NPR Labs was demonstrating their research into allowing those with disabilities to access radio programming and more importantly, emergency information over the airways. Braille information is broadcast over the air and then the electronic brailler will render the braille. They are hopeful that having the diversity of radio program available to younger people will help encourage them to become more fluent at braille at a younger age.
Captioned radio works in a similar way to captioned television with the text information broadcast over the air and received by a specially equipped device for the hearing impaired. To help with emergency alerts that may come in the middle of the night (such as tornado warnings), they can broadcast over the air a signal that will activate a device to shake your bed to make sure you wake up if you are unable to hear a tornado siren or emergency broadcast tone.
Perceptive Pixel was showing their 82″ multi-touch display which offers 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2000:1 contrast ratio and sub-pixel touch precision with fingers, a stylus or even gloved hand. The monitor also comes in 27″ and 55″ resolution. They provide a development platform as well to create interactive applications.
Both are designed for a new type of “music” for those without the ability to hear. They determined since music and sound in general was vibration, why not create music that can be sensed by other vibration senses without using your ears. As a former music major, I really appreciate this approach as music really is a collection of rhythms and tones are really just different frequencies. It was interesting to hear them talk about trying to create different emotions using this new set of tools.
While the Vibrochord emulated a more traditional piano like interface to make this new type of music, the Emoti-Chair used the XBOX Kinect as the interface to control the frequencies sent to the chair.
LogicVision’s Large Print Skins and keyboards for Mac and PC keyboards could help both visually impaired computer users but may have applications in any low light situation. They cost from $35 for the skin to just under $100 for the keyboard.
The LogicLight from LogicKeyboard is a USB powered light to help illuminate your keyboard in low light situations. I thought it might be good for Duke Media Services or Duke’s Theatrical Department who may have to use computers in situations where lighting might not be conducive for computing. Sells for around $20.