What Happens When You Try to Read Moby Dick on Your Smartphone? 

Text to Voice
Man reading a book on his smartphoneThese days, when most of us think of a “book,” we have in mind something around nine inches by six inches, with mass market paperbacks shaving off an inch or two in each dimension. But digital reading has redefined presuppositions about size and, more importantly, about what format is best for what’s being read: text messages, news articles, textbooks or fiction.Conventional wisdom (including my own) typically suggests that serious digital reading calls for ample screen size (at least a tablet or e-reader), while one-off encounters with sports updates or tweets are fine on mobile phones.
But these rules of thumb are crumbling as users increasingly abandon larger mobile devices like Kindles and Nooks in favor of an all-purpose phone. While sales of e-readers and tablets are slowing, the real growth is in smartphones. In 2014, 1.2 billion smartphones were sold worldwide. With many newer generations of smartphones offering bigger screens – along with continued advancements in screen resolution – readers are turning to their mobiles for more and more of their onscreen reading.
Source: What Happens When You Try to Read Moby Dick on Your Smartphone? | The Digital Reader
Posted in Blindness, Computers and Related, Learning, Cognition, and Developmental, Uncategorized, Visual Impairment | Tagged | Leave a comment

Robotics to Help Blind and Visually Impaired to Recognize Objects

Speech Synthesis
Yantao Shen

Yantao Shen


Yantao Shen, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, is developing a hand-worn robotic device that will help millions of blind and visually impaired people navigate past movable obstacles or assist in their ability to pre-locate, pre-sense and grasp an object. New technology development at University of Nevada, Reno and University of Arkansas, Little Rock incorporates miniaturizationA hand-worn robotic device is being developed that will help millions of blind and visually impaired people navigate past movable obstacles or assist in their ability to pre-locate, pre-sense and grasp an object.In a collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, researchers will develop new technology, with co-robotic functions currently unavailable in assistive devices, for the wearable robotic device. The team received an $820,000, three-year National Robotics Initiative grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute division. The grant is also the first NRI grant for the University.“The miniaturized system will contribute to the lives of visually impaired people by enabling them to identify and move objects, both for navigational purposes or for more simple things such as grasping a door handle or picking up a glass,” Yantao Shen, assistant professor and lead researcher on the project from the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Engineering, said. “We will pre-map the hand, and build a lightweight form-fitting device that attaches to the hand using key locations for cameras and mechanical and electrical sensors. It will be simpler than a glove, and less obtrusive.”
Source: Robotics to Help Blind and Visually Impaired to Recognize Objects - This is Reno
Posted in Blindness, Visual Impairment | Tagged | Leave a comment

7-128 Software – Top Web Sites for Accessible Gaming – 2016

7-128 Logo

7-128 Software

We build and market games that:
  • Are single user games
  • Run on Windows
  • Are playable by adult and child gamers who are blind, vision impaired, color blind, motion impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing.
Therefore, we can reasonably rank only Web sites that relate to those areas. In addition, we recognize though do not rank, Web sites that:
  • Are Shout Outs from the accessible gaming community
  • We personally think the community would like to know about
Responding to considerable interest from the accessible gaming community, these now include mention of:
  • Web sites featuring mobile games
Here are our selections for 2016. Many thanks to the folks in accessible gaming who helped us.
Top Sites Industry Leaders

Top 25 Web Sites for Gamers who are Blind - 2016

Source: 7-128 Software - Top Web Sites for Gaming - 2016
Posted in Recreation and Leisure | Tagged | Leave a comment

Robotic Exoskeleton for Paraplegic

TTS Demo
Robotic Exoskeleton

Robotic Exoskeleton

After 10 years in development and a clinical trial that involved some 1,200 patient sessions, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a robotic exoskeleton designed by a team of researchers at Vanderbilt University.The Indego exoskeleton is the second exoskeleton in America to receive FDA approval for clinical and personal use, and will allow people who have been paralysed below the waist to stand up and walk around. You can view an online brochure here (PDF)."You can think of our exoskeleton as a Segway with legs," explained Michael Goldfarb, the professor of mechanical engineering who led the project, in a statement."If the person wearing it leans forward, he moves forward. If he leans back and holds that position for a few seconds, he sits down. When he is sitting down, if he leans forward and holds that position for a few seconds, then he stands up."
Source: Robotic exoskeleton for paraplegics approved for market - CNET
Posted in Seating and Mobility | Tagged | Leave a comment

Robotics Improve Brain Assessments

woman seated at the KINARM Exoskeleton Lab

KINARM Exoskeleton Lab

BKIN Technologies is transforming the assessment of brain-injuries by putting robotic technology in the hands of neuroscientists and clinician scientists around the world. KINARM Labs were invented by Dr. Stephen Scott, a professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University in Canada. Over 15 years ago, he assembled a team of physicists, neuroscientists and machinists to design a robotic exoskeleton that could precisely move and monitor a person’s arm. Because of his understanding of the brain circuits involved in making healthy arm movements, he was able to create a proprietary suite of tests that allows him to provide a complete brain function assessment in a short period of time. “It enables researchers to create a ‘fingerprint’, if you will, of the patient’s unique neurological condition. Traditional testing methods, such as touching a finger to the nose or bouncing a ball, just don’t capture the complexity of brain processes necessary for everyday activities such as preparing dinner or driving a car,” says Scott.
Source: Using robotics to improve brain assessments
Posted in assessment | Tagged | Leave a comment

How Cole Galloway’s Harness Is Helping The Disabled Work

The news seemed like a death sentence: In 1998, Anne Dunlap, a pretty young woman in Delaware, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash, severely impairing her daily functioning. Even with physical therapy, she struggled to juggle multiple basic tasks at one time. Walking while talking, for instance, had to be slowly relearned during 16 years of lessons at a clinic. At least, that is, until Cole Galloway, a professor in the physical therapy department at the University of Delaware in Newark and the inventor of the Go Baby Go cars for disabled children, talked with Dunlap about what she wanted. “I was in a room with Anne and a bunch of other therapists,” Galloway tells NationSwell on a recent afternoon as he strolled the campus. “Someone asked her, ‘Hey, Anne, what would you like to do?’ She said immediately — she’s a very fashion-oriented kid — ‘Oh, I want to be in sales. I want to work at a mall.’”

Everybody in the room had heard this answer before and moved on, as it was just another routine blank to fill in. But Dunlap’s wish caused Galloway to wonder: Could physical therapy based in real-world actions — not exercises in an antiseptic rehab clinic — improve recovery time? To test his theory, he invented a harness system that could be rigged up on the ceiling of a small kiosk, giving Dunlap enough support to be fully mobile. Within a matter of weeks, the Go Baby Go Cafe opened. Dunlap’s new physical therapy regiment involved scooping ice cream, making coffee and taking cash at the pop-up store’s register. Read more: http://nationswell.com/cole-galloway-harness-system-enter-workforce/#ixzz4IA6v3DiK
Source: How Cole Galloway's Harness Is Helping The Disabled Work
Posted in workplace | Tagged | Leave a comment


text to speech

MindWalker Exoskeleton


A lack of mobility often leads to limited participation in social life. The purpose of this STREP is to conceive a system empowering lower limbs disabled people with walking abilities that let them perform their usual daily activities in the most autonomous and natural manner.

The project addresses 3 main different fields of expertise:

BCI technologies Virtual Reality Exoskeleton Mechatronics and Control

The project top level objective is to combine these expertises to develop an integrated MINDWALKER system. In addition the system shall undergo a clinical evaluation process.

UT’s role is to develop control algorithms for handling the orthosis and actuation and to support to mechatronics design by TU Delft.

A SCI patient wearing the MINDWALKER.

MindWalker Exoskeleton


Assisted by the MINDWLKER, the patient is able to stand and walk step by step with hand grabbing the bars.

Source: MIRA-Dept. of Biomechanical Engineering 
Posted in Seating and Mobility | Tagged | Leave a comment

C-Leg 4 above knee prosthetic leg

above the knee Prothesis


Real-time adjustments driven by 3D motion analysis

Since your motion occurs in three dimensions, the C-Leg uses sophisticated sensors to determine where it is in space at all times and to make precise adjustments at every moment of every step. As a result, C-Leg lets you easily navigate ramps, stairs, and nearly every type of challenging surface – even when walking backwards. C-Leg continues the industry-leading tradition of improving outcomes for more than 60,000 fittings worldwide. With studies citing increased stability and reduced falls*, C-Leg is weatherproof, can be controlled with the Android Cockpit app, and makes walking backward easier. Whether on sidewalk steps or dodging subway crowds, C-Leg helps transform the way you walk. The C-Leg has been in more clinical studies than any other prosthetic knee joint, and these studies have proven that the frequency of falls in people with a transfemoral amputation is significantly lower with the C-Leg in comparison to conventional prostheses. This makes the C-Leg one of the most reliable leg prosthesis systems available. We’ve taken stumble recovery to a new level, increasing precision and offering greater stability.
Source: C-Leg 4 above knee prosthetic leg — Ottobock USA
Posted in Seating and Mobility | Tagged | Leave a comment

Meet: George Butterfly repairs wheelchairs | Local News | fayobserver.com

George Butterfly repairing a wheelchair

George Butterfly's Shop

A chance encounter with a man in a wheelchair a few years ago led George Butterfly to a charitable mission."I saw an old man by the side of the road with a manual wheelchair. I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'Picking up trash,'" Butterfly remembered recently. "I said, 'Wouldn't it be easier with an electric wheelchair?' I bought one at an auction for $75. It changed his life."Today, Butterfly and a team of volunteers run Operation Wheelchair. The workers - also including Jim Carpenter, Ronnie Hair and Dave Oldham - donate or loan powered wheelchairs to people who need them to get around. They also repair broken chairs.
The charity gives first consideration to veterans and their families, Butterfly said. He said Operation Wheelchair has donated chairs to the Warrior Transition Battalion Complex on Fort Bragg and to N.C. Veterans Park.
The motto of the group, which got nonprofit status a year ago, is "Bridging the Gap."
"The gap is the amount of time it takes from when you get your prescription until the time you get your chair," Butterfly said. "It can be as much as a year-and-a-half."
Butterfly said his group's goal is to shorten that time.
Butterfly, 66, is a Vermont native who came to Fayetteville 26 years ago with his wife, Glenda. He is an Air Force veteran who also ran a taxi company in Alaska, where he picked up a lot of the mechanical skills he uses in his current venture.
Fans of the old Fayetteville Force hockey team might remember Butterfly. For years, he served as "Puck Head," a team mascot who wore a costume that included an oversized foam rubber hat shaped like a hockey puck. Butterfly would wander among the crowd at the games, firing up the fans.
These days, Butterfly spends his time repairing and donating wheelchairs.
Source: Meet: George Butterfly repairs wheelchairs | Local News | fayobserver.com
Posted in Seating and Mobility | Tagged | Leave a comment