Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finger Mouse


It's a 3D mouse that you wear on your finger and operate using gestures and thumb actions. The Mycestro wirelessly connects to your computer, tablet or other device and allows you to control it from up to 30 feet away.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Samsung's 'eye mouse' is the nicest thing it's ever done

The EYECAN+ is a cheap and accurate tool for helping the disabled use computers
A volunteer group of Samsung engineers has developed a second generation of the company's EYECAN eye-tracking technology, which is designed to allow disabled people to navigate a computer interface. EYECAN+ dispenses with the original's need for glasses and is now just a self-contained unit that slots in under a computer's monitor. Once hooked up, it presents the user with a series of options, which can be highlighted with a look and "clicked" with a blink. The technology was on demonstration in Seoul today, where The Verge's Sojung Lim witnessed it being used by graduate student Hyung-Jin Shin of Yonsei University. Shin, who was born quadriplegic, has been helping test the EYECAN+ and used it to write out a message of support for the project:
"Nice to meet you, everyone. I am happy that the eye mouse is developed in Korea. The eye mouse isn't just an IT device, but arms and legs for a patient with advanced disease. I hope that these kind of research will be continued."
Completing that full message with the eye-tracking mouse took Shin roughly 20 minutes, and he only had one typo, which he quickly deleted. Having grown up relying on his mother to write everything down for him during his studies, Shin now has a new level of autonomy with the EYECAN+, which can even do drag-and-drop commands allowing for the occasional game of Angry Birds too.
samsung eyecan+
Samsung has no plans to commercialize the eye mouse, describing it as too niche of a market, though it does have companies already interested in using the technology and plans to open source the design. The engineers working on EYECAN+ all volunteered for the task and were supported by Samsung, who allowed them to focus their full attention on the project. While the eventual product isn't unique in its functionality and may be bettered by alternatives likeTobii, Samsung has managed to produce it at a fraction of the cost of other solutions, saying it costs in the region of $500 to make.
Correction: Samsung initially indicated the cost to produce the EYECAN+ would be roughly $150, but has since clarified that it's closer to $500. This article has been amended to reflect that change.

Monday, November 10, 2014

This 13-Year-Old Is So Impressive, Intel Is Investing Hundreds Of Thousands In His Startup

Braigo Labs CEO Shubham Banerjee

Shubham Banerjee, the 13-year old CEO of the Braille printer maker Braigo Labs, had no idea what Braille was until last year.
It was only when he came across a fundraising flyer for the visually impaired that he started to wonder how blind people read. So, like any other 7th grader would do, he asked his parents. His father’s response: “Go Google it.”
As he searched the web, Banerjee discovered the high cost of Braille printers, which usually cost upwards of $US2,000. He also learned more about Braille, the tactile writing system used by the visually impaired.
“When I found out the cost of a Braille printer, I was shocked,” Banerjee told Business Insider. “I just wanted to help the visually impaired. I had a Lego Robotics kit, so I asked, ‘Why not just try that?’”
Built out of Lego’s Mindstorms EV3 blocks and little pieces from Home Depot (Braigo stands for Braille and Lego), Braigo Lab’s printer turned out to function quite well. It earned Banerjee a lot of recognition too, including The Tech Awards 2014 and an invitation to the White House Maker Faire, an event that awards student entrepreneurs and innovators.
But most importantly, Banerjee believes it could solve a decades-long problem that’s been holding back so many visually impaired people around the world: the high cost of Braille printers.
Banerjee says his printer could significantly cut down the price of Braille printers to less than $US500. According to his website, there are 285 million visually impaired people worldwide, and 90% of them live in developing countries. It’s not easy to drop a couple grand on a printer, even by a developed country’s standards.
“I want to tell (big company manufacturers) to stop taking advantage of blind people,” he says.
Impressed by his product and vision, Intel came calling last September and told him it would invest in his company. And last week, the investment was made official at the Intel Capital Global Summit, when Braigo Labs was mentioned as one of the 16 tech startups Intel’s investing in this year. Although the exact amount of the investment was not disclosed, it’s reported to be a few hundred thousand dollars. That makes Banerjee the youngest tech entrepreneur ever funded by a VC firm.
“I didn’t think such a big company would ever invest in my company. That was pretty amazing,” Banerjee says.
With Intel’s funding, Braigo Labs plans to build a new prototype that more resembles a regular printer, and bring it to market by next year. Banerjee says he has no plans to expand into other product categories at this point, but Braille printers seem to be just a part of a bigger dream he has in mind.
“I want to do engineering in the medical area when I grow up,” he says. “And I want to finish college.”

This is the Lego Mindstorm EV3 kit he used to build it.

Braigo Labs Lego Mindstorms

These are some of the pieces he used. He also bought some small pieces from Home Depot to build it.

Braigo Labs

This is the part that holds the main processor, or the “brain,” of the product. It comes with the Lego Mindstorm.

Braigo Labs

This is what the first prototype looks like.

Braigo Labs

Here’s a better angle.

Braigo Labs

This is the second prototype, which more resembles a regular printer. The printer that goes into mass production will look more like this one.

Braigo Labs

He also presented at the Intel Capital Summit 2014 last week, with Intel Capital’s president Arvind Sodhani and Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson.

Braigo Labs

Thursday, November 6, 2014

While nothing can replace the companionship of a guide dog, technology can help make treks through busy cities a lot less stressful and more enjoyable for the visually impaired. Microsoft, for one, is currently testing a new headset (developed with help from UK charityGuide Dogs) that uses 3D soundscape technology to guide its users with audio cues along the way. That bone-conducting headset can't work alone, though: it needs to be connected to a smartphone, as well as to receive information from Bluetooth and WiFi beacons placed in intervals throughout the roads users take. For its pilot program, Microsoft attached makeshift beacons on neighborhood objects in a London suburb, where its first testers are giving it a spin. When company news writer Jennifer Warnick tried it out while blindfolded, she found herself so efficient in getting around with only sounds to guide her, that she felt like a "dry-land dolphin."
According to her detailed report on the experiment, the beacons would constantly send audio cues that sound like the galloping coconut noise from Monty Python to ensure her she's taking the right way. She also reported hearing other sounds, such as sonar pings to warn her if she's veering too close to curbs, as well as turn-by-turn voice directions, telling her how far she still has to walk to certain establishments, or if the bus she's waiting for is approaching. It'll obviously take a ton of effort bringing the headset to market, seeing as more permanent beacons will need to be installed everywhere. Hopefully, the company finds a way to bring the system to other places, for the sake of all the blind folks who'd love to be more independent.