Archive for June, 2011

Seeing With Sound

June 26th, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on Seeing With Sound

Sometimes a blind person’s best assistive technology is their remaining senses. In Germany, a number of blind people have developed a bat-like method of navigating their surroundings through noise response. Some are even using “flash sonar” to conduct such activities as bike riding and hiking. An article in Spiegel Online International describes one subject, a […]

Virtual Worlds for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

June 23rd, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on Virtual Worlds for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (also called the T2 Center) has been investigating the use of avatar-based virtual worlds to help thousands of veterans adjust to civilian life after combat. The T2 Center, located in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, provides virtual demonstrations how post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) is acquired, including explanations of how […]

“Brain Gyms” May Be the Next Big Business

June 23rd, 2011 by Kel Smith | 1 comment

A Fast Company article this week discussed increased venture capital funding for “brain gyms.” These are subscription websites, originally developed for those with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive difficulties. Interestingly, online game puzzles are finding a growing market for anyone wishing to sharpen their mental abilities. One website (Lumosity.com) is pulling 14 million users from 180 […]

Digital Outcasts Presentation at LEEF 2011

June 16th, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on Digital Outcasts Presentation at LEEF 2011

Tomorrow I head to Harrisburg PA to speak at the Learning and Entertainment Education Forum (LEEF) at the University of Science and Technology. The mission of LEEF is to explore the use of games, simulations and virtual worlds for both learning and work. The two-day program, hosted by the wonderful Andy Petroski and featuring no […]

Two Ways to Look at It

June 11th, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on Two Ways to Look at It

On May 25, 2011, the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story on two young twins conjoined at the head. Below are two responses which appear in this week’s Letters to the Editor section: The tone of the article is upbeat; let’s call it American optimism in the face of any challenge. There is […]

1 in 7 People on Earth Has a Disability

June 10th, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on 1 in 7 People on Earth Has a Disability

According to a report distributed by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, and reported by National Public Radio, more than 1 billion people in the world are living with some sort of disability. This is roughly 15 percent of the world’s population. In fact, this number is expected to increase as the world’s […]

Virtual Reality Improves Social Attention in Autistic Kids

June 7th, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on Virtual Reality Improves Social Attention in Autistic Kids

New research presented at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2011 Annual Meeting suggests that virtual reality training may improve social attention skills in school-aged children with higher-functioning autism. A pilot program outfitted 18 children with head-mounted virtual reality equipment, taking part in a virtual classroom setting with avatar “peers” who gradually faded to transparency if […]

Using Phone Data to Track Public Services

June 6th, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on Using Phone Data to Track Public Services

My friend Craig DeLarge linked me to this interesting development in New York City’s underground subway network. One of the issues facing the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been how to provide better predictability in train schedules. Technology now enables us to analyze when and how people lose their phone services when going underground. Urban […]

14th Annual Accessing Higher Ground

June 2nd, 2011 by Kel Smith | Comments Off on 14th Annual Accessing Higher Ground

Just learned that I’ll be presenting at this year’s Accessing Higher Ground conference in Boulder, CO. I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends in accessibility in a great venue. Will I be promoting the book during that presentation? Um, probably. (Sorry.) Here’s the conference info: Disability Services at the University of Colorado at Boulder […]