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OATS Launch Press Release

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News Release -    10Am 3rd May 2006 – FAO News Editor

Website Offers OATS to People with Disabilities


A consortium headed by internationally renowned charity, The ACE Centre,

this week launches a website that will be a world’s first in meeting the

technology needs of the disabled. OATS (Open Source Assistive Technology

Software) will be the first free online ‘one stop shop’ of open source software

that  enables those with disabilities to access computers. It also provides a

forum  for developers to interact with users and in some cases, customise

software for the very unique and personal needs of disabled users. 


The OATS ( project will be a focal point for developers to

provide solutions for people with disabilities, as demonstrated by an OATS

community member recently. Steve Lee, a volunteer programmer, responded

to an appeal by a FORD employee who was unable to speak but needed to

prepare a PowerPoint presentation. Steve created PowerTalk, a program that

speaks and displays PowerPoint presentations at the push of a button. This

software is freely available on the OATS website and as well as meeting the

needs of the Ford employee, has found additional uses within the classroom

and for those with visual impairments. 


Andrew Lysley, ACE Centre Deputy Director and OATS coordinator said

today “The example of PowerTalk typifies the enormous impact OATS can

have in meeting the needs of disabled users of technology worldwide”




Contact Details

Andrew Lysley - Deputy Director, The ACE Centre Advisory Trust

Tel. 01865 759802 - Mobile. 07789 538631

Simon Judge- Clinical Scientist Access to Communication and Technology  (ACT) 0121 627 8235


Notes to Editors.


The OATS project was created to harness and promote the benefits of open source software for the assistive technology community.

The project consortium comprises an international group of organisations and volunteers developing and promoting assistive technology.  The group includes: The ACE Centre Advisory Trust; Access to Communication Technology (ACT) West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre, Birmingham; University of Dundee Applied Computing Dept; Swedish Institute for Special Needs Education.

What is Open Source?

Generically, open source refers to a program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge, i.e., open. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community. Open source sprouted in the technological community as a response to proprietary software owned by corporations.  (


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