OATS Launch Press Release
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 (www.oatsoft.org) 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”
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
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. (www.webopedia.com)