Benetech® has been awarded the AT&T Technology Innovation Award which recognizes an outstanding assistive technology company that has created lasting impact through the development of assistive technologies applied in communication, education, employment, daily living, and recreation. Benetech operates the Bookshare® service that allows those with print disabilities to legally download books and periodicals to be read as Braille, large print or synthetic speech.
“Organizations from AT&T to Benetech have an opportunity and responsibility to serve people with disabilities,” said Colin Petheram, Director for AT&T California, as he presented the award. “Benetech is being recognized tonight for innovation and leadership that has made a crucial difference in the lives of disabled people.”
Bookshare offers more than 36,000 digital books, newspapers and magazines and delivers them to students in the BRF Braille file format and the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) standard for Digital Talking Books. Bookshare also produces accessible textbooks from the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
“Benetech is dedicated to creating technology that empowers people,” said Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman who accepted the award on behalf of Benetech. “Our goal is to put the fruits of Silicon Valley into the hands of people who need it. We’re raising the floor, providing access to technology that allows people to live powerful, independent lives. We won’t rest until everyone who needs this technology has it.”
The AT&T Technology Innovation Award was presented to Benetech on March 14th at the Alliance For Technology Access (ATA) 20th Anniversary Gala Celebration that took place during the Technology and People with Disabilities (CSUN) Conference in Los Angeles, CA. The ATA is a national network of community-based resource centers, developers, vendors and associates dedicated to providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities. The ATA works to increase the use of standard, assistive and information technology in the disabled community.
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Bookshare is operated by Benetech, a Palo Alto CA-based nonprofit technology development organization. In 2007, Bookshare received a $32 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education to significantly expand the availability of accessible digital books and software for reading those books. Over the next five years, Bookshare expects to add over 100,000 new book titles and textbooks to its collection.