

Bluetooth keyboard full support for VoiceOver on iOS, OS support on Android using Talkback.

Bluetooth keyboards supporting multiple devices.

Bluetooth Braille displays to support multiple devices.

Bush or the Hills Set Top talking digital set top box became available in Australia (didn’t really last that long).

Bone conduction ear phones and other audio devices like the Aftershokz, Bose Frames etc.

Coding accessibility - Swift Playgrounds from Apple,  and Code Jumper from Microsoft.

Custom devices such as the Victor Reader Stream  for reading daisy books, online streaming of radio etc.

Dolphin Pod and Dolphin Guide Pod making reading books easier by plugging in to a tV.

Dot Watch smart Braille watch.

Envoy Connect - cheap daisy player.

Expansion of accessibility solutions on desktop/mobile platforms.

Gaming consoles such as the Xbox, and the Apple TV with accessibility and improvements to actual game play accessibility.

Improvements to Apple and Microsoft screen readers, especially Narrator in Windows 10 plus touch screen support for Narrator.

Changes to Braille displays and notetakers (Android stuff) and Windows - BrailleNote Touch, Polaris, ElBraille, InsideOne.

Commute first 9 line Braille display book reader.

JAWS and Zoomtext continue to grow plus combining to form Fusion. Window-Eyes discontinued.  MAGic mainly used for legacy institutions, Supernova coming back a bit.  Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) still going strong as well.  Guide Connect comes back on the scene in the later part of the decade, at least in Australia.

iBooks first becomes available on the iPad, then followed by iOS - plus now Google books, Kindle books etc on mobile.

Kindle physical eBook readers.

Microsoft opens up a store in Sydney, very similar to the Apple Store and great service.

Microsoft Accessible Xbox Console controller.

Microsoft fully supporting Microsoft Office not only on Windows, but on Mac with full accessibility with Voiceover.

Microsoft amazing two apps - Seeing AI, and Sound Scape.

Mesh networking for home to increase WiFi coverage across living spaces.

Mobility aids such as the Buzz Clip or Sunu Band become available.

OCR becomes a bit more portable with the Pearl Camera and OpenBook

Smart Vision 2 (Android smart phone) to still offer touch screen and physical keys for screen reader users.

Samsung Smart phone/tablet with Voice Assistant.

Samsung Galaxy Watch with Voice Assistant.

Smart Home switch’s, smart Globes ,  etc.

Smart TVS with accessibility - Samsung with Voice Assistant, Android TV etc.

Streaming music and video services - Amazon Music/Prime, Apple Music/Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, Netflix, Spotify etc.

Switch control for desktop/mobile platforms.

RIVO keyboard (custom keyboard for VoiceOver, Talkback and Voice Assistant on mobile).

Tactile bank notes in Australia.

Talking devices on a bit of a come back - talking microwave, talking induction hob, talking blood pressure monitor, talking pedometer,  etc.

Trackpad external supported with VoiceOver on Mac Snow Leopard and then later on MacBooks.

Touch Bar supported on MacBook Pros with VoiceOver.

Tile tags or other tracking devices.

Touch ID and Face ID.

Trekker Breeze - stand alone GPS device.

Wearables - Echo Loop, Tap with Us, Orcam, Iris Vision, Aira smart glasses etc.

Wireless charging.

Vision Australia produces iOs and Android apps to access online library.

Vision Australia Radio accessible via the Internet as well as podcasts.

Video conferencing Facetime, Skype, Zoom

Voice dictation and voice control becoming settled in main stream for desktop/mobile.


Now/Current and Next Decade


3rd party screen readers or screen magnifiers no longer required.

3D printing becomes more accessible and doable at home.

5G implications.

Accessible digital radios.

Accessible fitness equipment in their own right.

Accessible cable set top box’s, especially Foxtel in Australia.

Accessible EFTPOS terminals.

Accessible or better access solutions to ATMS.

Accessibility push for apps for desktop/mobile, and the web 


Accessible office equipment.

Accessible public places/institutions - library, museum etc.

Automated train systems (driverless trains such as Sydney metro light rail).

Automated elevators where car is selected by a touch screen and need to find the actual car to go in 


Automated lawn mowing machines.

Bus - identify bus number, route, and bus stop.

Better and wider coverage for  mobile and home WiFI.

Biometrics for security.

Delivery drones.

Electric cars (audible sounds).

Finding and identifying products when physically shopping.

Independent train/train station, and Aircraft/airport travel (plus accessible entertainment inflight).

Indoor beacons and indoor maps.

GPS improvements - better accuracy, work better in bus/trains, and work better in built up areas such as tall building city scapes.

Object recognition for physical environment and implications for O&M.

OCR will do hand writing recognition.

PDF file access is finally conquered.

Phones with no physical buttons or controls.

Robot Guide Dog.

Smart speakers and personal assistants will cope with variations in a persons speech pattern.

Smart Speakers and personal assistants improve with better AI.

Smart TVS get better accessibility, especially with apps/browsing the web.

Smart device replaces mobile/desktop , becomes one device.

Smaller and discrete wearable devices.

Self service check outs in shops.

Self service kiosks.

Self driving vehicles used for dedicated routes.

Speech input/output in devices.

Solar and.or public charging stations for smart phones etc on trains, public spaces etc.

Touch screens in cars.

Touch screen home appliances.


End of Document.



More episodes

Load more

Play this podcast on Podbean App