Posts Tagged ‘assistive’
In this amazing feat of engineering, a person’s thoughts are used to navigate a robot, which makes us wonder about other applications in the future.
Using a brain-computer interface developed by University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Bin He, several students learned to steer a robotic quadcopter with just their thoughts. As shown in the video, they navigated the craft around a gym, making it turn, rise, dip, and even sail through a ring.
Similar technology may someday allow disabled people to regain speech or mobility lost due to disease or injury. They may be able to control a variety of devices with just their thoughts, including lights, TV remotes, artificial limbs and wheelchairs. The solution is completely noninvasive: brain waves (EEG) are picked up by electrodes in a cap worn on the scalp, not requiring a chip implanted in the brain.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows you the latest in prosthetic technology: bionic hands controlled from an iPhone app. (from YouTube)
Do you have a favorite product to tell others about? Here’s one I learned about from Richard Marcantonio. He’s 83 and designed an interesting piece of exercise equipment for mildly to severely disabled individuals. Special grips allow those with conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy to regain improved movement and strength in core-muscles groups.
From Richard: “The Wheelchair Gym was design for the growing wheelchair or power-chair population. It’s an undeserved group, and to that end I developed this simple, user-friendly piece of equipment called The Wheelchair Gym.”
Learn more at http://www.lotechusa.com/
Dr. Mark Humayun was going to be a doctor all along, but when a family member lost her eyesight, he soon began his journey as an innovator. “When I was going through medical school, my grandmother went blind and there was really no cure for her,” the Duke University graduate says. “And it made me rethink my career and focus more on how to restore sight to those who are going blind.”
Now a professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Humayun has invented the Argus Ocular Implant, which allows blind patients to see again. According a press release on the school’s website, the intraocular retinal prosthesis “restores some visual capabilities for patients whose blindness is caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). RP is an inherited retinal degenerative disease that affects about 100,000 people nationwide.”
Read the rest of the story and comment at Huffington Post.
Low Vision Survey Results
Results of WebAIM’s recent survey for those with low vision are now available at http://webaim.org/projects/lowvisionsurvey/. A few highlights are found below. The results of our motor disabilities survey will be available soon.
This data underscores that users with low vision are very diverse. The range of vision loss varies greatly, as do the assistive technologies used. The vast majority of respondents use multiple assistive technologies, ranging from screen readers to simply changing text sizes in browsers. There is very high keyboard use in this population, strengthening arguments for ensuring keyboard accessibility. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s a wheelchair alternative that may eventually save on the cost of some of the more expensive home modifications such as widening doorways. It’s a new concept that will surely improve but already holds much promise.
According to its website, Tek RMD, provides the opportunity of movement for people with paraplegia by enabling them to independently stand up in a completely upright position with correct posture, facilitating their movement and comfortable completion of their daily tasks indoors, such as in the home, office and shopping mall. Tek RMD is not an alternative to wheelchairs, it is a totally new concept, a new platform. Read the rest of this entry »
Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence
As smartphones get smarter and speech recognition apps like SIRI and Google Now learn more about you personally and start acting on your behalf, offering information or suggestions before you even think to ask, what will that learned knowledge be worth? What if the knowledge is about you personally — your health needs and medications, your personal traits and preferences and habits, what makes you happy and makes you feel good, or what makes you money? Will AI developers be able to build new barriers-to-entry and gain a significant competitive advantage by treating collected knowledge as proprietary, making it hard to justify a shift to competing products?
St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa has a unique Assistive Technology Lab that’s doing some special things to help people with different disabilities. It’s part of a Masters in Occupational Therapy curriculum that teaches students how to improve lives, and I’m happy to feature the program in this article and its attached video.
Assistive technology is anything used to increase, maintain, or improve our functional capabilities, and we all use assistive technology in one form or another to improve our lives. Examples include eye glasses & contacts, hearing aids, remote controls, cordless phones, computers, bicycles, cars, etc. When these items, tools if you will, are designed for use by anyone regardless of age or ability, we use the term Universal Design, but some of the tools are designed for special needs, such as the wheelchair designed for someone who can’t walk, or the smartphone apps designed for people who are blind. Read the rest of this entry »
Why do we need a smart fork, you may ask? Well, here’s the hype…
Studies show that people who eat slower eat 11% fewer calories and digest food better, so HAPILABS introduced 2 devices at CES: HAPIfork and HAPItrack. The dishwasher safe HAPIfork got immense press coverage, including articles in Consumer Reports and Bon Appetit, as well as placement on the Stephen Colbert Show (see video below).
This latest electronic gadget functions like a friendly shock collar by paying attention to when you eat, how many bites you take, and the intervals between each bite, vibrating to tell you when you’re eating too fast or too much. The goal is to encourage you to slow down, chew your food, improve your digestion, transform the way you eat, and… enjoy life more. HAPIfork then communicates with your smartphone so you can track your eating habits or share them with friends online. Read the rest of this entry »
I just returned from CES 2013, the big consumer electronics show, where I learned about the latest in health & wellness technologies and home automation products that can serve seniors and the disabled and support aging in place, when I saw this story on KCBD News Channel 11. They’ve been following the story of Brianna Graves, an active little girl who was diagnosed at age 9 with Gorham’s Disease, also known as “Vanishing Bone Disease.” Instead of focusing on what Brianna cannot do anymore, this story looks at what she can do from now on.
It’s a heart warming story of how technology and universal design concepts can make life easier – in this case for a young girl with some severe physical limitations.
Brianna controls her environment by moving her lip, as a computer monitors the movement. But just imagine what she’ll soon be able to do with the brain sensing technologies that I saw at CES. I’m excited about the pace of tech innovation and the positive impact on medicine, health care, and wellness. And I’d like to hear your stories of how technology has helped you or a loved one.