Category Archives: device

Emma – a prototype watch, raising hope for Parkinson’s disease

‘My God, it’s better’: Emma can write again thanks to a prototype watch, raising hope for Parkinson’s disease

 


The Emma Watch and a special Windows 10 tablet that controls it.

Engraved on the watch is a name – “emma” – in breezy lettering that, to Lawton’s eyes, looks eerily similar to her own handwriting. Impossible, however. She’s been unable to write legibly for years due to hand tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease. Lawton, a graphic designer, was diagnosed with the movement disorder in 2013, destroying her ability to do two things sacred to her: drawing letters and lines.

Those losses inspired Zhang, a Microsoft researcher, to spend months studying Parkinson’s disease while building and testing prototypes that could, she hoped, temporarily short-circuit the hand tremors, allowing Lawton to write her own name again. That’s why the two women now huddle closely in Lawton’s London flat, staring at the only watch of its kind.

“There was a lot hanging in that moment. Would it work?” Lawton recalls later. “I could see she was scared. I felt like I was going to cry. But you always have that little hope that somebody is going to make something that’s going to make your life a little easier.”

Zhang presses a button on the tablet, activating the watch. Lawton puts pen to paper.

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Haiyan Zhang on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.

Zhang was born in China. At age 9, she migrated with her parents to Australia where she was the only Asian child in her primary school, an oddity to classmates. As an outsider, the once vocal and confident girl lost her strong voice, and it took a l0ng time to find it again, she wrote in a blog. Eventually, in the world of technology, Zhang soared. She joined Microsoft in 2012, initially leading an innovation team in one of the Xbox gaming studios, excited by the tech potential for new forms of play.

“I was really excited to have someone so clever work on my challenge,” Lawton says. “She’s one of the smartest people I know.”

Lawton was born in Bedfordshire, a county in the east of England. She dreamed of acting but ultimately fell in love with design, pursuing that as a career. By her late 20s, Lawton’s right arm began to have “a mind of its own,” she wrote in her book, “Dropping the P Bomb.” Parkinson’s was the cause. Hand tremors, which Lawton describes as sometimes “going whole hog,” are a primary symptom of her progressive disease – one that affects more than 10 million in the world.

“Emma’s the real inspiration in terms of how she’s managing this condition and succeeding,” Zhang says. “It’s challenging enough being a woman in technology in the workplace. For her to take on this additional challenge, it’s amazing to me.”
As they got to know one another, the question became: Could Zhang’s tech skills help alleviate Lawton’s loss of writing function?

 

Curated by Lifekludger. Source: ‘My God, it’s better’: Emma can write again thanks to a prototype watch, raising hope for Parkinson’s disease – Transform

Airpoly Vision us a Truly Visionary App

Image of Aipoly Vision logo

‘Aipoly Vision’ is a very useful object-and-colour recogniser app that helps the blind, vision-impaired, and colour blind to understand their surroundings. It does so by using artificial intelligence to recognise objects through a device’s camera and then announces the name of each object to the user.

The Aipoly(link is external) developers are on a self-declared mission to build scalable vision intelligence. They intend to add facial recognition to the Aipoly Vision app, whereby users will be able to enter the names of people visible in the camera frame for ongoing recognition. They have also indicated that the app will soon be able to be taught new objects. When pointed at an object which is not recognised, users will be able to enter the name of the object which will be remembered the next time that object is encountered.

This app is an excellent example of how emerging technology can make a positive difference to users right now, and it comes with an ‘intelligent torch’ feature which automatically turns on the device’s torch if the camera frame is too dark, allowing the app to work in low-light situations.

Curated by lifekludger

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How a Smart Home Empowers People with Disabilities

While advances in personal technology continue at a rapid pace, at times their designers seem to forget about the population that could perhaps benefit from it the most. Stabelfeldt says just the ability to charge a phone with a wheelchair didn’t even exist until a few years ago.

But features like Apple’s “Home” app allow Stabelfeldt to control a variety of smart accessories in his house — from door locks and window shades, to lights and his garage door. The best part for Stabelfeldt? He can command Apple’s intelligent digital assistant Siri to work it all.


A Game Changer
“We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our products are as accessible as possible for all users,” said Apple’s Sarah Herrlinger. She has worked at Apple for nearly 14 years and is their Senior Manager of accessibility policy and initiatives.

“For some people, doing something like turning on your lights or opening a blind or changing your thermostat might be seen as a convenience, but for others, that represents empowerment, and independence, and dignity,” she told NBC News.

“HomeKit and Switch Control and Siri have given me a lot of value and a lot of opportunities to demonstrate that I’m a quality man and I’m a man of integrity,” Todd Stabelfeldt. “To get up every day and go to work: Everybody’s valuable, everybody has worth, everybody should have the opportunity to demonstrate it.”

How to Get Your iPhone to Read On-Screen Text Aloud to You

Being able to hear written text on your phone read aloud to you can serve multiple purposes. If you have any type of impaired vision, it can certainly help in that regard. It’s also useful in settings where you don’t have the time nor capability to stare at your phone and read large blocks of text. Perhaps you want to treat whatever your reading as an audiobook of sorts.Whatever the case may be, your iPhone is perfectly capable of reading nearly any text you select back to you. All you first need to do is enable this feature in Settings.

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Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: How to Get Your iPhone to Read On-Screen Text Aloud to You

How disabled iPhone users can take control with blinks, nudges and even breath

tecla shield disabled touchscreen teclashield editTim Cook began Apple’s latest product unveiling with a video narrated by a disabled woman using a Mac with the help of an assistive device — a switch that she could bump with the side of her head. Her name is Sady Paulson, and the message couldn’t have been clearer: With the right technology, even people with almost no control over their bodies can interact with the world and harness their own creativity in ways that were previously impossible.

Wireless freedom for disabled people

The video was upbeat and inspirational, meant to affirm Apple’s commitment to accessibility. But what it didn’t show was the struggle those like Paulson have when it comes to controlling a multitude of devices. That head-triggered switch might be her only means of controlling her wheelchair, computer, or phone or tablet. If it’s hardwired into one of these devices, how can it control the others?

Curated by (Lifekludger)
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Apple brings AirPod-style streaming, Live Listen accessibility to MFi hearing aids

 

Apple has enhanced its iOS accessibility features for users with hearing impairments, adapting its enhanced Bluetooth-based streaming to Made For iPhone hearing aids while introducing Live Listen, a feature that uses an iPhone’s mic to focus on conversations in loud environments.

 

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Apple brings AirPod-style streaming, Live Listen accessibility to MFi hearing aids

iOS App VoiceOver Accessibility Teaching and Testing Plan | AppleVis

VoiceOver, a feature Apple has built into all iOS devices to enable Braille and speech access for users who are unable to see the screen, has revolutionized the lives of countless thousands of blind people around the world. It works best when apps are deliberately developed in ways that ensure compatibility with VoiceOver, blind people are considered during development and included in all facets of the testing process.

If you are a developer who has been asked to ensure the full VoiceOver accessibility of your app, following a step-by-step plan will help you get it right the first time, and keep getting it right through each subsequent update.

If you are an educator, following an organized plan will help you determine which iOS apps will best meet your blind students’ needs and effectively teach them how to use each new app they encounter throughout their studies and beyond.

If you are a blind person who is new to iOS, or you are an advanced user of many apps, following a coherent plan will help you quickly come up to speed with the built-in capabilities of your device and each new app you install.

The purpose of this step-by-step plan is to provide a straightforward way for advocates, developers, educators and others to quickly explore, learn and improve the accessibility of all apps in Apple’s iOS ecosystem.

TL;DR

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: iOS App VoiceOver Accessibility Teaching and Testing Plan | AppleVis