How to Find Google's New Built-In Breathing Exercise

The TechWatch editors have selected this news item because it is analogous to our LiveWell development project BreatheWell Wear.   We hope you can try out both BreatheWell Wear and Google's web-based breathing exercise.

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Congressional Record Announcement regarding the NIDILRR 40th Anniversary

Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, on behalf of millions of people with disabilities, today I wish to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, NIDILRR, and its 40 years of accomplishments and contributions to the lives of people with disabilities.

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Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller first look: A new, necessary gamepad

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is the first of its kind. It's a plug-and-play option for people with disabilities -- it connects to the Xbox One or a Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth, and powers on just like the Elite. The controller itself is a clean white rectangle, about 11 inches long and 6 inches wide, with two large black buttons on its face. The buttons aren't touchpads, but they are light-touch enabled, clicking down with the softest of taps so players can roll their palm between the two or otherwise click them without exerting much force. Each button makes a slightly different noise as well, offering an extra layer of sensory input.

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Firefox makers working on voice-controlled web browser called Scout

Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox, is exploring a very different web browser called Scout that's operated by voice rather than keyboard, mouse or touch-screen taps.

The nonprofit revealed the Scout project in an agenda item for an all-hands meeting taking place this week in San Francisco. "With the Scout app, we start to explore browsing and consuming content with voice,"

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Home, smart home: Internet of Things and AI will make where we live more accessible

Independence. For people with disabilities and the aging population, it’s more than a word—it’s a catalyst for fulfillment and dignity. Home is where that independence and quality of life can be realized. The aging population wants to safely live in their own homes as long as possible. People with disabilities want a home designed for their specific needs. Ultimately, a more accessible home will help people feel connected and valued, and reduce loneliness.

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Non-Profit Organization Limbitless Solutions Promoting Innovative Solutions for People with Limited Mobility

Limbitless Solutions, a non-profit organization developed with the intention of “building a generation of innovators who use their skills and passion to improve the world around them”, is doing just that through their work with bionic arms and development of other assistive technologies. The organization is a direct support organization of University of Central Florida that was started in 2014. Within just four years, their solutions have already reached 179 countries.  

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Heat Mapping Used to Study People’s Gaze Patterns when Using Eye Gaze Technology

Heat mapping, a technology that has been incorporated into some eye gaze devices, is a tool that allows researchers to study and better understand how people view images and videos. When using eye gaze systems, it is possible to set up and utilize these heat maps that collect data on people’s gaze patterns. Understanding the gaze patterns of people not only benefits those interested in advertising but allows researches who work with people that are immobilized to better understand how their clients are using eye gaze. Being able to understand the habits and patterns that are common amongst users would enable researchers and engineers to improve the technology.   

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ALS Association initiates Project Revoice to enable voice cloning for ALS patients losing voices

At the start of 2018, Project Revoice, a voice cloning technology initiative was launched. The mission of Project Revoice states, “ALS is also known as Motor Neuron Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that, amongst other symptoms, often takes away a person’s ability to speak. Project Revoice is a non-profit initiative with the ultimate goal to ensure that no one living with ALS will ever have to suffer being robbed of their voice”.

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Republic Wireless’ new Relay communication device has potential to further enable ICT access.

A new device released by Republic Wireless at the beginning of 2018, called the Relay, was designed to provide children with a screenless communication device. The device gives kids more freedom,while giving parents’ peace of mind by providing a way to both locate and communicate with their children without the need for standard phones.


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Amazon's New Fire TV Device Is a Voice-controlled Cube

Amazon is launching what it thinks is the next obvious thing in home entertainment. The just-announced 4K Fire TV Cube is part Fire TV, part Amazon Echo, and part TV control center for the other boxes and gadgets you have crowded around your TV. Whereas earlier Fire TV devices required you to summon Alexa through the remote, the Fire TV Cube has Alexa built in. In fact, Amazon says the whole user experience of the Cube was designed with a "voice first" philosophy.

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Vision-Focused Accessibility Efforts Made by Apple, Amazon, and Others Highlighted in New Report

A new article published last night by The Wall Street Journal takes a look into how accessibility-focused technology has the "potential to fundamentally change the mobility, employment and lifestyle of the blind and vision-impaired."

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LiveWell RERC Releases Amazon Echo Skill That Reads TechWatch and LiveWell News Blogs

LiveWell RERC development staff recently released an Amazon Echo Skill that will read aloud the latest posts from our two blogs, TechWatch and LiveWell News.  The new skill can be installed on the Amazon Alexa app and then utilized on any Amazon Echo product.  The skill taps into the RSS feeds from our blogs and is called the LiveWell News Skill.    Once enabled, saying the command “Alexa, what’s the news”, or “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing,” will allow your Echo to read aloud the latest LiveWell RERC news feeds.  A user will only get information if it has been updated within the past week.  The LiveWell RERC developer of the new skill from Duke University, Leighanne Davis, says “The new skill will make the news feeds more accessible and convenient to a variety of users by providing speech output.”

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Startup aims to improve web access for disabled people

Canada­based startup Essential Accessibility is taking steps to make web browsing and accessing online services easier for people with disabilities, and hopes to build out a substantial business with enterprises worldwide.

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