NPR, Harris and Towson to Demo Accessible Radio at CES

Efforts to make HD Radio receivers more accessible for the hard of hearing and visually impaired are growing.
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Efforts to make HD Radio receivers more accessible for the hard of hearing and visually impaired are growing.

NPR, Harris and Towson University are set to demo an HD-R accessible radio next Tuesday during a press conference at CES as well as announce a new research center on the Towson campus to develop future accessible radio technologies.

The demo will show how visually impaired people can “see” live radio content on special receivers by applying a TV closed-captioning process to radio. The technology will also provide audio cues and voice prompts, as well as advanced radio reading services.

The group also plans to call for the establishment of an international consortium of equipment manufacturers, broadcasters and other organizations to foster broad adoption of global accessible radio technology.

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Dr. Ellyn Sheffield, Towson University professor and NPR Labs researcher, plans to spend the next six months asking people in the visually-impaired, hard of hearing and geriatric communities what features they’d like to see in an HD Radio.

Accessible Radios

The joint project on accessible radios by Harris, NPR Labs and Maryland’s Towson University kicked off with a live, low-power demonstration.