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Sony Group Corporation will participate in the 38th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference (CSUN) to be held in Anaheim, California, USA from March 13 to 17, 2023. CSUN is an international conference that introduces the latest products, services, and initiatives with accessibility as the keyword. Each year, CSUN attracts many users with disabilities as well as leading companies, governments, and industry experts.
Sony enhances the accessibility of our products, services, and experiences.
Through our commitment to an inclusive future, we aim to create a world where everyone belongs and share Kando (emotion) Sony has been participating in CSUN since 2018 and we were bronze sponsors in 2023.
At CSUN 2023, Sony will exhibit the following seven products, which have been designed with accessibility in mind. It will also schedule some sessions to introduce Sony's activities in the area of accessibility.
Sony's select digital cameras carry a screen reader feature*1 that reads menus and video playback screens aloud to assist users' camera operation. As a technical showcase, Sony will demonstrate this screen reader feature supporting up to 10 languages on an Alpha camera, which is also capable of enlarging the menu screen.
Visitors to the Sony booth will be able to experience the DSC-HX99 RNV kit, the retinal projection camera kit, which consists of Sony's DSC-HX99 Cyber-shot® and a RETISSA NEOVIEWER viewfinder*2 that employs laser retinal projection technology from QD Laser, Inc.
Due to changes in regulations by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2022, the sales of over the counter (OTC) hearing aids are spreading in the new consumer sales channel as well as in the conventional sales channel via audiologists or hearing instrument specialists since last year.
At this year's CSUN, Sony will exhibit the CRE-C10, a sleek and discreet design that is virtually invisible and the CRE-E10, an earbud-like design with a different appearance from conventional hearing aids in partnership with WS Audiology.
These products offer self-fitting adjustment*2 performed by users themselves using their smartphone to match their hearing ability, which is necessary when starting to use OTC hearing aids. Users can feel free to use the OTC hearing aids with confidence.
In addition, a dedicated smartphone application allows users to perform more detailed tuning and volume control at any time and provides a simple and continuous use environment.
Each series of Xperia™ smartphones powered by Android OS*1 are equipped with accessibility features that assist with vision ,hearing, and action, such as TalkBack*2 and improved visibility of operation screens.
Since 2021, the Sony’s software team has been playing a central role in improving some of the applications with input from employees with disabilities at Sony/Taiyo Corporation. Visitors to the Sony’s booth will be able to experience the operability of Xperia smartphones that support accessibility including the new accessibility features developed in this activity. As a technical highlight, Sony will exhibit a function that informs the user of the horizontal measurement information of the photography screen through sound when taking photos using the Photography Pro.
PlayStation®5 is equipped with system and display customization settings that are easier to see and use. Select Settings > Accessibility from the control center. From there, you can customize display features including Zoom, Color Correction, Text Size, Bold Text, High Contrast and Closed Captioning. You can also change button assignments like vibration intensity and adaptive trigger effect intensity.
PS5 Screen Reader* can also read aloud the text on screen and provide spoken guidance for operating the console. During gameplay, chat transcription converts the voice chat of other players in parties and games to text and read aloud the text you enter to other players. These features, and more, help create a more comfortable environment.
LinkBuds are truly wireless headphones with a unique open ring driver unit designed to avoid blocking the ear. These headphones thus enable the user to hear ambient sounds naturally while enjoying all kinds of information, musical enjoyment, and other entertainment. The Wide Area Tap function allows users to double or triple tap around the ears*1 to play, pause, or skip music tracks to control music playback － there's no need to touch the LinkBuds themselves.as well as operate the headset. Visitors to the exhibit can experience listening to music and surrounding sounds simultaneously and use the Wide Area Tap function to operate the system.
With Android™*1 Walkman® audio players, you can use the TalkBack*2 for playing music, adjusting the volume, and other operations*3. After you turn the TalkBack on, swiping two fingers up and down switches the screen and enables you to read back the titles of the usable functions and settings visible on the screen. Swiping left or right across the screen displays new information instantly. It is still possible to adjust volume, replay, stop, fast-forward, and reverse using conventional buttons on the device.
These TVs are equipped with a variety of accessibility features to assist with vision, hearing, and action. The display at the venue allows you to experience the Text Magnification function*1*2, which magnifies the text on the screen, and the Screen Reader function*1*3, which reads out the TV settings. BRAVIA™ TVs equipped with Google Assistant enable you to control the TV by simply speaking directly to the TV with simple commands such as "OK, Google, XX," or search for videos on YouTube™, turn the TV on and off, and adjust the volume. *4*5*6
CSUN 2023 will schedule the following sessions.
Shigeki Ishizuka, Vice Chairman, Sony Group Corporation, and Neal Manowitz, President and COO of Sony Electronics North America, send messages regarding Sony's accessibility. Also, Sony's ongoing accessibility initiatives will be introduced, such as collaboration with organizations for people with disabilities and the latest products which are accessible.
In this joint session, Sony and Google will discuss the importance of empowering independence for all users, and how they collaborated to make the setup experience of Google TV devices more accessible to screen reader users. Being able to perform tasks independently is important to many people with disabilities. One of the most frequently requested features is the ability to turn on the screen reader from the beginning, supporting independent TV setup. We will introduce the new method of enabling TalkBack screen reader at the beginning and the research that went into the design.
The R&D Center of Sony Group Corporation is working to create ideas and develop technologies related to assistive technology for the future. We will give a presentation on a demonstration experiment it did on one of its research themes related to a navigation system that uses light touch contact*9 and drones. The aim of such technology is to enable people with visual impairments to move safely and independently to their destinations. Through experiments on providing guidance using prototypes, the combined contact force of Light Touch Contact and the inductive force that tells the user where to go, the presenters will show that both postural stabilization and guidance can be achieved.
Approximately 3,500 people visited CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in 2023. Many visited the Sony booth and had the chance to experience the accessibility features on Sony products. The autonomous entertainment robot "aibo" demo was positioned at the entrance of the Sony booth. This caught the attention of almost everyone, and they stopped to interact with aibo as they stroked him and enjoyed interacting with their partner's guide dog. Many visitors saw aibo with smile as the perfect comfort animal. Visitors to the booth had very diverse needs. Sony's staff introduced the accessibility features of each product and engaged with the visitors about their accessibility needs. Many visitors gathered information and took home pamphlets on the Sony products for their families and friends.
CSUN was supported mainly by members of Sony North America, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and the Employees Resources Group, which works to improve accessibility. Some of the Sony members themselves had some accessibility needs, and there was a passionate engagement with visitors with whom they shared a disability. Discussion with the visitors with disabilities such as vision and hearing and their families provided valuable insight and ideas on how to improve the accessibility and usability of our products - this is one of the great benefits of demonstrating at the CSUN Assistive Technology conference.