AT Products Archive

BlindWays & Be My Eyes… Apps For Independence!

Posted September 20, 2017 By Lee Learson

GPS technology is only accurate to within 30 feet or so – not a problem for sighted commuters, but that “last 30 feet of frustration” could mean missing the bus entirely for those who are blind or have low vision.

Funded by a $750,000 Google Grant, Perkins Solutions, the technology arm of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., proposed BlindWays, a mobile app that provides visually impaired commuters with clues and landmarks for each stop, crowd-sourced from sighted users.

BlindWays is just one of many recent app store entries marketed toward the visually impaired. The tech industry has long offered solutions to help people with disabilities maintain their independence. But with the rise of smartphones, clunky and expensive devices designed for just one purpose have given way to more accessible – and affordable – apps.

What’s more, the near ubiquity of smartphones has made it easy for sighted users to lend a hand, making sure that apps like BlindWays stay up to date, while taking a few moments out of their day to put themselves in another person’s shoes. Since the app’s launch, volunteers have submitted some 6,000 clues for Greater Boston’s 8,000 bus stops.

Another app, Be My Eyes, which went live in 2015, establishes a direct video connection between visually impaired users and sighted volunteers. The premise is simple: Many people who are blind don’t need any actual assistance in completing their daily tasks, but merely need a little help.

A sighted volunteer might be asked to help identify which of Read the remainder of this entry »

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GPS SmartSoles on the Verizon Network

Posted September 13, 2017 By Lee Learson

GTX Corp (OTCBB: GTXO), an Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider in the personal location, wearable and wandering assistive technology business, announced today that it has partnered with ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC), a leading global provider of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and IoT solutions, to provide connectivity and distribution in the U.S. for  its new Verizon GPS SmartSole® product. SmartSole, which is launching this week ahead of schedule, will be available for order on the ORBCOMM web platform, which will enable connectivity on the Verizon nationwide network as well as provide monthly billing services.

GTX Corp’s patented GPS SmartSoles, the world’s first wearable yet invisible tracking technology, are placed in the wearer’s shoes and contain a GPS module connected through a cellular network that sends a GPS location to a central monitoring website or app. The product was initially created as a wander guard solution for those at risk due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism or traumatic brain injury and have a tendency to wander or become lost or disoriented. They can also be used by Read the remainder of this entry »

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“Seeing AI”: A New App from Microsoft

Posted September 1, 2017 By Lee Learson

While the number of apps for folks with visual impairments that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the ubiquitous “cloud” continues to grow, Microsoft’s latest entry, Seeing AI, may be a game changer.

According to Business Insider magazine, Microsoft first showed off the prototype over a year ago, but released the official version this week.

According to Microsoft, the new app “[…]narrates the world around you. Designed for the low vision community, this research project harnesses the power of AI to describe people, text and objects.” The software currently has five functions, called “channels.” Two channels deal exclusively with the recognition of text (one for signs and short phrases, and one that reads whole pages of text). One of the channels can detect and decipher bar codes. Another channel will soon be added that will be a currency reader.

The last two “channels” are perhaps the most exciting. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Readtopia is Live!

Posted June 18, 2017 By Lee Learson

By Don Johnston

It has been a long time coming, and a work of deep passion for students with autism and complex needs. When you see it, you will see this passion, and it will become apparent that this is something special in our work to transform education for individuals with disabilities.

 

What is Readtopia? It’s a comprehensive reading, ELA, social studies, and science curriculum for middle and high school special education classrooms.

 

What’s different? Readtopia helps teachers bring first-hand experiential learning into the classroom, so students can bridge the gap between learning through reading, and learning through experiencing.

 

This is a different level of instruction. It’s the type of instruction you would have wanted when you were in school. It takes the learner around the world to truly experience Read the remainder of this entry »

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An Icon-based watch – The Octopus by Joy

Posted June 27, 2016 By Lee Learson

Octopus is the first icon-based watch that teaches kids good habits and the concept of time. Octopus by Joy

  • It’s a watch. It gives the time with icons, making it the first clock that young kids can actually read and understand. It helps children conceptually link time to events.

  • It’s a scheduler for children, which helps foster responsibility, independence and self-esteem. Parents can program visual reminders from their smartphone that pop up on the kid’s watch (icon+vibration).

  • It’s an assistant that helps parents prioritize expectations and stay consistent with daily routines. It provides tips and personal notes. It also reminds you to remind your kids!

Read the remainder of this entry »

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Free Webinars from Don Johnston!

Posted February 8, 2016 By Lee Learson

Co:Writer Universal … With Speech Recognition! Co:Writer Universal uses grammar- and vocabulary-smart word prediction to help students write better across devices (Chromebooks, iPads, and Mac/Windows desktops). And now built-in speech recognition adds an entirely new way students can get their ideas out! Wednesday, February 10, 2016; 12:00pm – 12:30pm Central

How uPAR Data is Leading to Smarter Accommodation Decisions Across Districts

Districts are making incredible discoveries with uPAR – an automated tool that identifies reading accommodation needs. uPAR author, practitioner, and researcher, Dr. Denise DeCoste, shares how uPAR is empowering IEP teams in schools, helping them to make better decisions across initiatives such as UDL, LRE, and the new assessments.

Thursday, February 11, 2016; 12:00pm to 1:00pm Central 

Think You Know Snap&Read Universal? Haven’t seen Snap&Read’s study tools, outlining, translation, data, and bibliographer? Snap&Read’s latest features will expand what you thought possible from a reading. Join us for this free webinar! Snap&Read’s latest features will expand what you thought possible from a reading accommodation. They work to support the widest range of reading needs whether your students are reading below grade level, struggling with recall or organization, or learning English as a new language. Thursday, February 25, 2016; 12:00pm to 12:30pm Central

For more information or to register visit their website at http://donjohnston.com/webinars

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AT in Development

Posted February 1, 2016 By Lee Learson

As you might have guessed by now, I’m a little obsessed with assistive technology products in development. Just can’t wait to see what comes along next! AT is evolving quickly and it seems that every day something new comes on the market. Here are a few of the most interesting products that will be on the market in the very near future.

The Ogo ( a cross between a wheelchair and a segway!)Ogo-Wheelchair-Ogo-Technology-video

Engineer Kevin Halsall spent four years modifying a Segway to become a wheelchair for a friend who had a skiing accident.

Lighter, smaller and faster than any power wheelchair available today. The chair is hands-free and intuitive. Like a segway, the user uses their body movements to move the chair in the direction they want to go. The two powered wheels can be changed Read the remainder of this entry »

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by Clare Scott

The design and development of assistive technology is one of the most promising facets of the 3D printing revolution. Easing the lives of people with disabilities has been a priority for a number of companies, schools, and organizations who have sponsored challenges and makeathons geared towards the development of assisitve devices. At the end of September, MakerBot launched an Assistive Technology Challenge that invited Thingiverse users to use the recent Bay Area Makeathon as inspiration to develop their own assistive devices. 

The mouse was designed as a mouthpiece with a small joystick attached. The mouthpiece itself was 3D printed, and all other mouse-300x225components, including hardware and electronics, were obtained from local hardware stores and on eBay. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Perkins Holiday Gift Guide

Posted December 11, 2015 By Lee Learson

Byline: Alix Hackett 

Perkins Solutions has the perfect functional and fun presents for kids and adults who are blind or visually impaired.

Want to make someone smile this holiday season? Assistive technology can be a game-changer for people who are blind or visually impaired, offering ingenious solutions in the classroom, at home or in the workplace. Right now, Perkins Solutions is making it easy to give the gift of accessibility with their Holiday Gift Guide, featuring suggestions for everyone on your list. Included on their top 10 List… Read the remainder of this entry »

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Leading digital inclusion software browsealoud, from assistive technology experts Texthelp, today unveils a smart new, more user-friendly look with enhanced functionality. The all new browsealoud makes websites more accessible to all and empowers digital users to browse websites independently.

Browsealoud, offering read aloud content and translation to web-users with print and language difficulties, sets the standard in digital accessibility globally. The new designs and enhancements, developed in association with expert accessibility professionals, browsealoud customers and users, and subjected to rigorous testing, make browsealoud even easier to use and improve the user’s experience.

What’s new for web-visitors using browsealoud: Read the remainder of this entry »

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