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AbledBody helps disabled navigate gadget world

Fifty-four million people in the U.S. qualify as physically or mentally disabled, and this just-launched news site is for them.

Assistive tech for the disabled is an important topic people may not give much thought to, even though an estimated 54 million Americans are considered to be physically or mentally disabled. That's about 19 percent of the U.S. population.

AbledBody is a new consumer tech-focused site just for this segment. On it, news of trends and gadgets that can aid the disabled at work and home are reported on daily through original and sourced news, personal commentary, and contributors' expert opinions. It's a great idea for a tech blog and one we're happy to share.

Suzanne Robitaille, co-founder and editor

The site, which officially launched Thursday, covers not just hardware and software of interest to the disabled community, but also information on how the disabled can make general gear more accessible.

For example, the blog has a post up criticizing Amazon's Kindle 2 for not using all the text-to-speech options it could have from its partner in the technology. That's something I wouldn't have thought of, but it's the kind of thing we can expect AbledBody to cover.

Editor in chief Suzanne Robitaille--who lost her hearing at age 4 due to meningitis and now has a cochlear implant--has covered disability topics for The Wall Street Journal and is the author of a forthcoming book, "The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology." Other stories currently appearing on AbledBody cover a new touch technique that lets blind consumers use smartphones; Bookshare rebuilding its talking books library; and a new Apple iPhone app that manages diabetes.

The site isn't just about informing the disabled about their options, but also about the growing disability market. Many companies make their money on health care products, and disabilities are a big part of that. AbledBody tracks the innovations from both sides, which is interesting. It's a new site, but definitely one we'll be keeping an eye on.