Thursday, October 26, 2017

Toronto’s Pearson Airport now supports assistive app for people with cognitive special needs

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has announced a partnership with MagnusCards, a free-to-download app that offers digital how-to guides (known as ‘Card Decks’) for people with autism and other cognitive special needs. Pearson says it’s the first airport in the world to work with MagnusCards to offer the assistive app. Developed by the Waterloo-based MagnusMode, the MagnusCards app offers assistive Card Decks for a variety of venues and brands, including CIBC banks and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Pearson visitors can download up to ten different Card Decks, each of which offering a personal step-by-step guide on how to navigate different parts of Canada’s largest airport. The Pearson Card Decks include tips on how to check-in to an airline, getting help or asking questions, going through US Customers and Border Protection and more. Card Decks are also offered in English and French and feature pictures, text and audio to help as many different users as possible. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Apple and Cochlear team up to roll out the first implant made for the iPhone

Apple has teamed up with Australian-based Cochlear to bring iPhone users the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can now stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to a patient’s surgically embedded sound processor.
The device also allows those with the implant to control and customize the sound from their iPhone.
There have been other implants and hearing aids that have used iOS apps to control sound and other features and Nucleus’s own app can be downloaded to do the same. However, Cochlear’s newest processor is controlled by the phone itself and does not require an app download.
More than 50 million Americans have experienced some sort of hearing loss due to one reason or another. Apple saw the hearing loss problem and has spent a number of years developing a hearing aid program within the company.
Apple soon developed a protocol the company offered for free for hearing aid and implant manufacturers to use with their devices.
“We wanted to see something that could become ubiquitous out in the world,” Apple’s Sarah Herrlinger, senior manager for global accessibility policy and initiatives told TechCrunch. “We want everybody to use our technology and to say ‘wow my iPhone is the best piece of technology I’ve ever used before’…with every iteration of our operating system our goal is to add in new accessibility features in order to expand the support that we can give to people all over the world.”
Accessing the control settings for your Cochlear implant is relatively easy. Those who get the new Nucleus 7 Sound Processor or other made for iPhone hearing aid simply go to their iPhone settings, click on “General” and then click “Accessibility.” As you move down the screen you’ll see a list of different devices you’ll see “hearing devices.” Tap on that and then the device should show up the way a Bluetooth device would in Bluetooth settings. The implant will then pair with your iPhone.
Just like headphones or another Bluetooth-enabled device, as soon as the implant is paired up it can be controlled using the iPhone’s volume controls. So, for example, when a phone call comes in, you can hear that call at the volume settings within your implant.
The new Nucleus 7 comes with a longer battery life and is also smaller and 24 percent lighter than its predecessor, the Nucleus 6 Sound Processor, making it ideal for small children with hearing loss as well.
“The approval of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is a turning point for people with hearing loss, opening the door for them to make phone calls, listen to music in high-quality stereo sound, watch videos and have FaceTime calls streamed directly to their Cochlear implant,” Cochlear CEO Chris Smith said in a statement. “This new sound processor builds on our long-standing commitment to help more people with hearing loss connect with others and live a full life.”