• Although 90 percent of participants who are blind or have low vision found the alert attention signal to be loud enough and long enough to get their attention, only 70 percent of deaf and hard of hearing participants indicated the same regarding the vibrating cadence. Comments regarding the vibrating cadence suggested that it would only be effective if the individual were holding the phone in their hand, but easily missed if in a purse or even in one’s pocket.
• All hearing participants expressed concern that the early part of the message was missed because the tone went too quickly into the 90-character spoken alert, causing the first few words of the message to be missed. The required Commercial Mobile Alert System message format places the event type first (i.e., tornado, flood, etc.) so crucial information may not be heard by blind consumers using text-to-speech software on their mobile phones to access the alerts. Many suggested the need for a header such as “This is a…” to allow for more clarity. Such a header is currently employed by the Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages broadcast on television, radio and cable systems.
• Deaf and hard of hearing participants commented that they would like to see enhancements such as strobe lights, screen flashes and stronger vibrating cadences. While these enhancements can be addressed by cell phone manufacturers, they aren’t required to do so by the FCC.
The tests were conducted on November 12, 2008, with 30 subjects. The results will be presented to the FCC and others during the State of Technology conference in September.
The FCC established the Commercial Mobile Alert System in 2008 to provide a framework for commercial mobile service providers to voluntarily transmit emergency alerts to their subscribers. The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies’ Wireless Emergency Communications project has been developing software and conducting field tests on how to make the emergency alert system accessible for people with sensory disabilities who use mobile devices.
Tech’s Wireless Emergency Communications project received additional federal funding to field test the provisions of Commercial Mobile Alert System that affect accessibility, such as the limitation of 90 characters, not permitting URLs, and volume limits including specific vibrating cadences and alert tones. By conducting this field test, they will provide the FCC and the wireless industry with concrete evidence from the perspective of end-users on how the Commercial Mobile Alert System would be better able to serve the specific needs of people with sensory disabilities. Most recommendations, however, would render the system more effective for all consumers. For example, participants suggested repeating the attention signal and vibrating cadences in intervals until they are shut off by the user to ensure the receipt of the alert by an individual who is away from their phone, asleep, driving or unable to hear or see.
The field test recruited participants from the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Atlanta Public School System, the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center Consumer Advisory Network and the Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS). Subjects were as diverse in their sensory limitations as they were in their technical skill level, ranging from those who were fully deaf or fully blind to those with enhanced hearing (hearing aid/cochlear implants) or enhanced vision (glasses/contacts).
Though field test participant’s names are usually held in the strictest confidence, one participant agreed to go on the record.
“I applaud PBA and Georgia Tech for their effort in bringing this very important issue to the public,” said Georgia State Representative Bob Smith. “We must continue to make this a priority, to seek innovative and creative ways to notify people with disabilities and tirelessly work to improve and perfect the notification system. It is paramount that Georgians are aware that people with various disabilities, more than any time in our history, need to be informed of catastrophic events.”
This is the second field test hosted by project partner Public Broadcasting Atlanta. PBA recognized the importance of this community project and how it aligned with its vision of implementing a Local Education Network System (LENS) capable of convening individuals, organizations and communities. MetroCast Atlanta, a component of LENS, would serve as an emergency information network for schools, city officials and citizens in the event of natural or terrorist disaster.
The mobile devices and cellular service used in this field test were the result of a generous donation from WEC industry partner AT&T. For more information on WEC, go to www.wirelessrerc.org. Funding for the CMAS parameter field test was made possible by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, grant # H133E060061.
New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions
12.12.2018 | Universität Zürich
NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs
11.12.2018 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy