"[T]he current capabilities of many AI systems closely match some of the specialized needs of disabled people.... Fortunately, there is a growing interest in applying the scientific knowledge and engineering experience developed by AI researchers to the domain of assistive technology and in investigating new methods and techniques that are required within the assistive technology domain."
– Bruce G. Buchanan; from his Foreword to Assistive Technology and Artificial Intelligence: Applications in Robotics, User Interfaces and Natural Language Processing
Abstract: In this work, we propose a non-autoregressive seq2seq model that converts text to spectrogram. It is fully convolutional and obtains about 17.5 times speed-up over Deep Voice 3 at synthesis while maintaining comparable speech quality using a WaveNet vocoder. Interestingly, it has even fewer attention errors than the autoregressive model on the challenging test sentences. Furthermore, we build the first fully parallel neural text-to- speech system by applying the inverse autoregressive flow (IAF) as the parallel neural vocoder. Our system can synthesize speech from text through a single feed-forward pass.
A man who almost died from meningitis has revealed how he began to look forward to having his limbs amputated. Mike Davies, 60, from Brighton, spent 70 days in intensive care with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia. During this time, he said he knew his hands and feet were "dead" and he would recover better without them. Now he says he is in a positive place and "can even hold a pint of beer". With the help of prosthetic limbs, Mr Davies can drive a specially-adapted car and said he was living life to the full.
Next-generation wheelchairs could incorporate brain-controlled robotic arms and rentable add-on motors in order to help people with disabilities more easily carry out daily tasks or get around a city. Professor Nicolás García-Aracil from the Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH) in Elche, Spain, has developed an automated wheelchair with an exoskeleton robotic arm to use at home, as part of a project called AIDE. It uses artificial intelligence to extract relevant information from the user, such as their behaviour, intentions and emotional state, and also analyses its environmental surroundings, he says. The system, which is based on an arm exoskeleton attached to a robotised wheelchair, is designed to help people living with various degrees and forms of disabilities carry out daily functions such as eating, drinking, and washing up, on their own and at home. While the user sits in the wheelchair, they wear the robotised arm to help them grasp objects and bring them close -- or as the whole system is connected to the home automation system they can ask the wheelchair to move in a specific direction or go into a particular room.
By taking it upon itself to learn about its structure and environment, the robotic limb can then develop its own personalized gait and learn a new walking task after just five minutes of motor babbling. So much so, it can recover when being tripped in time to plant its next step safely on the ground even though it wasn't programmed to do so. The researchers believe this is the first robot to be capable of such a feat, and are excited about the possibilities the advance opens up.
Zuniga's team then began work on the device. James Pierce, a doctoral student in UNO's biomechanics program, said they scrapped the grasping hand featured in Zuniga's original design, known as the Cyborg Beast. Zuniga, who started the work at Creighton University, estimated that his team has made about 2,000 of them. He put instructions for making the 3D hand online -- free for anyone to use -- several years ago. The device can be built with 3D printing technology for about $50 in materials.
A heartwarming video has revealed the moment a three-year-old boy tries out a bionic arm for the first time. Giulio Spaziana, from Pomezia, Italy, was born without a forearm or hand on his right side. But doctors have now fitted him with a prosthetic limb which he can control using his electrical signals from his brain as though it were a real hand. In moving footage, he is seen grinning as he opens and closes the hand in a grabbing motion and shows off to his mother when he picks up a ruler unassisted. In a video filmed by his mother Giulio can be seen grinning as he uses the new prosthetic to pick up a ruler in the doctor's office – he asks his doctor: 'Can I keep it?'
"The theft was so upsetting," said Josiah's mother Brie, 30. "He relies on the prosthetic for his independence and mobility and to take that away from somebody is just crappy." A toddler whose $10,000 prosthetic leg was stolen will soon be walking again thanks to the support of doctors and his community. Three-year-old Josiah Rainey has vacterl syndrome, a rare birth defect that caused him to be born without his left leg. He relies on a prosthetic -- which is covered in Minions stickers -- to get around, but it was stolen from his mother's car while parked outside their home.
The QWERTY typewriter was introduced in 1872, and since then tapping on a keyboard or screen has become the standard way to interact with digital technology. But this isn't always convenient or safe, so new "touchless" ways to control machines are being developed. Imagine being out for a jog, headphones on, and wanting to turn up the volume without breaking your stride. Or receiving a "new message" alert on your phone while driving and wanting to activate the text-to-speech function without taking your eye off the road. These are scenarios where touchless control would come in handy.
The EksoVest supports the wearer's arms during lifting. Millions of people Suffer from the effects of spinal cord injuries and strokes that have left them paralyzed. Millions more suffer from back pain, which makes movement painful. Exoskeletons are helping the paralyzed to walk again, enabling soldiers to carry heavy loads, and workers to lift heavy objects with greater ease. An exoskeleton is a mechanical device or soft material worn by a patient/operator, whose structure mirrors the skeletal structure of the operator's limbs (joints, muscles, etc.).