Microsoft’s Halo-themed prosthetic arm will make kids feel like Master Chief

Microsoft’s 343 Industries has partnered with bionics non-profit Limbitless Solutions to create Halo-themed, 3D-printed prosthetic arms for children. The prosthetic arms are fully functional, with hands that are capable of gripping objects through EMG sensors. The best part is, they’re donated free of charge to recipients.

Read More

Smart glasses for the hard of hearing are changing theater in London

When my Aunt Nicki visits me in London, we avoid musical theater and the cinema.

Aunt Nicki is hard of hearing. Although there are many enhanced listening devices available to help her, such as an Assistive Living amplifier or a closed captioning screen that sits in a cup holder, she tells me they don't work well enough.

Read More

NightWare Won’t Sleep Until PTSD Victims Dream Nightmare-Free

NightWare, a Minneapolis-based medical-device startup, is creating an Apple Watch app for those suffering from nightmare disorder, a common side affect for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Read More

Instagram is now using AI to describe photos for users with visual impairments

Instagram announced today that it’s rolling out new features that will make the app easier to use for people with visual impairments. The changes will allow screen readers to describe photos, either automatically using AI or by reading custom descriptions added by users.

Read More

Braille for a New Digital Age

When she was a graduate student in her native Bulgaria about five years ago, Kristina Tsvetanova was once asked to help a blind friend sign up online for a class. Understanding why he could not do so opened her eyes to the lag in technological innovation to benefit blind and visually impaired people.

Read More

Microsoft's Nadella Says AI Can make the World More Inclusive

Talk of articial intelligence often leads to speculation about how machines may displace workers. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks we should talk more about how AI algorithms can expand the workforce now—by helping people with disabilities.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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,"

Read More

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.

Read More

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.  

Read More

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.   

Read More