By now a majority of individuals have heard of some form of wearable technology such as the smartwatch or Google Glass.  A tech company in India called Ducere Tech, recently presented a newer form of wearable technology: smart shoes.  The shoes are called Lechal, which translates as “take me there” in Hindi.  The shoes possess a lot of potential especially for individuals who are visually impaired.

According to the creators of the shoes, “People who are visually challenged rely heavily on their sense of hearing to acquaint themselves with the environment and may find audio feedback a major distraction.”  They also state that though the white cane is an effective aid, it falls short in regards to navigation and directions.  They wanted to create a haptic product to lessen the need for distracting audio feedback, so they designed the Lechal smart shoes, which can give the wearer directions without needing to look at a smartphone.  Lechal smart shoes

To get started, the user enters his or her destination into the Lechal app using Google Maps or a similar navigation app.  The app connects via Bluetooth to a module that slides into the back of the shoe, then the left or right shoe vibrates depending on which direction the user should turn.

The smart shoe technology is available in two forms: red or black shoes, or an insole platform to slide into one’s
favorite sneakers, and the shoes will retail for $100 to $150, depending on preference.  For that money, users will get the footwear, the app and a charger.  The Lechal app works with iOS, Android, and Windows systems.  For more information, visit the product’s website here.

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SPEAKall!® application for iPad

by Laura M on July 30, 2014

Many companies offer several augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to help individuals with autism spectrum and developmental disorders.  However, with the increased use and versatility of tablets, the demand for downloadable AAC applications has elevated.  Individuals at Purdue University have created an app called SPEAKall!® which can be downloaded from the App Store to one’s iPad.

This app was specifically designed to help children with autism spectrum and developmental disorders learn to both express themselves and produce audible speech.  The SPEAKall!® app is coined a powerful tablet app with picture exchange, as it incorporates the Picture Exchange Communication System into an iPad app.

speakallsentenceDevelop spoken sentences:

The app highlights two sections: a top row and a bottom row.  The top row features symbols and pictures, and the bottom is a storyboarding strip where users can drag and drop the pictures to create sentences.  The images can include objects, feelings or anything relevant to the child.

Increase vocabulary:

The app has different collections of media based on specific activities (i.e. foods, colors, etc.), but the images may be moved around if desired to further expand one’s vocabulary.

Easy transition from Picture Exchange to iPad:

Because SPEAKall!® has a basic interface comparable to picture communication books, it can easily be used within the format of exchange-based instruction.

Easily customized:

This app offers effective editing tools for administrators, making the app more unique and beneficial to each speakalledituser.  For instance, pictures can be taken and added to the media library to teach the child.  After taking a picture, the administrator can then record accompanying audio using familiar voices.

This application offers a free trial with limited premium features so individuals can sample the full package which varies from $24.99 to $39.99.

For more specifics on the SPEAKall!® app, check out the details on the App Store.

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FingerReader: ring-like device helps visually impaired read

July 29, 2014

In recent years, it’s been noted that fewer than 10 percent of legally blind Americans read Braille.  And with this number steadily declining as the use of technology increases, what other options are available?  With advancements in technology, there are several devices already available to help individuals with visual impairments read.  However, individuals often encounter the two […]

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Tech Tip: Ruby HD XL

July 28, 2014

Greg Blackman from Eye Can See shows us the new Ruby HD video magnifier by Freedom Scientific.  Check it out!

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ATU165 – Voice Banking for ALS and Augmentative Communication, IBM names Frances West Chief Accessibility Officer, Cherokee Braille, Kahn Academy App

July 25, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download 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. Show Notes: Dr. Tim Bunnell, Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children Director, Center for Pediatric Auditory and Speech […]

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8 great gardening tools for people with disabilities

July 24, 2014

The act of gardening offers many benefits to our planet as well as its vast population.  It is an activity that connects us to Mother Earth, provides us with both prismatic environments and nutritious goods, and is often a source of relaxation for most.  In sum, gardening positively affects our overall well-being, both inside and out.  However, the pastime, though very […]

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It All Starts With a Dream: Spotlight on Laura Medcalf

July 23, 2014

Writer: Tiffany Whisner, Coles Marketing Communications “I want to be a Disney Princess.” Right away I knew Laura Medcalf and I were kindred spirits. Not only do we share a love for Disney but our favorite Disney Princess as well — Ariel. Like Ariel, Laura is strong-willed, independent and courageous. She has learned to do […]

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Apps for Apraxia and Dysphagia

July 22, 2014

In last Thursday’s blog, I covered a few apps from Smarty Ears that may help individuals with aphasia, a condition which affects an individual’s ability to express and understand both written and spoken language.  Further, the company also offers helpful tools for individuals with other communication conditions including apraxia and dysphagia. APRAXIA The first few apps are helpful resources for apraxia, which […]

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Tech Tip: Slide 2 Unlock App

July 21, 2014

Anna Leung, iPad specialist at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana, introduces us to the free “Slide 2 Unlock” app–available for the iPad.  This app provides great practice for the “slide to unlock” gesture, which is required for iOS devices.

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ATU164 – Trick my iPhone with Wade Wingler *special episode*

July 18, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download 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. Show Notes: Trick My iPhone with Wade Wingler * Special episode: Replacing the built-in apps on iOS with alternatives […]

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