HEALTHCARE: ‘Smart’ Walking Stick Helps Visually Impaired Grocery Shop

By Alex McFarland: For Complete Post, Click Here…

A team of engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder are using artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a ‘smart’ walking stick for the blind or visually impaired.

The research was published in IEEE.

According to the team, the smart walking stick could eventually help blind people navigate various tasks, such as shopping at the grocery store or finding a place to sit.

Shivendra Agrawal is a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science.

“I really enjoy grocery shopping and spend a significant amount of time in the store,” Agrawal said. “A lot of people can’t do that, however, and it can be really restrictive. We think this is a solvable problem.”

The walking stick resembles a cane, but it is a bit different. For one, it has a camera and uses computer vision technology, helping it map and catalog its environment. It can then guide users by using vibrations in the handle and with spoken directions.

The team says the device isn’t a substitute for making places more accessible, but the prototype can help millions of individuals become more independent.

“AI and computer vision are improving, and people are using them to build self-driving cars and similar inventions,” Agrawal said. “But these technologies also have the potential to improve quality of life for many people.”

OneButtonPIN increases security for blind and low-vision tech users

From University of Waterloo: For Complete Post, Click Here…

New authentication method helps protect data from privacy attacks.

Working closely with blind and low-vision (BLV) users, researchers at the University of Waterloo and the Rochester Institute of Technology have developed a new authentication method that could help BLV technology users more securely access their devices. The new method, OneButtonPIN, allows users to input PIN codes using a single large button and a series of haptic vibrations.

People with BLV frequently express frustrations with existing authentication methods such as drawing patterns, fingerprint and face scans, and PIN codes. Some methods are difficult to use effectively without visual data. Others are vulnerable to privacy attacks.

OneButtonPIN addresses these security issues by using haptic vibrations imperceptible to outsiders. When prompted to enter a PIN code, the user presses and holds a large button on their smartphone screen. This activates a series of vibrations separated by pauses; the user counts the number of vibrations corresponding to the number they desire to enter, then releases the button and repeats the process until the desired numbers are entered.

While biometrics such as fingerprints and face scans are unique and easy to use, a person’s biometrics cannot be changed or reset, explains Stacey Watson, a lecturer in computer science and one of the researchers on the study.

“More traditional forms of entry are vulnerable due to many BLV people’s use of screen reader technology,” said Watson. “PIN users are vulnerable both to eavesdropping and shoulder surfing attacks, which is where someone nearby can observe a user’s device without their knowledge.”

Smartphone App Can Significantly Improve Memory Recall

From Neuroscience News: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Summary: A new smartphone app, dubbed HippoCamera helps to significantly improve memory recall and could have applications for improving memory for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The app mimics the function of the hippocampus, constructing and maintaining memories. The app enhances biological memory encoding by boosting attention to daily events and consolidating them more distinctly.

Source: University of Toronto

Researchers at the University of Toronto have demonstrated that a new smartphone application helps to significantly improve memory recall, which could prove beneficial for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory impairment.

Dubbed HippoCamera for its ability to mimic the function of the brain’s hippocampus in memory construction and retention, the app enhances the encoding of memories stored in the brain by boosting attention to daily events and consolidating them more distinctly—thus later enabling richer, more comprehensive recall.

In a two-step process, HippoCamera users record a short video of up to 24 seconds of a moment they want to remember with a brief eight-second audio description of the event.

The app combines the two elements just as the brain’s hippocampus would, with the video component sped up to mimic aspects of hippocampal function and to facilitate efficient review.

Users then replay cues produced by HippoCamera at later times on a curated and regular basis to reinforce the memory and enable detailed recall.

How to turn on Walking Steadiness notifications in iOS 16

By Andrew Orr; For Complete Post, Click Here…

Walking Steadiness is a helpful tool for older folks to know their risk of falling. Here’s how to turn on walking steadiness notifications in iOS 16.

Available on iPhone 8 or later and iOS 15 or later, Walking Steadiness uses algorithms to track metrics such as walking speed, step length, walking asymmetry, and double support time.

These are classified to provide an overall score of OK, Low, or Very Low to give a risk of falling during the next 12 months. In addition, the Health app provides exercises to help improve walking steadiness.

  • OK – At this level, walking steadiness is normal and there is no risk of falling in the next 12 months.
  • Low – At this level, walking steadiness has declined to a level where there is an increased risk of falling in the next 12 months.
  • Very Low – At this level, walking steadiness is very unstable, and there is a high risk of falling in the next 12 months.

Powerful and Concurrent Trends Have Converged to Turn Earbuds into Hearing Aids

By ScottCDunn: For Complete Post, Click Here…


I remember when hearing aids were a stigma. When I was in grade school they were big, bulky things that some of the kids had to wear on their chests. I felt sorry for them. The bullies were relentlessly teasing them. The girls learned sign language with them.

I was and still am hearing impaired. I had a hearing aid that fits in a pair of glasses. They wore their vulnerability out there for everyone to see. I still got teased, but not everyone noticed my hearing aid.

I have watched hearing aids evolve since the 1970s.

All of these trends have converged to the point where earbuds are starting to do double duty as recreational listening devices and hearing aids. I’ve seen the trends go the other way, too.

Hearing aids already have Bluetooth built in to allow call handling and recreational audio. Earbuds and hearing aids are converging into one device that anyone can use, and they’re available over the counter.

Just yesterday Endgadget reported on a new product by the audio hardware giant, Sennheiser called Conversation Clear Plus, a high-end, wireless headset for your phone. Engadget also reported that the business model of earbuds doubling as hearing aids is beginning to take shape:

Sensory Processing Disorders

From MAF: For Complete Post, Click Here…

This webinar meets 2 times.

Fri,Feb 3, 2023 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST
Fri,Feb 10, 2023 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST

Show in My Time Zone

Join Michigan Alliance for Families for Sensory Processing Disorders with Sally Burton-Hoyle, Ed. D. This is a two-part webinar to learn more about Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD).

People with SPD have difficulty processing sensory information and responding appropriately to that information. SPD are associated with problems in adaptive behavior. Children and adults with sensory processing difficulties can experience impaired self-esteem, anxiety, depression, or aggression. When sensory disorders are looked at as non-compliance and bad behavior resulting in problems with social participation, self-regulation, and impaired sensorimotor skills needed for daily life tasks.

Who should attend? Families with a child or young adult with disabilities or learning challenges, school staff, other community members.

If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please send your request to two weeks prior to the event.

Assistive Technology For Daily Living

From MATP: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Looking for a device to assist with daily activities?Look no further! We have a selection of devices to try in our Lending Library. Contact us to learn more about what devices are available.
Contact Us

Foster children to Michigan: Remove barriers, help us graduate school on time

By Tracie Mauriello: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Only 40 percent of Michigan foster children graduate from high school in four years, compared to 80 percent of the general population.

Christian Randle expected to spend his senior year in a dual enrollment program that allows Michigan students to receive college credit while still in high school.

Instead, the Farmington 17-year-old is working toward just a high school equivalency certificate.

He told the State Board of Education on Tuesday that he’s frustrated and feels like he’s starting high school, because he’s been unable to get credit for schoolwork he did over the last five years while living in a series of foster homes and residential facilities.

Christian addressed the board at its December meeting along with several other teenagers and young adults who were removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. They’re asking the board to help ensure that others like them can graduate on time and with a solid education.

More than 10,000 children are in foster care in Michigan, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.  About 40 percent of them graduate high school in four years, compared with 80 percent of all students in Michigan. 

Designing for people with dyscalculia and low numeracy

By Jane McFayde: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Dyscalculia (Dis – Cal – Coo – Lia) is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers.

It makes it hard for someone to read, understand and work with numbers. It impacts the ability to handle money, like counting change, telling and managing time, estimating how long things take, understanding percentages, and remembering number facts.

Dyscalculia also affects someone’s working memory. It impacts everyday things like remembering items on a shopping list, following instructions, phone numbers, PINs or game scores.

It means people miss trains, withdraw the wrong amount of money from cash machines, get locked out of their accounts, and sign contracts they don’t understand.  

People can be unaware they have dyscalculia but know they struggle with numbers.

Pride Mobility’s New Travel Power Wheelchair Weighs 43 Pounds and Folds to Fit in a Car

By Michael Franz: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Pride Mobility has released the Jazzy Carbon, a lightweight portable power wheelchair designed with travelers in mind. It’s made with a carbon fiber and aluminum frame that weighs in at 39.4 pounds or 43.6 pounds with the battery attached. The frame folds quickly for easy storage in a car or on an airplane. 

The Jazzy Carbon is equipped with an FAA-compliant removable lithium battery with a maximum range of 9.3 miles per charge. It also features a removable joystick with an integrated USB charger, a removable cushion, a padded backrest with storage and under-seat storage. The Jazzy Carbon has a top speed of 3.7 mph, a front suspension system for a smooth ride and a freewheel mode so it can be pushed by a caregiver. 

“By expanding our retail lineup with more travel products, our providers can meet the needs of additional customers who want to travel but require a power chair to do so,” said Jeff Distasio, vice president of Pride Sales. “The Jazzy Carbon takes it one step further with fantastic selling features, like the standard lithium battery, storage and a removable joystick.” 

The Jazzy Carbon is available from a variety of vendors starting around $2,499. For more information, please visit the opens in a new windowJazzy Carbon website.