Assistive Technologies


Co-designing assistive technologies in India

MIT News

According to the United Nations, 1 billion people globally live with disabilities, and as many as 70 million of them live in India. In India, individuals with disabilities face barriers to success from nonexistent or inaccessible infrastructure, as well as prejudicial beliefs and discriminatory laws. With those challenges in mind, Kyle Keane, lecturer and research scientist in MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was invited to conduct a 2018 summer workshop in Chennai, India. He reached out to MIT-India, part of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), for support in bringing a student with him. They not only agreed, but MIT-India Managing Director Mala Ghosh replied, "Why not bring an entire class?"


Developing tech for, and with, people with disabilities

MIT News

Lora Brugnaro says to think of her like a Weeble toy that constantly wobbles then falls down. She has cerebral palsy, which severely impacts her balance, and for years she has used a walker to help her stay upright while moving around. Unfortunately, she has found that walkers available on the market are cheap, unstable, and prone to flipping on rough surfaces, leaving her sprawled out on the floor of an MBTA station or in the middle of the street. She had even started considering using a wheelchair to avoid such situations. "I have felt for a very long time that the daily choice I made between safety and living with the freedom to move was an unnecessary choice predicated on poor design," she says.


9-Year-Old Lincoln Cellist Plays With Help of Prosthetic Arm

U.S. News

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.


Heartwarming video shows boy, three, using bionic hand for the first time

Daily Mail

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?'


Hospital gifting toddler with new prosthetic leg after old one is stolen from mother's car

FOX News

"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.


How you could control your world with just your fingertips

BBC News

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.


Exoskeleton helps people with paralysis to walk

BBC News

Floriane Vintras has had partial paralysis since she was young and has been using a wheelchair for the last two years.


Exoskeletons Today

Communications of the ACM

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.).


Prosthetic arm stolen from vehicle parked in San Francisco, police say

FOX News

A suspect stole a 41-year-old victim's prosthetic arm in San Francisco, police said Tuesday. A prosthetic arm was stolen after a suspect broke into the victim's car last week in San Francisco, police said Tuesday. The incident happened around 6 p.m. Saturday in an alley in the South of Market neighborhood, according to a report. A suspect had broken into the 41-year-old victim's vehicle and stolen his prosthetic arm, which was the only item reported missing, police told San Francisco's KPIX-TV. Officials initially said it was a prosthetic leg that was stolen, but later made the correction, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.


OrCam - Advanced Wearable AI Devices for the Blind Closing The Gap

#artificialintelligence

The most advanced wearable assistive technology device for the blind and visually impaired, that reads text, recognizes faces, identifies products and more. Intuitively responds to simple hand gestures. Real time identification of faces is seamlessly announced. Small, lightweight, and magnetically mounts onto virtually any eyeglass frame. Tiny, wireless, and does not require an internet connection.