Environmental control in a smart phone!
The emergence of Microsoft’s office applications on the iPad platform will greatly enhance it’s functionality, especially when developing and sharing office documents with colleagues and friends using PC-based operating systems. What do you think about Microsoft offering these as “free applications” but requiring a subscription to fully unlock all of the features and functionality?
Emerging technologies such as advanced virtual reality could have major implications for people with disabilities. For example, mobility training could occur in a virtual world where scenarios that require the user to problem solve as a precursor to mobility training within the naturalistic environment. What are some other possible applications for people with disabilities or their caregivers or both?
Are you ready for the future?
Facebook certainly is, considering the social giant just bought Oculus VR, which makes virtual reality gaming headsets, for a cool $2 billion. And Microsoft is joining in on the fun, with reports indicating that the company has purchased wearable computing technology similar to Google’s Glass.
And in less revolutionary news, HTC finally revealed the latest-generation HTC One smartphone, which had been leaked so hard in the weeks prior to the event that we weren’t even sure if we wanted to cover it anymore. Yet here we are, discussing it on the podcast.
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This could have some interesting implications for people with disabilities that have challenges related to topographical orientation. The indoor positioning technology also could help caregivers responsible for seniors with advanced Alzheimer’s, for example, to ensure they do not wander. What other examples can you provide?
While Apple’s iBeacon technology is already being adopted by both large and small retailers, we’ve started to see other use cases pop up for this new indoor positioning technology, which involves Bluetooth LE-enabled transmitters that can communicate with nearby iOS 7 devices in order to push alerts, or even interact with other devices in your home.
Now a small team of developers based in Brazil have come up with a new angle for iBeacon: taking attendance in the classroom.
Their new application called BeHere, first spotted by Apple blog 9 to 5 Mac, turns a teacher’s iPad into an iBeacon that automatically identifies students as they enter the classroom with their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch application also running the same BeHere app.
Students’ profiles can also be connected to Facebook, allowing BeHere to include a profile picture, too.
Plus, students can use the app after class starts to ask for the…
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Along with a new version of Office for iPad, Microsoft made Office for iPhone and Android smartphones free today. The apps have updated in the respective app stores and can be snagged here for iPhone and here for Android.
The change log notes that the apps are free for “home use.” As Emil Protalinski pointed out earlier today, this seems to imply that “Microsoft still plans to require that businesses have an Office 365 subscription.”
You can now use Office for free, including editing, on every device except for the iPad, ironically, which requires an Office 365 subscription to unlock editing capabilities. There are free Office apps on Windows Phone, iPhone, Android and Windows RT devices, and for anyone on a regular PC, Office Offline is a decent solution.
Microsoft’s goal is to arc people towards paying for Office 365. But at the same time, use of free Office…
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Microsoft has launched new Office for iPad software, finally, after people have been asking for it since, oh, say, the day in 2010 when the iPad originally launched. The new apps are currently available for anyone to download, so you can scratch that four-year itch, but is it worth it? Read on to find out why Microsoft’s iPad-based productivity suite will be a lifesaver for some, but probably not a necessity for your average tablet user.
- Free (but editing requires a $5/mo Office 365 subscription)
- Word, Excel and PowerPoint support in separate apps
- Cloud autosave and collaboration (but not real-time concurrent)
- Available in 135 markets in 29 languages
- Product info page
- Reads all Office formats perfectly for free
- PowerPoint offers presentation mode free
- Full functionality requires recurring $5 monthly commitment
The Office for iPad apps are each, to a tee…
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Today, in a somewhat surprising move, Facebook purchased virtual reality company Oculus VR. The buy elicited visceral reactions from people dismayed that Oculus sold out so early to snarky comments about what Facebook might do with it.
First of all, any talk about the Facebook news feed appearing in virtual form is far too short-sighted. Will someone port the feed over to Oculus? Probably. But that’s not even close to the endgame here. Nor is Facebook’s chatter about gaming really what this is about. There will doubtless be a lot of gaming-focused development to come, and it makes little sense for Oculus to abandon that line of thought entirely.
But the gaming market, no matter how lucrative, isn’t the resting place here.
You might even see people talk about this being a “platform play,” but that, too, isn’t the half of it.
When Facebook launched, the landscape of computing wasn’t even a…
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Hugh Herr gave a powerful talk that posits we can eliminate disability. Here, we ask him more. Photo: James Duncan Davidson
Bionics designer Hugh Herr spoke today on the TED stage about a future in which disability is a mere memory – a future he believes is both imminent and imperative. With pant legs cropped to reveal his own two bionic legs (“I made sure to shave today,” he joked), he explained the fascinating details of his work in the Biomechatronics Group at the MIT Media Lab.
But his weren’t the only high-tech prosthetic limbs on display: At the end of Herr’s talk, Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dancer who lost her leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, stepped onto stage for her first dance since the tragedy. Her bionic, embedded with the “fundamentals of dance,” was created specially by Herr’s lab to rumba.
We spoke to Herr on the phone…
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Environmental control can be most helpful to people with disabilities and their caregivers.
When Google shelled out $3.2 billion for Nest, it poured a fresh wave of attention and interest into smart home automation systems — even though it’s not entirely clear whether Google swooped on Nest more as an acqui-hire (of Tony Fadell and his team) than a desire to further feather its connected home credentials.
Whatever Google’s intentions for Nest, it’s unlikely to focus early effort pushing connected home hardware into markets far from Mountain View. And that’s giving a bit of breathing space to European Nest alternatives.
There’s German startup Tado, for instance, which last September raised $2.6 million. And soon there will likely also be Cosy: a smart home control system being developed in Cambridge, U.K. — aiming to ship product next month.
The initial Cosy system will include the inevitable mobile app to allow the users to control the connected hardware and access the Cosy cloud…
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Great tool for safety, topographical orientation, and other applications.
If you’ve got a child between the ages of 3 and 8, you’re in an interesting spot as a parent. The kid is old enough to be involved in activities such as school and play dates, which can keep them out from under your watchful eyes for hours at a time. But they’re not quite old enough to have a cell phone of their own for keeping in touch.
A startup called HereO has made a gadget especially for keeping tabs on young kids in that age range. HereO has made what it claims is the world’s “smallest and coolest” GPS watch device, which connects with a mobile and web app to allow parents to keep track of where their children are at all hours of the day. The watch will retail for $149, and is available for $99 to people who fund the device’s ongoing IndieGoGo campaign
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