Lantern: a beacon-based system to help blind people to navigate the subway

The New York Subway can feel like a maze. Even more so for the blind. Lantern is beacon-based project that aims to help the blind to independently navigate the subway.

Lantern was conceived by  Eugene Gao as part of a class on mobile advertising. Still a mere concept, the video offers an overview of how the service could work in a real environment.

Found on PSFK.

Ode: “a fragrance alarm clock” to stimulate appetite in people with dementia

According to the product page, “Ode by design firm Rodd has been created for people living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s. As their condition advances many people with dementia lose weight as their appetite reduces. They then may experience many of the problems associated with malnutrition such as dehydration, delerium and muscle wastage. As well as supporting people with dementia, ode can be used more widely by adults with memory problems, or who are simply going off eating or convalescing from an illness which has affected their appetite”.

Find out more on FastCoDesign and on the initial project page.



Stephen Hawking’s speech system as open-source platform

Speaking at WIRED Health in London, Intel’s Lama Nachman has revealed that Stephen Hawking’s speech system will be available as open-source platform for the research community.  During the speech, she also gave some interesting detail on the redesign process behind the work the team has done – from user experience research to interaction design.

Continue reading…

Typing patterns analysis to detect motor-function impairement

In this video, researchers of the Madrid-MIT M+Vision Consortium discuss their system for analysing keystroke patterns to detect motor-function impairment. As reported on Popular Science:

In order to type a word, your brain has to send signals down through your spinal cord to the nerves that operate your fingers. If your central nervous system is functioning perfectly, then you should be able to tap most of the keys at a fairly constant rate. But a number of conditions might slow the signal from the brain to the fingers, such as sleep deprivation (which slows all motor skills) and diseases that affect the central nervous system, including Parkinson’s.

For the first version of this study, the researchers were looking at typing patterns that indicated whether a person was sleep-deprived or well rested. […]  They are currently developing a smartphone app that can test participants even more easily.

Find out more on MIT News.

From body to invisible computers

Stuart Karten (Karten Design) writes:  “In the design world, we are excited about using technology to impact so many lives. We are obsessing over visual interfaces: What is the best screen size in smartphones? Do we like the thickness of the Apple Watch? What are the ethics of wearing Google Glass? But while we argue over 2014-era design issues, a more profound development is happening in labs around the world. Implantable, microscopic sensor technology will soon change our fundamental relationship with technology. Advancing sensor technology has already started to create an entirely new market: invisibles.

We are living in the wearable era. Wearables bring technology and information into users’ consciousness. But they don’t rely on ambient intelligence, they’re not yet integrated into our environments, and they address micro information rather than the bigger picture of our health. They are a necessary step in the evolution of body computing, but a bigger step is about to overshadow wearables, comparable to the impact of the smartphone on a regular cell phone”. Read the full article here.