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.
Beyond Wearables: New Frontiers in Interactive Tech | WIRED
IN THE FINAL months of 2014, wearable technology sparked significant media and consumer attention – not least thanks to the announcement of the Apple Watch. But as wearables move from the margins into the mainstream, it’s time to consider the next wave of interactive technology.
Programmable Clothes Are Going Commercial | Co.Design
Clothes speak volumes about us, conveying messages about wealth, taste, and personal beliefs. So in this age of ubiquitous screens and social sharing, it’s no surprise that textiles have become another platform for electronic communication. But two new efforts are commercializing the technology, creating consumer fashions that allow the wearer to project any electronic text or image she desires.
Somehow Teen Girls Get the Coolest Wearable Out There | WIRED
JEWELBOTS ARE BRACELETS with programmable plastic flowers made for middle-school girls. They’re also the most interesting wearable I’ve seen this year. Their creators describe them as “friendships bracelets that teach girls to code.”
This Jacket Is a Dream Come True and I Need It Now | Jezebel
The BauBax jacket—which CNN quite accurately refers to as “the Swiss Army knife of
travel wear”—which debuted on Kickstarter last week with a goal of raising $20,000. They have since raised over $600,000 because it is a stunningly good idea. The jacket contains 15 pockets and a slew of built-in doodads.
These Strange Clothes Came Out of a Regular Old 3-D Printer | WIRED
Paired with new cellular structures being devised by 3-D printing re
searchers, the material allowed Peleg to create “lace-like textiles” that she could work with
“just like cloth.” She printed them using a Witbox—a $1,800 machine. [Image: Danit Peleg]
These Mathematical Scarves Are Designed By a Computer Algorithm | Gizmodo
It’s still summer, but these mathematical merino scarves designed with a computer algorithm are getting us in the mood for colder temps. They’re called KnitYak: black-and-white merino scarves that each have a snowflake-unique design that’s generated by a computer algorithm.
A Paper-Thin Solar Panel Can Charge Your Phone on the Go | Lifehacker
Solar panels keep getting lighter and tinier—good news for rugged on-the-go types who can charge their devices on the trail with sun-fueled chargers. And this particular solar charger on Kickstarter is so thin, you can slip it in your Lonely Planet while it feeds your phone battery.
Disney’s $1 Billion Bet on a Magical Wristband | WIRED
The MagicBands look like simple, stylish rubber wristbands offered in cheery shades of grey, blue, green, pink, yellow, orange and red. Inside each is an RFID chip and a radio like those in a 2.4-GHz cordless phone. The wristband has enough battery to last two years. It may look unpretentious, but the band connects you to a vast and powerful system of sensors within the park.
New Process Can Print Stretchy Electronics Onto Your Clothes | TechCrunch
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a single-step process to print conductive material on cloth, allowing manufacturers to build stretchable wearables that can test vital signs like heart rate and muscle contraction.
Google’s Project Jacquard Aims To Make “Activewear” A Reality | ReadWriteWeb
What’s really fascinating about Project Jacquard…the clothing itself ought to be an interactive thing. It ought to provide us an opportunity to interact with devices around us. That’s the breakthrough that Project Jacquard is really talking about—now, instead of just passive data collection, your clothing is an opportunity for you to interact with devices.
Sensory Fiction | Felix | VIMEO
Sensory fiction is about new ways of experiencing and creating stories. Traditionally, fiction creates and induces emotions and empathy through words and images. By using a combination of networked sensors and actuators, the Sensory Fiction author is provided with new means of conveying plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination.
How to Print a Super-Thin Touchscreen Display on Just About Anything | Gizmodo
[T]his award-winning paper is perhaps the coolest we’ve seen: It lays out a new technique for printing cheap, simple touchscreen displays with conventional printers. It’s called PrintScreen, and it’s a system that allows the user to print on nearly a
From The Designers Of Fitbit, A Digital Tattoo Implanted Under Your Skin | Co.Design
We asked NewDealDesign, the design consultancy behind projects like the Fitbit line of activity trackers, and Google’s modular Project Ara smartphone, what things might look like when technology and fashion reach beyond the wrist. In response, they created Project Underskin. It’s a concept for a smart digital tattoo which would be implanted in your hand and interact with everything you touch. It can unlock your front door, trade data with a handshake, or even tell you if you have low blood sugar.