by Joe Rice-Jones (reprint from KnowTechie)

Any museum-goer knows the ubiquitous “Do not touch” signs. What if you could though, with the aid of VR technology?

Image: NeuroDigital Technologies

That’s what a small startup from Spain, NeuroDigital Technologies has created for an exhibit currently going on at the National Gallery of Prague. NeuroDigital has created a VR experience, not with a headset, but utilizing haptic gloves that they created in a successful Kickstarter in 2015.

 

They have created VR maps of three iconic sculptures, The Head of Nefertiti by Thutmose (1345 BC), Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch (101 BC) and

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By Zuzana Kozinova – (reprint from EmergintEdTech)

For generations, students have been expected to absorb huge amounts of information, sometimes by simply being lectured to. And while the variety of activities we see now in class has greatly increased and become more student-centered, we are still often lacking tangible artifacts of learning that students take away from class.

3D can transform lessons and learning

Making classes more engaging and interactive should be an essential part of the education process. The act of creation in schools is often rather limited. Very few schools teach students how to produce something entirely new with what they have learned in class. Students are often just passive consumers rather than active creators.

3D – whether we are talking about 3D printing, 3D modeling software, etc – can provide numerous benefits to both teachers and students. For teachers, using the 3D technologies can help seize students’ interest in new class subjects. It provides hands-on experience which makes it a great tool when trying to explain difficult concepts or structures

For students, it’s an exercise of imagination as well as

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By Luke Dormehl (Digital Trends)

As much as we love our shiny new iPhone X, when it comes to technology that really changes people’s lives, very little compares to tech that’s designed to help disabled people lead fuller, more active, more independent, or simply more dignified lives. Thanks to advances in robotics, materials engineering, artificial intelligence, and a broad range of other things, assistive tech has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past decade. Here are seven astonishing examples of what we’re talking about: Read the remainder of this entry »

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Robots Bring the Class to the Student

Posted March 17, 2018 By Lee Learson

By Michael Gagne, District Administration

These days, McKenna Smith is back in the classroom. She’s a high school student in Missouri’s Nixa Public Schools, but had been unable to attend classes since elementary school because of chemotherapy treatment.

But Smith didn’t miss as much interaction with teachers and classmates as she could have because she connected with them remotely—via robot.

The Double Robot resembles a Segway scooter with a tablet computer attached to the top of the neck. Last year, the robot helped Smith seemingly be in school, as shown on a YouTube video. https://www.doublerobotics.com/

The robot wheeled up and down the classroom, while Smith’s face appeared on-screen, with a camera below the display. The camera captured the classroom, teacher and other students, and allowed Smith to interact with the class in real time.

Virtual inclusion

Researchers at the University of California Irvine studied the Double Robot and what it called “virtual inclusion.” Being connected to peers through robots can Read the remainder of this entry »

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by Kaya Yurieff  (CNN Tech)

Apple wants emojis to better represent people with disabilities. In a proposal sent to the Unicode Consortium — the nonprofit organization that sets the global standard for emojis — the company is advocating for 13 new additions.

The proposed emojis include an ear with a hearing aid, a person in a wheelchair, a prosthetic arm, a service dog and a person with a cane.  “Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities,” Apple wrote in the proposal. “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”

Apple (AAPL) said it chose options that are most inclusive to people in four main categories: blind and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, physical motor disabilities and hidden disabilities. However, the company noted this is designed to be a starting point, not a comprehensive list of all potential disabilities.

Apple said it consulted with top organizations for people with disabilities, such as

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by Gabi Redford, Kaiser Health News                                                                                                                                                            (Reprint from FierceHealthcare)

Nancy Delano, 80, of Denver has no plans to slow down anytime soon. She still drives to movies, plays and dinners out with friends. A retired elder care nurse who lives alone, she also knows that “when you reach a certain age, emergencies can happen fast.” So, when her son, Tom Rogers, talked to her about installing a remote monitoring system, she didn’t hesitate.

With motion sensors placed throughout the house, Rogers can see if his mom is moving around, if she’s sleeping (or not), if she forgot to lock the door and, based on a sophisticated algorithm that detects behavioral patterns, whether her activity level or eating habits have changed significantly, for instance.

“It gives both of us peace of mind, particularly as she ages and wants to live at home,” said Rogers, who lives near Washington, D.C., hundreds of miles away from her.

At $45-$60 a month (plus an upfront fee of $100 to $200), Alarm.com’s Wellness system is markedly less expensive than options such as hiring a home health aide to check on her or moving her into a retirement community. The average cost of nursing home care exceeds $95,000 a year, while assisted living and in-home care tops $45,000 annually, according to a 2017 Genworth Financial report (PDF).

The exorbitant costs of nursing home and assisted living care are driving sales—and innovation—in the technology market, Read the remainder of this entry »

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Summer Camp Time!

Posted March 3, 2018 By Lee Learson

IFB Solutions is hosting two residential camps this summer, both aimed at students in grades 8-12 who are blind or visually impaired:

SEE Camp Abilities H2

Camp Dogwood, Sherrills Ford, NC  • 828-335-1136 •  jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org

SEE Camp Abilities H20 is an overnight water sports camp for rising 8th-12th graders who are blind or visually impaired.  We’ll swim, row, kayak, water-ski, and splash around from our home base on the shores of Lake Norman, and throw in a trip to the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte for good measure.  Novices are welcome, and lifejackets plentiful: all that’s required is a willingness to try new things and get wet.  We’ll have evening activities too. Cost: Free.

Co-Ed • Rising 8th-12th graders • Residential • June 24 through June 3

SEE Adventure Camp

Nantahala Outdoor Center, Bryson City, NC • 828-335-1136 •  jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org

SEE Adventure Camp is for teens who are blind or have a significant visual impairment, and who are ready to stretch their legs and hit the trail.  We plan to hike, raft, climb, swim, and zip in and around the Nantahala Gorge in Western North Carolina.  We’ll stay in bunkhouses at the Nantahala Outdoor Center Basecamp.  Cost: Free.

Co-Ed • Rising 8th-12th graders • Residential • July 22 through July 26

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Reprint from Marlin

With the national unemployment rate below 4.0%, businesses across the country are becoming more diverse and accommodating to a wider array of employees.

More older employees are remaining on the job to stay active and engaged as they bolster retirement savings. In addition, many disabled individuals seek employment opportunities and welcome efforts by employers to make the workplace accessible and inclusive. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities is 20.9%.[1]  Physical impairments tend to increase with age, so the proportion of older workers with disabilities is increasing as well.[2]

Assistive technologies help physically impaired workers perform job tasks they otherwise might not be able to do. Several kinds of assistive technologies are in use, including voice recognition software, ergonomic keyboards, screen magnifiers and microphone headsets.[3]

Innovative companies are creating new forms of assistive technologies to help disabled workers adapt and perform their duties effectively. Emerging technologies include: Read the remainder of this entry »

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Microsoft is working with Novartis to create an application that can be used by the visually impaired or blind to describe scenes captures by the camera of a smartphone audibly and thereby improve the independence of users.

The Viaopta Hello app is available in preview for iOS, Android and Windows and features:

  • Uses Cognitive services and Microsoft latest image analysis technology to identify people, items and scene.
  • The mobile app uses the Smartphones camera to take pictures of objects or people and then uses the back-end cognitive services to provide a description.
  • The desktop app can provide a description of the content of pictures from any available document library, and if the picture contains a known contact, the app will identify them by name.

ViaOpta Hello is available in twelve languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian and Hungarian. Watch a video and find the download links for the preview app at Novartis’s website here.

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RESNA Announces Online & In-Person ATP Fundamentals Course

Posted December 16, 2017 By Lee Learson

The RESNA ATP certification recognizes demonstrated competence in analysing the needs of consumers with disabilities, assisting in the selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumers’ needs, and providing training in the use of the selected devices.

The ATP Fundamentals Course helps candidates review and refresh their assistive technology knowledge and help identify areas they need to study for the ATP exam. This course will be an online instructor-led course designed as a convenient, cost-efficient and effective way for busy AT professionals to participate.

Course features: Read the remainder of this entry »

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