Tuesday, 17 October 2017 13:04

Pedro Lopes from MIT has been doing some fantastic work on combining image sensing and providing feedback to the human. Typical VR (Virtual Reality) setup's are problematic because though user can see things they cannot feel it. Pedro is using electrical stimulation to provide feedback as this video shows:

But take that a step further. If you can trigger a muscle then you can certainly make it do your bidding. Now that plotter  is something...since it could make an artist out of us. Or we have a good excuse to say why we did something outside our control.

And if you can "see" the object then you can make it send feedback back to the user. Whether through the pen in the first video or through a 3D location.

Observe how people doing this say "It does not want to be touched" or "it wants me to..." We make things abstract and ascribe behavior to inanimate objects.



Thursday, 12 October 2017 17:03


What is the value of simplicity? Take the Apple store as an example. Not too many places to sit and browse but just simple table in the center and then devices off to the side. Of course there is the glass front which enables everything to be seen.

But imagine creating a medical device that people touch and feel. We were designing our medical device that is a prototype for research into pain and we went with the same principles.

We designed the simple device as you see here. It has only one switch that is not visible and everything else is about function and making it simple. Also just one light that tells you when it is on or off. Do you, the insightful reader see the similarity?

Now software that is a different thing.

Engineers want to build in complicated features that are multifunctional. Wonder how can software be simplified till you can see just the tools that you want and everything else disappears till you want to see it.

Would that work?

Monday, 09 October 2017 14:06


Hospital corridors are boring

Why are hospital corridors boring? The patients could do with a little knowledge while they wait or even some entertainment. Right now, they are just bored – they look at the walls or they would most probably look at the phone. Is that the best thing that they should be doing?

How would someone change the corridors – this is probably not a technology solution as much as it’s an  user-needs collection problem. There is probably not one solution for all corridors – a painting may not be the best thing but then would inspirational words help?

There is an old quote by Emile Coue “Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better” and maybe motivational quotes painted like that would cheer up patients – but in the language of medicine and science – reading such a quote has not been shown to make an improvement either.

Or maybe it is boring because the hospital does not want you to stay too long!

Sunday, 08 October 2017 10:05

Team "Notify" from Usin'Life won the Hackathon Prize4Life and is moving on to the next level for qualification.



The idea was to create a notification system that informs the care-giver or family about two needs - 1. Small needs, like a drink of water and 2.Emergency, like help me breathe.

One  cloudy but warm day in Boston



The hackathon had a lot of people


Including, many people with ALS



Some ideas were complicated.



Usin'Life's Notify team's idea started with drawing on paper.





And created the notification button and camera response system  in less than 24 hours to a functioning prototype that is moving to the next level !



Friday, 06 October 2017 13:56

The Prize4Life foundation is hosting a hackathon and to help people prepare it has written out specifications very clearly.

1. Emergency communication:

  1. Refining the Microsoft GazeSpeak application
  2. Creating a faster way for communicating a few words in emergency situations
  3. Improving the alarm system activating in case of Bipap failure

2. Speech devices:

  1. Building a dual screen speech devices (one for input, one for content)
  2. Creating a method for long-form writing (blogs, documents)

3. Assistive devices:

  1.  Bluetooth enabling operating ADA doors and elevators
  2.  Continuous wearable pulse oximeter
  3.  Accelerometer based switch


This is about as clear as it gets. Great specifications.

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