Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.
Panel: Nikol Prieto, Brian Norton, Elizabeth Farley, Wade Wingler
doki Smart Watch for Kids $199
Smart Watches – Apple Watch – Samsung Gear – Watchminder $80-500
Tile Slim or Tracker R Bravo $25-35
Dressing stick $5-10
One-handed belt $25-30
Sock Aids $10-12
Elastic Shoe Laces $3
Nest Protect $120
Nest Cam Indoor 3 pack $199 each $500 for 3
Amazon Echo – Echo Show – Echo Dot – Echo Wand $49-229
Google Home $129
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——-transcript follows ——
Happy holidays from the Assistive Technology Center at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is your Assistive Technology Update.
WADE WINGLER: Just a quick editorial note before we get started. We made an oops. Last week we released part two of the holiday shopping episode when we meant to do part one. Last week you got part two. Today you’re going to get part one. They can stand alone so it’s not a big deal. Next week we will be back with our regular format of interviews. We hope you’re having a great holiday season. Here is part one of our annual holiday shopping show.
WADE WINGLER: You hear that music, guys. It means it’s time once again for our annual holiday assistive technology shopping show. I’m not sure what year this is for this. Nicole, you and I have been doing this for a long time.
NIKOL PRIETO: At least four of them, right?
WADE WINGLER: I think it might be five or six. I’ll have to look it up and drop in the show notes. I’m Wade Wingler, your host. We normally do interviews and assistive technology news every week here on assistive technology update, but we are breaking from our format. It’s a tradition, the day after Thanksgiving here in the US, Black Friday, we do episode number one of holiday shopping for assistive technology.
I have some friends in the studio today, and we will go around the quick and do some introductions. Nicole, we talked about this before. You are wearing a Halloween garb.
NIKOL PRIETO: I am. We are recording before Halloween, and I’m protesting listening to Christmas music this soon.
WADE WINGLER: Every year she does this to me. She has spider earrings, skeletons on her sweater. The ever lovely and somewhat grinchy Nikol Prieto.
NIKOL PRIETO: I’ll take the title as I stare at this Christmas tree on your neck.
WADE WINGLER: Nikol Prieto is our community outreach coordinator for the INDATA Project. Say hello and tell everybody a little bit about your job.
NIKOL PRIETO: My name is Nikol Prieto. I’m the community outreach coordinator for the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads. The goal of our program is to educate people about assistive technology and help people get their hands on assistance technology. We are the assistive technology act for the state of Indiana.
WADE WINGLER: Very good. Nicole, sitting right next to you is a newcomer to the show, first timer. Elizabeth Farley is Easter Seals Crossroads’ Director of Corporate Partnership. Is that right?
ELIZABETH FARLEY: That’s a long title, but yes.
WADE WINGLER: What should we call you instead?
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Director of corporate partnership is just fine.
WADE WINGLER: I’ll just go with ma’am. How about that?
ELIZABETH FARLEY: I like that too.
WADE WINGLER: Elizabeth, welcome to your first holiday shopping show. Thank you for being here.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Absolutely. Unlike Nicole to my left, I love Christmas. I would celebrate it every day of the year.
WADE WINGLER: My hashtag is Christmas 365 so I am right there with you. Tell everybody about yourself and what you do here.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Director of corporate partnership, which means I get to work with all of our partners, mostly corporate, giving money, with events, volunteers, you name it, I am the one who goes in and forms that holistic partnership between their organization and Easter Seals crossroads.
WADE WINGLER: We are glad you are here.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: I’m so happy to be here. Thank you.
WADE WINGLER: To your right is the ever giggly professor Brian Norton.
BRIAN NORTON: Hey, hey, hey.
WADE WINGLER: Brian Norton is our director of assistive technology and has been on the show and also the very well known and very popular host of ATFAQ, assisted technology frequently asked questions, which is our question and answer show we do every couple of times a month. Enough of that plug-fest, Brian, how are you?
BRIAN NORTON: I’m good. My head is too big. It starting to wobble back and forth.
WADE WINGLER: We will have to get you bigger headphones. Tell everybody about what you do.
BRIAN NORTON: I am the director of assistive technology here at Easter Seals crossroads. I oversee two programs: the clinical program, which is where we are in the weeds with folks, figuring out what their needs are with regard to accommodations in a variety of different places and making those recommendations to funding sources and working with those funding sources to make sure that folks’ needs are met. I also direct the day-to-day services that are provided out of the INDATA Project, which Nicole talked about a little bit earlier. What I do day to day it’s a little bit of this and that. To tell you more about me, I like to take long walks on a beach —
WADE WINGLER: Okay, okay. It’s Christmas. This is a family show. Thank you so much.
BRIAN NORTON: No problem.
WADE WINGLER: In this segment, we are going to talk about some technology. We have realized there is a whole lot of technology everywhere in the world, but especially in the world of assistive technology, that has to do with health and wellness. It’s tough about your blood pressure and medication and all that kind of stuff. We are going to spend some time talking about a few of the adaptive items – or least items that fall in that category that might be adaptive – and that are all sort of health related.
Nicole, we are going to start with you. I know you have a few items in this category. What do you want to start with?
NIKOL PRIETO: Something I am looking forward to over Christmas is sleeping in. I’m not a great sleeper. We have a cool item called a wake-up light and REM sleep tracker. It runs about $177, and this is a really neat device that tracks how you sleep. There is a pad that goes on the your mattress, and track your movement and tracks the state you are in, like if you are in light or deep or REM stage. Then it assist you in waking up at the appropriate time. Like you have a range of time you need to get up, and it will track what stage of sleep you’re in and start to wake you up. It uses lights. In the morning, you will have a sunrise lighting, and at night you will have a sunset lighting. It looks really cool. You can track your sleep on a smartphone, so if you need to talk to your physician about your sleep patterns or maybe add melatonin to your diet or those kinds of things. For your health, sleep is the most important thing.
WADE WINGLER: Absolutely. If we are not sleeping, then we are in big trouble. Brian, I know you have some items in this category as well. What do you want to start with?
BRIAN NORTON: I have a few items in this area. Think like a glucose monitoring systems, blood pressure monitoring systems, like a smart temporal monitor. There are a whole lot of these things that are part of the Internet of things world that is out there these days. For a lot of folks I work with, disability oftentimes means your health is pretty fragile. You want to be able to monitor those types of things day in and day out. What these devices allow you to do is provide doctors, solutions, your healthcare professionals that are working with you, real-time information about how you’re doing and what is happening. So when things go wrong, they have a certain look at and sort out with you.
Specifically, iHealth and Withings, they have a variety of these different things. They range in cost anywhere from $30 up to $150. I just think that would be a neat thing for folks to get and then be able to better take care of themselves, and that those folks who care about them know how they are doing.
NIKOL PRIETO: I was looking at that. You can have it email your doctor directly. That saves you one stop from calling people. They can monitor it. It’s super cool.
WADE WINGLER: Aren’t most of them compatible with – is iHealth the standard that people are using? Is that the Apple related thing? I know they need to communicate with the doctor and all sort of use a standard way to communicate.
BRIAN NORTON: Some of the things require the doctor. The doctor gives you a code to enter into the app, and the app will then send the information directly to them whenever you update the information or use the actual device. It will update their information on the healthcare professional side. They are available, those apps are available in iOS, also available through Android. You can get to those matter what your platform is.
WADE WINGLER: I know one of the things you had on your list is called a Weight Guru Bluetooth scale. Do we want to talk about that?
NIKOL PRIETO: I dare someone to give me that.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: No one wants that.
BRIAN NORTON: I was looking at that one and thinking, Thanksgiving is before Christmas, right? I’m usually sitting around the house for four or five days at Christmas doing different things, mostly eating what is left over from Thanksgiving. Again, tracking your weight, those kinds of things, it allows you to do that and see where you stand day-to-day and over a period of time. It’s a great scale.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: They say you are supposed to weigh yourself every day as a check-in.
WADE WINGLER: No thank you.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: I say I did. I just that it’s interesting.
NIKOL PRIETO: I like to start the day on a positive note.
WADE WINGLER: Exactly.
WADE WINGLER: Elizabeth, you have a thing here called a Nokia Steel. I have to tell you, I’m not even familiar with this. Take us to school on this device.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: There are actually two of them that I’m going to talk about today. There is the Nokia Steel and Nokia Steel HR, which is the heart rate –
WADE WINGLER: Not human resources. There might not so much. No one wants that either. They are both available on Nokia.com. It’s basically Nokia’s version of a smart watch. The Nokia Steel cost comes in at $129. It is your basic activity tracker. However, you don’t need to carry your phone anymore because your watch is going to do everything. It is made to help you move better, sleep better, feel better, do everything. It totes itself as saying it is the only tracker that doesn’t get in the way of your life.
One thing that is cool about the Nokia Steel: there is no charging and no button to press to do anything. It will automatically track everything via what is called their “patented connect movement,” and it syncs to your app to give you all of your personal metrics and everything. The Nokia Steel also worked on a button cell that last up to eight months, which is pretty cool.
Compare that with the Nokia Steel HR, which stands for heart rate. This is basically the wash that looks after your ticker, because the heart rate is a good overall indication of your health. It also has the longest battery life of any heart rate tracker, one that last for 25 days. This automatically activates when you run, when you basically do anything, it will go ahead and kick on and download everything to an in-app report. What else is cool? It has an activity companion on its. It doesn’t just do your standard activities such as walking, running, and swimming. This baby picks up ping-pong, volleyball, dancing. It’s pretty cool. This one will even send you text and email alerts.
Another nice thing about the Nokia Steel and Nokia Steel HR, there is no compromising in style. Ladies, gentlemen, you can wear this to the office, the gym, out for a night on the town. It comes available in a black and white band. I will say something: because the Nokia Steel HR is a little more pricey, $179, I did find it on eBay for $165.
WADE WINGLER: Excellent.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a really nice looking watch.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: It is really sleek. It comes in a 36 millimeter and a 40 millimeter. I like a large faced watch.
NIKOL PRIETO: I like a chunky jewelry like that.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: I would be inclined to go ahead and do the 40. These are sleek.
WADE WINGLER: Nicole, I know you have something similar in that category, some things from Garmin?
NIKOL PRIETO: So the Garmin Vevo Fit 2 is $109.99. You guys are probably familiar with these fitness trackers. It is going to show you your steps and calories and distance you gone for a day. It will also give you alerts. There have been so many studies that sitting at your desk for long periods of times is not good for you, but if you can get up and just move a little bit throughout the day – and it will remind you to do that. We all get fixated on our projects and what we are doing, and we look up and haven’t moved all day. If you can just get up and do brief spurts of activity, that is really going to help. That is really cool. It also monitors your sleep. Just being active and getting your sleep, we are learning that that’s the most important thing you can do for yourself.
The Samsung Fit 2 is $129 and has a heart monitor. If I’m in a aerobics class or outrunning, and I try to put my fingers on my pulse and count, I’ve never been able to figure out how to do that. That would be really cool to have that accurate heart monitor.
WADE WINGLER: Nicole, while I am talking to you, you have something I found interesting. It’s called a Hidrate Spark 2. This is a smart water bottle?
NIKOL PRIETO: It’s a $53 water bottle. Let’s start there. Let’s tell you why. It’s a smart water bottle, so it keep track of how much you drink. On top of sleeping and moving, you have to hydrate. What is it, eight 8-ounce glasses a day you are supposed to have? It’s a lot of water.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: That’s the low end.
NIKOL PRIETO: It’s hard to get it in. Again, you’re at your desk, working on your task, and just to remember to drink it. This gives you an alert. It has a flash when you need to drink. It tells you how much you had to drink. It records how much you drink and integrates with all your fitness trackers. But it has a replaceable long-lasting battery so you don’t have to worry about that.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: It’s also available to use with wine.
NIKOL PRIETO: Will the flashes stop?
WADE WINGLER: That’s funny. Ladies, you are talking, as we were setting up for the show, about something I have to say is lost on me. It’s called a Himalayan pink salt – I know what that stuff is. I put it on a baked potato. This is a lamp?
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Swoon.
NIKOL PRIETO: Absolutely.
WADE WINGLER: Talking about that.
NIKOL PRIETO: You are correct. It is the beautiful pink salt that you can flavor your meals with, but this comes in a big rock formation. A lot of time you will have a hole cut out for a light, so it will turn into a lamp. It is the most beautiful lighting, perfect lighting. It’s so great for your mood, anyone with depression. They also are known to clean and deodorize the air.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Allergies.
NIKOL PRIETO: Asthma.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Better sleep.
NIKOL PRIETO: It supposed to increase your energy level, your mood. I don’t know, scientifically, for me I haven’t tested it. I know it brings me joy. I have one on my nightstand and, for my mood’s sake, it totally works.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: I have one that is a nightlight, but I’ve seen them made in the Himalayan salt walls where an entire wall is made up of the salt. I think what is elevating, at least to my mood, that rosie glow. You know the phrase: rose-colored glasses. Everything looks prettier. It really does impart that very peaceful, calm, happy feeling. I tend to buy into a lot of the – actually, my fiancé will tell you I buy into a whole lot of the holistic items that are out there. I think the Himalayan pink salt lamp, be it a lamp, nightlight, wall, whatever is in your price range, why not?
NIKOL PRIETO: And I think it is one of those gifts. Traditionally, giving a candle is such a great gift. But you don’t know their scent. This is one of those gifts that you can give –
WADE WINGLER: Brian and I are looking at each other.
BRIAN NORTON: What about the American white salt —
WADE WINGLER: The real question is if our wives listen to the show, how much is it going to cost us to get these?
NIKOL PRIETO: It could be $20 to hundreds. If you have a party at work – what is it?
ELIZABETH FARLEY: White elephant.
NIKOL PRIETO: White elephant kinds of things, or you are teachers, or you just want a sweet gift for any female, I think they’re going to love it.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: I think my nightlight was $12. I ordered it off of Etsy.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s why we need women on the show. That would never have occurred to me. If I gave Wade a pink hunk of a rock, it’s like thanks man.
WADE WINGLER: Thanks for the salt lamp?
NIKOL PRIETO: He’s rubbing it on his potato. Why is this not working?
ELIZABETH FARLEY: You could do a book of crystals with that, which I think would be nice.
BRIAN NORTON: Are we sure it’s from the Himalayan Mountains? Straight from the Himalayan salt mine in Colorado.
WADE WINGLER: Exactly.
NIKOL PRIETO: Anyone would love it.
WADE WINGLER: This show is scheduled to be released on November 24, which is Black Friday, the commercial shopping holiday here in the US. What are you going to be doing a Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving? What are your plans going to be?
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Mine won’t be shopping. I won’t go. It will be family activities. Anyone who is away at school, which would be my youngest niece Kat, will be home. I have a niece that is newly engaged. My sweetheart will actually take that they off and we will generally do something as a family. We’ve gone down to the tree lighting before. It will be a family day.
BRIAN NORTON: We always go Black Friday shopping. I am the chauffeur. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to go into the store. I don’t do any of my shopping for folks that day. Although all the women in my family love that time. They do all of their Christmas shopping on Black Friday. It’s an ordeal for them. They love it. I’m just the chauffeur. I’m happy to get them to the different places, pick them up, and chill for them around to the different stores they need to go to. Again, I just get my nice peaceful solitude in the car while they are out dealing with maniacs and shopping carts and screaming kids and all those things.
WADE WINGLER: Similarly, I won’t be Black Friday shopping. We have a new puppy at my house. My guess is I’m going to raise my hand and say I’ll stay home with Fisher, you guys go out and do that. The evening of Black Friday, for the last 10 years or so, I get to do something very cool. I am the town center. Don’t tell my kids that they are listening to the show. I get to put on the red suit and light the Christmas tree in the courthouse square and walk around for a couple of hours and do photo ops with kids. It’s awesome. I love being sent out. I will be doing that while people are listening to this podcast.
NIKOL PRIETO: Have the kids figured it out yet?
WADE WINGLER: They have. They know. Now they are Santa’s helpers. They figured it out.
BRIAN NORTON: For years, it was like why does dad never enjoy this moment? Why is he never around?
NIKOL PRIETO: Dad has never seen center?
WADE WINGLER: That’s funny. My youngest, when she was two and she came to see me at the town square, she gave me this look like, I know who you are and I don’t like this. Last year or the year before, my little boy who was probably four at the time, maybe five, said, mom, I think Santa is Dad. And we had to have a talk. We get that all worked out.
NIKOL PRIETO: Are you just a representative of center?
WADE WINGLER: I’m a Santa’s helper, and we talk about the original Saint Nicolas and what that meant and the spirit of generosity and all those things. They are still unsure about whether I am just a helper to the real Santa. We haven’t gone further than that.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Does your new puppy have a stocking?
WADE WINGLER: He doesn’t yet, but I’m sure by the time this podcast goes out, you probably will.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s going to stink when he gets more gifts than you do.
WADE WINGLER: I’m fine with that.
NIKOL PRIETO: I used to have a tradition of going with all the girls in my family to Bloomington and doing some local shopping. No one is there, there are no students, my favorite time to be in Bloomington, there are no college students standing in the road and milling about aimlessly and in my way. But lately we’ve gotten to taking the kids to local sporting events like high school basketball and football. That is the football state championship. We will go down to that and enjoy that and spend time with family.
WADE WINGLER: As I look around the room, I see some Apple Watches, some smart phones. Frankly, we live in a world where wearable and mobile portable technology is just part of our life these days. We went to spend some time talking about some very specific wearable technologies that might make some good gift ideas for folks to use assistive technology. Brian, I’m going to start with you. You have some fancy French shoes or something like that?
BRIAN NORTON: My Lechal’s.
WADE WINGLER: The Lechal vibrating shoes?
BRIAN NORTON: Haptic shoe insoles are what they are. These are GPS-enabled soles for your shoes. You stick them in your shoes, and it is connected to GPS. When you are walking down the street and need to take a left at the corner, your shoe on your left foot will vibrate to tell you and unify that you need to go left and so on and so forth. It’s an interesting thing. I worry about durability and stinkiness and other stuff that happens. I know what my shoe smell like.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Do they make it in heel?
BRIAN NORTON: No. I think there is only one kind.
WADE WINGLER: They are inserts, right?
BRIAN NORTON: Yeah, they are inserts.
WADE WINGLER: What I’ve learned is there is a chip, a plastic thing you can replace so when they get stinky or gross, it’s like a Fitbit where the chip part comes out and you can replace that part. Right?
BRIAN NORTON: You can replace the soles at that point. The little chip will pull out of the sole inserts. If you get a new pair, I think you can just get the answers at that point.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: What are they made of?
BRIAN NORTON: They are just like the things you find at any of your drug stores.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: Like Dr. Scholl’s?
BRIAN NORTON: Absolutely. But then they have a plastic chip that sticks inside those soles to do the vibrating underfoot.
NIKOL PRIETO: Can you track anyone? I’m thinking of tracking my children? Or someone with a cognitive disability?
BRIAN NORTON: I haven’t gotten that far.
NIKOL PRIETO: That would be a cool way to use it if you could.
BRIAN NORTON: They are not tremendously expensive, $70. They are called Lechal. I was calling them “leckle,” but then someone told me the French word for shoe is “lechal.” L-E-C-H-A-L.
WADE WINGLER: That’s pretty remarkable technology. We have a couple of watches here. Do you want to talk about those you have one for kids and one for grown-ups. I think I have one for kids.
BRIAN NORTON: The first one is Philip. It’s a smart watch that allows parents to not only track their kids to know where their kids are, because you can look those things up on an app on your phone to see where they are at generally, but for health and safety. I think kids a lot of times, as I wear my smart watch and trackers and other things, kids look at their parents like what are you doing? I want one of those. Can I get one of those? This does a variety of things for you. Not only is it made for that type of thing where you can help know where your kids are — Nicole, you mentioned that, that you want to track your kids.
NIKOL PRIETO: I have a 13-year-old that I need to track.
BRIAN NORTON: But it’s also a phone. It’s a phone in the watch, and you have some limited phone numbers that you can preprogram. I think there are five. That’s a way for them to call. Safety concerns, being able to, if they are in trouble, they can hit your number and call you.
NIKOL PRIETO: I love thinking the kids need that for the emergency, but they don’t have a phone so they can to waste too much time on social media and other places. I think that’s really cool.
BRIAN NORTON: Saving them from thumb carpal tunnel.
NIKOL PRIETO: And “duck lip syndrome” for my daughter.
WADE WINGLER: That’s it for part one of our holiday shopping episode. We are going to jump back in on the wearable section of the beginning of next week’s episode. We will have part two of our holiday shopping show. We look forward to catching you then.
NIKOL PRIETO: Thanks for having us. Merry Christmas.
ELIZABETH FARLEY: So happy to be here first time. Hopefully not the last. Happy holidays to everyone listening.
BRIAN NORTON: Have a great one.
WADE WINGLER: Merry Christmas everybody.
WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. Looking for a transcript or show notes from today’s show? Head on over to www.EasterSealstech.com. Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more shows like this plus much more over at AccessibilityChannel.com. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.
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