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.
Dr Cole Galloway, Professor of Physical Therapy – University of Delaware – Founder of Go Baby Go
GoBabyGo! | University of Delaware http://buff.ly/1p4QOGy
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COLE GALLOWAY: I am Cole Galloway, professor of physical therapy at the University of Delaware, and this is your Assistive Technology Update.
WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a 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. Welcome to episode number 158 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on June 6 of 2014.
We have kind of a unique addition of Assistive Technology Update today. My interview is with Dr. Cole Galloway of the Go Baby Go! project. He was recently featured on NBC news about turning toy, plastic cars into pediatric mobility devices for children under the age of three. The first part of the show is exclusively dedicated to how iOS 8 is going to impact people with disabilities. We have some less than 24 hour old exposure to the operating system and give you some pretty insightful feedback on what’s happening with iOS 8. We hope you’ll check out the website at www.eastersealstech.com. Shoot us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project, or call our listener line at 317-721-7124.
It’s not too late. Join us at the RESNA conference in downtown Indianapolis, June 11-15. Visit www.RESNA.org/conference.
As I’m recording this, it’s been less than 24 hours since Apple had their 2014 WWDC, where they announced a lot of stuff including iOS 8 as well as OS 10 Yosemite, the new version of the property software for the Macintosh computer. Early indicators about accessibility are pretty amazing when it comes to iOS 8. I’m looking at a blog post from the assistive technology blog and I’ll have a link in the show notes, that kind of gives a quick overview.
One of the accessibility applications for iOS 8 are keyboards. There are going to be all kinds of keyboards available in iOS 8, one includes a predictive keyboard called quick type, another option would be for something like Flesky, which has been around in the assistive technology world for a long time to show up in iOS 8. It’s going to allow third-party developers to develop keyboards so there’s opportunities for braille, opportunities for things like code writer, all kinds of opportunities in terms of keyboards.
Also there’s a new app called health, to keep track of your health records and allows you to share information with physicians. The Mayo Clinic is behind it and helping out with that process. It looks like we may have a more centralized kind of place to keep your healthcare information.
Family sharing is another thing that’s going to be available on iOS. It will allow families with multiple devices to manage their device is a little more effectively. In fact you can share physical locations of your kids and also figure out what apps they might be purchasing or trying to install. So there’s a little more monitoring going on there.
Spotlight search is another thing that is exciting because it gets more power. Unlike Siri that uses voice inputs, Spotlight is a textbased system that’s going to get some responses back that might be more accessible through systems like voice over.
Touch ID is going to be made available to third-party apps which is a huge thing if you are blind or visually impaired and you need to type in some of those really long, complicated passwords. You can spend that much time typing a password as you do actually interacting with the app, but that could be bypassed when Touch ID is available. Simply set it up, stick your finger or thumb on the Touch ID, and your password is entered for you. Similarly, guided access going to be upgraded to work with Touch ID, so if you’re a teacher or parent and you want to get out of a locked in application because you’re using guided access with a person with a disability or a student or your child, you can simply put your finger on that Touch ID to get out of there.
Another teaser here, if you just been listened but not discussed much, is called speak screen. That kind of hints at some accessibility but we really don’t know what that one means yet. I’m going to stick a link in the show notes over to the assistive technology blog where you can check out this hot off the presses post about the accessibility features of iOS 8.
So we’re all excited about what’s happening with iOS 8 and Apple’s recent announcements, and my friend and colleague, Craig Burns, walked by and said, “Hey, wait, I happen to have a copy of iOS 8 here if you’d like to look at it.” Craig, how are you this morning?
CRAIG BURNS: I’m good. How are you, Wade?
WADE WINGLER: I’m fine. So you’ve got a copy. Again, the announcement was made less than 24 hours ago, but you have a copy of iOS 8 here, and a couple of things are exciting you about it. Tell me about some of them.
CRAIG BURNS: Well, first off, I like the new keyboard access with the word prediction on it. It makes it so much quicker to type a message or an email. One of things you can do, I just found is you can send a sound message, or a voicemail message. So in the messages, you can hold on the microphone. Not the one on the bottom next to your space bar, but in the message bar with the camera and the message field, and then you have a microphone on the end of that. With your thumb, you can hold that down and you can speak your message. Hey, David, how are you? And then you just swipe up and it sends it.
WADE WINGLER: Well. So you can now send, amidst your text messaging with people, you can just throw a voice recording in there.
CRAIG BURNS: Right.
WADE WINGLER: That’s pretty cool stuff. So, there’s this thing called “Hey, Siri,” that’s getting a lot of attention because it’s supposed to be a hands-free way to use Siri. The first thing we discovered one looking to the setting says so in order to use “Hey, Siri,” the phone has to be plugged in, right?
CRAIG BURNS: That’s correct.
WADE WINGLER: And it seems to me that, probably because the microphone is going to be on the whole time, It’s probably going to suck the battery power down which means you need to be connected to a power source. So we grabbed a battery pack. We hooked up the phone. Let’s see — and you turned on the thing that says respond to voice commands?
CRAIG BURNS: Yes.
WADE WINGLER: What did it say in the settings; do you happen to remember?
CRAIG BURNS: In the settings, under Siri, you have a choice to set to voice activation on or off. The same way you can use raise to speak.
WADE WINGLER: So you’ve got it set to voice activation on. We’ve got a plugged into a battery. Let’s see if this works.
CRAIG BURNS: If you say, “Hey, Siri.”[Silence.]
It picked up earlier. “Hey, Siri.”[tone]
“Do I have any appointments today?”
SIRI: You have five appointments at nine, 11:30 AM, three, five, and 8 PM. Would you like to hear more about it?”
CRAIG BURNS: I sound busy, don’t I?
WADE WINGLER: Yeah.
CRAIG BURNS: Thank you, Siri.
WADE WINGLER: But you didn’t have to do anything. You’re sitting there just holding the thing and you said “Hey, Siri,” and it just picked it up.
CRAIG BURNS: Right.
WADE WINGLER: That’s pretty cool. That’s new.
CRAIG BURNS: So you’ve got that option. I suppose if you’re working on it at a desk and you need something really quick, and you’re charged up or you are being charged up, then you can just use it right from there. When you were just talking earlier, you said “Hey, Siri,” and it just picked it up.
WADE WINGLER: It got me saying “Hey, Siri”?
CRAIG BURNS: It went into it when you said “Hey, Siri.”
WADE WINGLER: That’s kind of cool. Or if you think about someone who might have spinal cord injury and you’re mounting an iPhone or iPad to a wheelchair, and right now we’re just plug into a $40 battery pack. I forget the name of the battery pack that we’ve got hooked up here. But it’s something that will give probably your iPhone battery life throughout most that they, so I can see someone who can have their iPhone mounted on the chair or whatever, a battery pack kind of going, and at 40 bucks you might have a couple of those to you throughout the day.
CRAIG BURNS: Absolutely.
WADE WINGLER: And you’re powered up. You’re ready to go. I’m impressed. You only had this for just a few hours and there’s a lot of things we’re so figuring out. It’s going to be exciting over the next few weeks to see what kind of new developments we find with accessibility and iOS 8.
CRAIG BURNS: Well, I’m excited about it. From the developer standpoint, there’s a new language that’s called Swift. I just downloaded the iBook on it last night.
WADE WINGLER: You really are sleepy.
CRAIG BURNS: Read the introduction and then went to bed. I’ve got to get into that and it looks pretty exciting. From what they say, you can do some development and then you can see actually what you’re developing right along with it rather than having to build and go through the process people from a developer standpoint, that helps save a lot of time.
WADE WINGLER: And I heard part of the keynote yesterday, and it seemed like a developer site is really where a lot of innovation and changes were going to be happening with iOS 8. The ability to share apps between family members, some of the access for the touchpad being made available to developers and some of things that are being opened up is pretty cool. I’m excited about it.
CRAIG BURNS: Is going to be fun.
WADE WINGLER: Cool. Craig, thank you for stopping by and showing us what we know so far of iOS 8.
CRAIG BURNS: You’re welcome, Wade.
WADE WINGLER: Just two quick notes before we start the interview. First, we had little trouble with Skype. I hope it doesn’t interfere too much. Secondly, right after our interview, Dr. Galloway was also featured on NBC nightly news talking about the same topic. I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to NBC’s website and to listen to the interview with Dr. Galloway.
Almost every day, I get up at home and I either trip over or avoid tripping over a plastic toy in my home. You see, I have two kids under the age of three in my house. Plastic toys are part of what my home life is like. Today, I’m a little bit excited that I get to bring some of that into our interview. I’m joined via Skype by Dr. Cole Galloway, who is a professor of physical therapy at the University of Delaware and founder of the Go Baby Go! project. Dr. Galloway is one of the presenters coming to RESNA in Indianapolis this summer, so I’m excited to have them on the show today. I’ll be more excited to meet him face-to-face order to get a chance to do that the summer paper let me make sure. Dr. Galloway, are you there?
COLE GALLOWAY: I am. Thanks.
WADE WINGLER: Good. Hey, Cole, thank you so much for taking some time out of your day. I know you squeeze me in between some meetings today and I appreciate the generosity of your time. I want to hear little bit about what is Go Baby Go.
COLE GALLOWAY: Wade, when you described your living room, you may or may not realize that that’s really the gold standard for Go Baby Go, is to get kids with mobility impairments to a level that your kids are enjoying in terms of mobility and socialization , in terms of muscle strength and balance, that’s really where we are focused. We’re focused on doing that through technology and training to. You’re actually a user of toddlers and a user of assistive technology in the form of toys. That’s exactly what we focused on.
This actually wasn’t our end goal. Our beginning was a couple of robots in which very young kids drove these joystick driven robots and we saw the cognitive and perceptual and language jumps that we anticipated. Despite they were only in the robots for 20 minutes a day, three times a week, we got the jump in cognition and perception and motor skills that we would’ve predicted if they were crawling or walking. And these are typically developing kids in a pilot project, but very quickly we were talking to commissions and families.
People were coming up after the talk, oh yeah, I love it. I love it. Where do I get my power chair for my kid? Where do I get the new power wheelchair for the client that I see, the young kid that was in my clinic? Six months of answering, “Well, we don’t build these. Well, we don’t know if the industry is going to have a birth-to-three, birth-to-five -year-old power chair,” it starts to drain on researchers. We’re a bunch of clinical researchers and physical therapists, occupational therapist and speech therapist in our area, and frankly it got to be too depressing. We realized either we’ve got to stop studying early mobility, or we’ve got to be able to deliver on the science and the promise of the research which was we need to get the kids going. That will lead you to some strange places.
WADE WINGLER: Yeah. So tell me a little bit about those early stages and how we went from there isn’t anything available in the field to what you have now.
COLE GALLOWAY: Well, the interesting thing, I think a couple of things happened. One, I’m not a pediatric physical therapist, I am a PT — I don’t practice now; I do research. But I wasn’t a pediatric therapist. I wasn’t an ATP. I am not an engineer. So I think part of the beauty was I didn’t know what I should be asking and what I shouldn’t, and so I ended up with a high school research assistant.
Of course, exactly where a scientist would end up with questions, I ended up in a hardware store and a toy store and Joanne Fabric. I can’t build high anything. The level of my knowledge only goes so far as cutting some wires and PVC. The keys for us was tripping onto the low tech could actually provide independent mobility. The brain, which I had studied before in my PhD, also my post doctorate was right down the road in Bloomington, Indiana, in child development, I knew that if I got these kids independently mobile that some really amazing things would happen. The challenge was could I do it on the lowest tech level so that we have a chance of possibly putting more kids in our region an early power.
What I didn’t realize was that within two or three years, I would have a planet wide program that really has a planet wide mission to provide these ride on the cars because of the accessibility and because of the low tech changes you can make in then, the light modifications. There is a chance that before my career ends, that we could have a significant percentage of kids worldwide that need early power in something like a toy.
WADE WINGLER: So tell me a little bit about the first time you modified a ride on toy car for a child with a disability. Tell me about the situation, and tell me about the modifications. Tell me the story about that.
COLE GALLOWAY: The key there is that we didn’t know what we were doing. That principle has played through. Every time we think we know what we are doing or we pretend to as researchers or people with confidence after their name, I’ve got several letters after my name, so sometimes that’s the hindrance and that you should be the smartest person in the room about this.
We never have felt like we were the smartest people in the room. We went to Toys ‘R’ Us, we got a bunch of toys down, and realized we don’t know anything about these toys. These look like tractors and airplanes and motorcycles and Lightning McQueen and bucktooth Tow Mater. Then we went to the hardware store and I didn’t know where things were in the hardware store. Little by little, we put things together based on the child that we were building the system for.
We didn’t know what we’re doing as principle number one. Admit you have limitations. Number two, don’t think of this as assistive technology. Put this in the flow of regular therapy, meaning you put the child’s strengths and build on them. So if you don’t know the technology and you’re trying to build technology, you focus on the child first. We didn’t know we were doing this advanced child-centered care, we just didn’t know what we are doing.
So we let the kid tell us what they needed and the parents supplement information, and we built it with low tech because we didn’t know what else to do. The child got in there and instead of hitting a small switch, we transferred into a big switch. A way that takes all of 30 seconds to snip wires. We put a child in that have not been mobile their entire life. They hit the switch, they went down the section of their living room and you could tell in their eyes all of this textbook knowledge of I knew about, active brain versus a passive brain, jump out.
I look over at the older organisms in the room called mom and dad, and you could tell something was cracking. At this point, you’ve smiles. You’ve got yeehaw from the kid on mobile. Every kid is passively mobile for multiple months even if you’re typically developing. We know from research is there’s a strong suggestion that an active, independent mobile brain is much better than a passive mobile brain. Even though you’re held and carried around by mom, the first time you actually do that and crawl, there’s an explosion in your brain.
We saw the explosion in the gyms and living rooms and grocery stores that we took these early cars into. We saw the explosion come on the baby’s face, we saw the explosions come on mom’s face, we saw the explosion come on the pet’s face. A pet of a sibling — if you have an older sibling that’s been mobile and the cat was around, that cat instantly gets what just happened with a young kid. That means I’m under the bed for the next year. Everybody runs for the hills. The first type of reaction is a smile. That’s not the reaction we are looking for. The second type of reaction we’re looking for is the phone call. You’ve created a monster. What have you done? Because baby comes to me for the first couple of weeks and then baby understands wait a minute, I can’t run away.
WADE WINGLER: I’m out of here.
COLE GALLOWAY: That activates. And what you’re going through in your home is your children knowing, number one, if you won’t beat me, which most parents won’t, and you won’t put me in a closet, which most parents won’t, you got nothing. As soon as parents understand that, then you get a test of real love. Do really love them? If you do, you’re going to try to get ahead of them. It’s a discussion with your family. How do we keep him out of the refrigerator? How do we keep him out of on top of — how did he even get on top of that cabinet? We have to watch him. You have to be more vigilant, dad. You got to watch him every second. No going to the fridge for a soda, because he’ll leave. He’ll crank the car up and take off. That deep respect and all that good stuff that happens with the terrible twos build a wonderful force. I see a lot of kids that don’t have a chance to that. They don’t have independent mobility, so when you give them that little bit of independent mobility, start to see the track in the family dynamics and most parents put two and two together and call you up and, “You created a monster. Please don’t ever stop doing this.”
WADE WINGLER: So tell me a little bit about how the program has grown and changed since its inception and maybe a little bit about how the technology has changed over the years.
COLE GALLOWAY: We made a conscious effort to give this away. So we patent some of the novel things. We have a sit, stand, power walking car that we are prototyping right now that’s about to get some federal funding. That’s a car that at four or five months, you’re sitting down and activating a big switch in front of you. Then in the same platform, the same 4 x 4, we love these little 4 x 4 off-road vehicles because they come in all different sizes.
So you sit them down and get them hooked into independent mobility, and then you require them if it like to. If mom would like to flip a switch in the back of the car, it will transfer the activation so you have to stand up, or you have to be placed in standing position, so it’s a Segway sort of. If you need a little bit of help we can build a bodyweight support system around it with PVC. So stepping on the platform of the 4 x 4 with elevating the driving mechanism up. Then we drop, if you’d like to, if you’re a skilled, we can drop the bottoms out and you Fred Flinstone yourself around.
So in one plastic-based device that starts about $150 come and with about $100-$200 of modifications for the entire system, we can give you a spectrum unit. That’s a really concept breaking thing, because if you sit down and drive something with power, most professionals regards that as a substitute for a power chair. Even if you tell them it’s a toy is a toy. If I have you stand up and drive it, all of a sudden the whole right side of the auditorium that were physical therapist raise their [break in audio] and balance and strengthening. Oh my goodness, if I put a wedge under a child’s foot when they’re setting up, that can stretch their calf muscles. And somebody in the back that’s just woken up or go what the heck is this thing? And then you drop the bottom out and you have the ability to walk without a power assistive walker and then the entire crowd is both smiling and going what in the world you have? Is it a body impairment type of treatment like a gym or treadmill? Is it an activity for locomotion or standing balance? Or is it participation like occupational therapist love where you are out doing it with peers?
So when you’re standing, increasing you balance and strength, while you stretch your heel cords and you’re chasing and paying a game of hide and seek, what is that? That is the tingly moment of the future. And that device is constructed from day one to become obsolete if we can. You sit, you stand, you power walk and you give it up. It peels away like Forrest Gump running down that way. It peels away. That conceptually has a lot of people excited about all new generation of pediatric assistive technology.
How the technology has changed? It’s changed in the mix or mosaic of low tech components. The way it’s changed the most is that through our Facebook site, which we decided very early on to do as an experiment, let’s give everything away. Let’s don’t hold onto the Go Baby Go! trademark even. So if you want to start a Go Baby Go! special interest program in your community, you’re going to get all the help in the world from us. You have a research and development lab that’s behind you 100%.
We started the Facebook and at first the Facebook site was us posting things and helping people out. A year later, we stepped back and now two moms are talking, one in Tokyo, one in Topeka, about how to build their own thing. Tokyo has built a one way, Topeka is getting better at building one way to peer Go Baby Go! Poland such a special program. Go Baby Go! New Zealand is about to do that. Go Baby Go! Salt Lake. We’ve got clinicians all over North America that are building three, four, five of these cars for the clinic, now teaching community folks how to do this.
This is not ours. This is not ours to have. It’s ours to give and learn from. So the technological advancements are now not coming from us. It is coming from dad and grandpa’s and grandmas working with clinicians because they figured out, “You know what, if you do this. If you rip off that big switch in front, keep it under Velcro instead of bolting it down and put it on the back of the child’s headrest, which is by the way a kick board with little mermaid on it, then all of a sudden baby Jane has a reason you keep your head up because that’s where the switch is.”
So I love it because at one level it’s just a toy, at mid-level it’s science and decentralization of medical care, and a serious push to the industry, wait a minute. I don’t get power chairs out until five years old and that the $25,000 piece of equipment. I see these guys building a $200 piece of equipment and getting kids in it at four months. Now the industry is coming around going wait a minute, this might be a real opportunity. So at the beginning it’s fun as a toy. In the middle it’s almost everything from human rights to low-tech to maker fair do-it-yourself to the industry involvement. At the end of the game, it’s still just a toy. It’s still just for fun.
WADE WINGLER: And, Cole, this is a remarkable conversation. I can tell you’re giving a lot to the world and are doing it in a way that’s very meaningful. We’ve got a little less than a minute here. Tell folks if they come see your talk at RESNA, what will they walk away with and how do they contact you?
COLE GALLOWAY: Well, they can contact us easily by going to the Go Baby Go! Facebook to peer that’s just Go Baby Go! and it will take you there. See my mug and a couple of other students out in front of the monster mile here at one of our NASCAR tracks in Dover, Delaware. That’s the easiest way, and getting a hold of me is okay. Going on the Facebook site and interacting with the families will get you better information faster and more usable. You might catch me commenting on something but you’re definitely going to catch about 800-2500 people reading your post. You’re going to help that way.
If you’re at RESNA, if you come to Indianapolis and see us, we’re going to talk about the idea of a microenvironment which is the way we sort of looked at these forms of things that we just described. We also have garments. We love exoskeletons that help kids move their limbs. We love even more garments that have the skeleton inside. So this might be a onesy that’s got a special set of apparatus I underneath it so that you never know the kid is not able to move their arms without this once you get the gist of second once. We also have harness based systems that go in gymnasiums. We just built a harness, a bodyweight support harness system for an ice cream shop. So instead of waiting two years to have vocational rehab, you’re in there as an inpatient serving ice cream. What I love about that is that people look past the person with special needs to just give daddy his ice cream. Nothing can please a person more than having a meaningful job in which you look past my impairment toward the Jimmy’s and the milkshake set of making you. That’s just awesome. You’ll hear all about that. Most of this is giveaway, the garments and the ride on cars will help you build your own, if not I’ll send you all the information and the to go at it.
WADE WINGLER: Excellent. Dr. Cole Galloway is a professor of physical therapy at the University of Delaware, the founder of Go Baby Go, and somebody I hope to get to meet face-to-face in Indianapolis at RESNA the summer. Cole, thank you so much for being with us stay.
COLE GALLOWAY: Thanks a lot, Wade, I really appreciate it.
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. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to EasterSealstech.com. Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.