People with Disabilities

The DEKA Arm System is the first prosthetic arm that performs multiple, simultaneous powered movements controlled by signals from Electromyogram (E.M.G.) electrodes. The E.M.G. electrodes detect electrical activity from contracting muscles near the attachment area of the prostheses.   The electrodes then send those signals to a processor in the prosthesis that in turn translates them to movement or movements.

The arm can convert the signals in up to 10 powered movements and weighs as much as an adult arm. It can be configured for people with limb loss occurring at the shoulder joint, mid-upper arm, or mid-lower arm.

Vocal ID logo

I am non-verbal, and one of the reasons that I haven’t been fond of voice synthesizers is that the synthesized voice never sounds like mine.  Yes, although I cannot verbalize, I still can vocalize.  Just ask my IA colleagues when I grunt to signal affirmative responses during our Skype conferences.  My words spoken by a computerized voice, no matter how feminine it is, sounds disembodied.  Moreover, the same synthesized voice may be shared with many of the 2.5 million people in America who cannot talk.

Logo Ola Mundo

Ola Mundo is a project established in early 2012 in Israel by parents of children with special needs aimed to meet a need that had been very challenging to them until then - effective communication with their children. The OlaMundo Messenger application allows children and adolescents who have verbal communication difficulties to communicate with their family members, friends and therapists using symbols and communication boards even when these people are not around them.

Google Glass wearers will now be able to receive notification for an approaching train or bus, see information about the route and track the location of public transit vehicles in real time on Utah’s public transit system. As a way to offer mobile services to its growing population of users in Utah’s vast development community, the state decided to test the capabilities of the new wearable technology.

In addition to the convenience to the average user, accessibility consultants are excited by the potential freedom and independence this type of technology could offer people with disabilities. 

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Co-workers can start to become a bit like family. As we become familiar with them it is their personality, humor, kindness and daily contributions to the business that stand out to us… that we count on. The big things that make them unique to the world can fade into the background. It’s not that we forget about those bigger things, but more that those things quiet for us in favor of the daily traits of that individual. More plainly stated: we get to know them.

The Indian Federation of United Nations Association (IFUNA) in association with Friends of Differently Abled (FODA) recently launched an employment website for people with disabilities. The website will link employers and persons with disabilities who can register with the site and upload the pertinent information. Those who upload their details can get help at Dr. MGR Janaki School in Saligramam on Saturdays from 4pm to 8pm.

Employees from Microsoft created a new scholarship encouraging more high school seniors who are living with a disability to enroll in college and realize the impact technology can have on the world, and explore careers in technology.

A grassroots effort, The Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship was begun by Microsoft’s internal Cross Disability Employee Resource Group. Every year a panel of Microsoft volunteers will select high school seniors with vision, hearing, cognitive, mobility or speech disabilities to receive individually $5,000 scholarships for study at four-year or two-year universities, colleges or technical colleges.   

For more information email the DisAbility Fund or visit the Microsoft’s DisAbility Scholarship website.

A joint project of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences and its Faculty of Electronics and Computer Sciences aims to use robots to improve the diagnosis and assessment of Children with Autism. Up until now the process has been highly complex and subjective.

“For children with autism, the robot is a stimulus that is very simple and always the same,” explains researcher Jasmina Stosic. “Its eyes are always in the same place. Its mouth is always in the same place. People are rather complicated for such children because when we talk we make various gestures. And one day we’ll wear a red t-shirt and the next day, a blue one. The robot is one constant stimulus, and the children don’t need to think about so much different information and instead can concentrate on the essence.”

Read more about Robots Diagnosing Autism.

Microsoft has announced their Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship. The $5,000 scholarship is designed to empower and enable high school students with disabilities:

  • Go to college
  • Recognize the impact of technology
  • Seek careers in technology

The overarching goal of the scholarship is to increase enrolment in higher education and, ultimately, help decrease the unemployment bias for people with disabilities.

All candidates must be high school students who are living with a disability and plan to attend a two or four year university or college program. Further, they must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA and have declared a major from the approved list in the scholarship guidelines on the application.  

For more information on applying for the scholarship see the Scholarship Description on Microsoft’s site.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) just released a new study on health-care transition and employment. Because an individual’s ability to manage their health is critical to going to school, learning, and transitioning into employment, ODEP commissioned this study in 2012 to better understand the relationship between disability (including chronic health conditions); health and wellness; and transition and employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. Moreover, the study examined the role health-care providers play in establishing employment expectation.

Read the full policy brief on Health-Care Transition and Employment

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