"[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
Investigators in California were pointed in the right direction when a prosthetic arm that was reported stolen last week was spotted in the alleged thieves' car. Investigators in California were pointed in the right direction after a prosthetic arm that was reported stolen last week was spotted in the alleged burglars' car, leading to arrests. An officer with the Grass Valley Police Department on Wednesday came across the suspects -- identified by the Nevada County Sheriff's Office as Michael Martin, Emma St. Claire and Mike Mulligan -- and searched their car. Mike Mulligan, left, Michael Martin and Emma St. Claire were booked at a correction facility in California for suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property. Law enforcement officials uncovered the prosthetic limb -- which the sheriff's office described in a Facebook post as "the exact arm that was stolen in the burglary."
Google will now let developers use the text-to-speech synthesis that powers the voices in Google Assistant and Maps. Cloud Text-to-Speech is available now through the Google Cloud Platform and the company says it can be used to power voice response systems in call centers, enable IoT device speech and convert media like news articles and books into a spoken format. There are 32 different voice options in 12 languages and users can customize pitch, speaking rate and volume gain. Additionally, a selection of the available voices were built with Google's WaveNet model. It was developed by Google's DeepMind team and the company first announced it in 2016.
Google Cloud outlined Cloud Text-to-Speech a machine learning service that uses a model by Google's Deepmind subsidiary to analyze raw audio. With the move, developers will get more access to the text to natural sounding speech technology used in Google Assistant, Search, Maps and others. According to Google, Cloud Text-to-Speech can be used to power call center voice response systems, enabling Internet of things devices to talk and converting text-based media into spoken formats. Google Cloud Text-to-Speech allows customers to choose from 32 different voices in 12 languages. Everything you need to know about the cloud, explained How to choose your cloud provider: AWS, Google or Microsoft?
Following the successful launch of Animoji, Apple now appears to be focused on introducing a new set of emojis to consumers. The Cupertino giant has recently submitted disability-themed emojis for consideration by the Unicode Consortium, the non-profit organization that coordinates the development of the Unicode standard. Emoji blog Emojipedia was the first one to spot and report about Apple's new emojis. According to the site, Apple submitted the proposed pack of "accessibility emojis" on March 23, Friday. The pack reportedly includes wheelchairs, a hearing aid, prosthetic limbs and a guide dog, among others.
The adoption and effectiveness of cognitive assistive technologies hinge on harnessing the dynamics of human emotion. The authors discuss seminal advances in the integration of emotions in assistive technologies for dementia and propose Bayesian Affect Control Theory (BayesACT), a quantitative social-psychological theory, to model behavior and emotion in such systems.
Imagine you've contemplated the great scientific theories of the past and arrived at new insights based on your own observations. Imagine you've organized these thoughts into compelling arguments. Imagine that what you have to say will likely advance humanity's understanding of its existence. Now imagine your frustration if you were unable to use your physical voice or hands to speak or write the thoughts coalescing in your mind. Such was the situation for Stephen Hawking, the great explainer of the universe, who died on March 14.
On Saturday, March 3, the Beaver Works facility was alive with hardworking university students collaborating with Boston-area citizens with disabilities. Wood and metal parts, PVC piping, laptops, pizza, and a host of gadgets were spread around the rooms. The atmosphere was equal parts boisterous and quietly contemplative. The participants had gathered for the Assistive Technologies Hackathon (ATHack) hosted annually by MIT. It is a one-day event that brings people living with disabilities -- called co-designers -- together with undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students from multiple disciplines to build prototypes of assistive devices.