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
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.
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.