Smart Liquids being developed to assist the visually impaired
Austrian start up BLITAB are developing an e-book style device that uses physical bubbles that change in order to produce braille that can be read by the visually impaired.
Dubbed “The iPad for the Blind” the device can purportedly “offer a completely new user experience for braille and non-braille readers via touch navigation, text-to-speech output and Perkins-style keyboard application. It also enables the direct conversion of any text file into braille and obtains information via NFC tags. BLITAB is not just a tablet, it is a platform for all existing and future software applications for blind readers,” says Kristina Tsvetanova, CEO of BLITAB.
In addition to producing 14 lines of braille via its smart liquid technology, the tablet will feature a GUI with Text-to-speech capabilities for those who aren’t versed in reading braille.
Headway is being made as last month CEO Tsvetanova demonstrating a working tablet that used a keyboard free interface that uses text-to-speech for navigation.
Trust the tech industry to progress in ways that allow a purely visual piece of technology to be adapted for those who have vision impairment! Unbelievable innovation!
“Neural Bypass” Links Brain to Hand
Ian Burkhart has been unable to move his lower body and conduct fine motor functions due to a category C5 spinal cord injury suffered as the result of accident in 2010. But over the last decade he has been the subject of formative work to restore motor function to people with spinal or brain complications at the Feinstein Institute in Long Island, NY.
The result of this research on Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI’s) means Ian is now able to don an electronic sleeve that interfaces with a powerful computer attached to an embedded chip inside his skull. This then decodes signals that originate from the motor centre of his brain.
The sleeve then stimulates Ian’s forearm which results in the appropriate motion being performed, essentially bypassing his spinal cord injury and allows Ian to make fine movements with his hand – such as pouring liquid or using a guitar hero controller. Amazing!
This project essentially marks the first time someone has not just moved a prosthetic but restored some form of control to an actual limb. Previously this project had shown progress “with cursor control, using a computer, being able to operate devices, and even prosthetic arms,” says Chad Bouton, a study co-author who researches bio-electronic medicine at the Feinstein Institute on Long Island. “But no one had restored any movement to the arm. We decided to take it to that next level.”