Google’s Pixel 2 event in San Francisco on Wednesday had a lot of stuff to show off and most of it was more of the same…But tucked into the tail end of the presentation, Google quietly revealed that it had changed the world with a pair of wireless headphones. Not to be outdone by Apple’s Air Pods and their wirelessly-charging TicTac storage case, Google packed its headphones with the power to translate between 40 languages, literally in real-time. The company has finally done what science fiction and countless Kickstarters have been promising us, but failing to deliver on, for years. This technology could fundamentally change how we communicate across the global community.
It’s truly amazing, the wealth of information we all have at our fingertips — that is, of course, unless your fingertips are how you have to access that information. An innovative new tablet that uses magnetically configurable bumps may prove to be a powerful tool for translating information like maps and other imagery to a modality more easily accessed by the visually impaired.The tablet, unnamed as yet, has evolved and improved over the past few years as part of Europe’s BlindPAD project, which aims to create a cheap, portable alternative to touchscreen devices. READ MORE: BlindPAD’s tablet makes visual information tactile for the vision-impaired | TechCrunch
We don’t think there’s a right or wrong way for kids to play. For this kid-oriented gift guide, we focused on learning toys—open-ended games, kits, toys and crafts that promote lifelong skills like critical thinking, problem solving, logic, and even coding. To choose from the hundreds of toys available, we spent more than 30 hours trying 35 recommendations from experts, educators, and parents… READ MORE: Learning Toys and STEM Toys We Love | The Wirecutter
TUCKED AWAY IN the forests of New Hampshire, somewhere just outside of Strafford, is a family of giant metal boxes. Each one is filled with 50 drawings and rigged with a system of gears that lets you crank through the images with the turn of a handle. As the illustrations flip past, they combine to form a simple animation. They’re like those flip books you used to play with as a kid, only much, much bigger. READ MORE: Giant Flip Books Are Hiding in the Woods of New Hampshire | WIRED
For Voss, Wall, and their colleague Nick Haber, a Stanford post-doc, the idea is that their Glass software will help autistic children recognize and understand facial expressions and, through them, emotions. It operates like a game or, as Voss calls it, an “interactive learning experience.” Through the Google Glass eyewear, children are asked to, say, find someone who is happy. When they look at someone who is smiling, the app recognizes this and awards “points.” The system also records what the child does for later review. “You can plot, as they wear the glasses, how they’re improving, where they’re improving,” Wall says. “You can look at video to understand why.” READ MORE: Clinical Trial Will Test if Google Glass Can Help Kids with Autism | WIRED
We spend a lot of time on our digital devices and we should be able to express ourselves through them. Unfortunately it’s all beige and brushed aluminum these days. We at Qwerkytoys are about to shake things up with our first product, the Qwerkywriter. Qwerkywriter connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to iPhones, iPads, iMacs, MacPros, Macbooks, Android Tablets Devices, Windows Tablets, and more. MORE: QWERKYWRITER | Typewriter-Inspired Mechanical Keyboard
RePhone Lets You Turn Anything Into A Phone | TechCrunch
Finally, game cartridges you can plug in to your smart phone: Pico Cassette sends data through the headphone jack using audio signals | ARS Technica
Enter Pico Cassette, a Japanese outfit that says it’s bringing back “the next retro” with tiny game cartridges that plug in to a smartphone’s headphone jack. The tiny “cassettes” (the general Japanese term for cartridges) are built on PlugAir technology, which uses a specially designed iPhone or Android app to draw power from the headphone jack and send data using specially modulated audio signals…
Many of us increasingly experiencing technology overload from all the devices, gadgets, products and tools at our fingertips. For individuals with disabilities though, technological advancements are providing opportunities to improve quality of life through innovations in assistive technology. Implantable wearables are also improving quality of life through the ability to seamlessly interact with our environments using devices such as magnets and sensors embedded under the skin. Below is a collection of select stories from around the web about recent advancements in assistive technologies and implantable devices.
- How wearable technology is changing the lives of disabled people | Globe & Mail
- 3D-printed robotic prosthetic wins 2015 UK James Dyson Award | CNET
- Boy, nine, fitted with first prosthetic hand that can change grip with gestures | The Guardian
- Watch A Girl Named Isabella Unpack A New 3-D Printed Arm | TechCrunch
- A Lego-Friendly Prosthetic Arm Lets #Kids Build Their Own Attachments | Gizmodo #Lego #disabilities
- A bionic hand in five days: how tech innovation is changing lives | The Guardian
- Amplifying the Power of the Elderly with 3D Printed Assistive Technologies | 3DPrint
- This device transforms any bicycle into a smartphone-powered smart vehicle | Mashable
- I’m a legally blind photographer. Here’s how modern technology makes that possible. | Vox
- Digital pens help spot early signs of brain conditions | Engadget
- Being colorblind is tougher than you think. This tech colors my world | CNET
- The Coming Wave of Bionic Hearing Gadgets | MIT Technology Review
- Can technology make a hearing-centric world more accessible? | The Verge
- Blind Americans can now ‘see’ with a device that uses their tongues | Mashable
- Tongue-controlled wheelchairs could be boon for quadriplegics | Tech Times
- Color-changing helmets could warn you about head injuries | Engadget
- Hacking for those with disabilities | MIT News
- New Stretchy Electronics Will Help Us Stay Healthy And Safe | TechCrunch
- ‘Brain-to-Text’ system converts speech brainwave patterns to text | KurzweilAI
- Disabled people remotely pilot robot in another country with their thoughts | KurzweilAI
- The #Software Stephen Hawking Uses to Talk to the World is now #Free | Engadget #communication #disabilities #tech
- BBC Experiment Lets You Control iPlayer With Your Mind | Engadget #gadgets #disabilities #tech
- #AugmentedReality #AR Goggles Aim to Help Legally Blind See | MIT Technology Review #tech #gadgets #disabilities @TechReview
- New Tablet Case Recognizes Sign Language and Translates It Into Text | WIRED
- 10 Ingenious Inventions for People With Disabilities | Mashable
- This Woman Doesn’t Wear Wearables. She Implants Them | WIRED
- From The Designers Of Fitbit, A Digital Tattoo Implanted Under Your Skin | FastCompany
- Injectable Implants Could Help Crack the Brain’s Codes | MIT Technology Review
- Woman Puts Deus Ex On Computer Chip In Her Hand | Kotaku
- Top 10 Implantable Wearables Soon To Be In Your Body | WT Vox
- Top Five Implantable Wearables | Technowize
- Implantable Microchips are the Ultimate Wearable | CE.org
- 3 lessons from developers who have embraced assistive technology | Mashable
- Be My Eyes Lets You Help A Visually-Impaired Person See Via Their Phone’s Video Camera | TechCrunch
- Google’s new handwriting app wants you to scribble on-screen | CNET
The last few years have seen the biggest change in how young people spend their time since the invention of the television – but is it a good thing? READ MORE: Are tablet computers harming our children’s ability to read? | Technology | The Guardian.
In four small schools scattered across San Francisco, a data experiment is under way. That is where AltSchool is testing how technology can help teachers maximize their students’ learning. Founded two years ago by Max Ventilla, a data expert and former head of personalization at Google, AltSchool runs schools filled with data-gathering technology.
Information is captured from the moment each student arrives at school and checks in on an attendance app. For part of the day, students work independently, using iPads and Chromebooks, on “playlists” of activities that teachers have selected to match their personal goals. Data about each student’s progress is captured for teachers’ later review. Classrooms are recorded, and teachers can flag important moments by pressing a button, as you might TiVo your favorite television show.
The idea is that all the data from this network of schools will be woven into a smart centralized operating system that teachers will be able to use to design effective and personalized instruction. There is even a recommendation engine built in. READ MORE: Educating Data | MIT Technology Review.