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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The Subtle Ways Your Digital Assistant Might Manipulate You

TODAY WE GOOGLE for information, but in the future, we might not need to. Instead we may rely on our butler, namely the intelligent, voice-activated digital assistant on our smart phones, smart watches, or devices like Amazon’s Echo and Alphabet’s Home. Rather than searching the web, we’ll be able to ask our digital assistant how to remove the stain from our shirt. It’ll perform other perfunctory tasks, like adding groceries to our shopping list, checking the weather, sending a text, or ordering an Uber.

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The Wonderful World of Wearables – The Latest Wearable Technology

When most people think about wearable technology, Fitbits and Apple Watches come to mind. While these are devices have been game-changers, the world of wearable technology is so much larger - and it’s getting bigger every day.

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Another Risky 'BP Monitor' App - Puts patients at risk with claims to measure multiple cardiovascular parameters

Over the past few years, we've covered a number of health apps that we believed put patients at risk through dubious claims about what they can measure or treat. In 2014, we detailed an app called Instant Blood Pressure, which claimed to measure blood pressure just by having users put the microphone over their chest and finger over the camera. About a year after our initial article, it was pulled first from the Google Play app store then the iTunes app store. And earlier this year, a study conducted by some of my colleagues at Johns Hopkins showed Instant Blood Pressure to be highly inaccurate and detailed how those inaccuracies could put patients at risk. Given the attention that study got in the lay press as well as Apple's moves to scale up their healthcare expertise, I assumed that the review of health apps, particularly those that claim to measure or treat something, would be tightened up.

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CMS Final Rules Cover the Cost of Bone-Anchored Hearing Devices

The Centers for Medicare and  Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that codifies the Medicare policy guidance when a device is not subject to the hearing aid exclusion. The rule finalizes that certain auditory implants, including cochlear implants, brain stem implants, and osseointegrated (bone-anchored) implants, do not meet the definition of hearing aids that are excluded from coverage.

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Pharmacies Are Awful—But These Startups Could Fix Them

So, you need to pick up a prescription. During lunch or after work you’ll go to the nearest pharmacy, where you’ll stand in line at a counter. The pharmacist will ask you to wait 20 minutes, so you’ll contemplate a new shampoo or flip through magazines. Maybe you’ll leave with your pills, but maybe the pharmacy won’t have your meds in stock.

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