ATU239 – Advice for Inventors of Assistive Technology Part 2 When can

first_imgShare this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU228 – iOS 9 and Its Impact on People with Disabilities | Luis Perez | Free AT Webinars, Insulin and Blood Sugar Monitoring on Your Smart Phone, Robots and AutismOctober 9, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU188 – Wheel Life & The Bally Foundation, Look at Me app for Autism, Applevis’ Golden Apple Awards, Birdhouse for AutismJanuary 2, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU191 – AT Outcomes Day at ATIA (Roger O Smith & Ben Satterfield), End of Google Glass?, Sneak Preview of ATFAQ show, iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus for People Who Are Visually ImpairedJanuary 23, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update” ——-transcript follows ——JERRY WEISMAN: Hi, this is Jerry Weisman, and I’m the President of Assistive Technology Solutions, and this is your Assistance 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 239 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on December 25 at 2015.Merry Christmas for everybody who’s celebrating Christmas this day!Today we have the conclusion of our interview with Jerry Weisman about advice for inventors of assistive technology. Also, I want to spend just a second thinking some of the people who helped make the show happen. Brian Norton, Nikol Prieto, Mark Stewart, Belva Smith, Laura Medcalf are people who help with content here. Also Easter Seals crossroads, the organization that employs us all and supports us with making this happen. We are very grateful for you. We’re very thankful for our vendors, gets, colleagues, and other people who are assistive technology big thinkers who come on the show and help us with content, the interviews we bring you. But mostly I want to thank you, our audience, for listening. We been doing this for 240 episodes almost and you have succeeded in making us the number one assistive technology news show. And I’m looking forward to being with you guys in 2016 to see what comes.In today’s show, we have an interesting article or story to talk about how long until we can build R2-D2 and C-3PO, the famous robots from Star Wars. Also we’ve got a story about an artificial intelligence research Center out in Silicon Valley. We’ve got an app called Swaha from BridgingApps. And we hope that you’ll check out our website at, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATA Project, or give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124.***So I’m looking at an article here from a blog called The Conversation. The headline reads, “How long until we can build R2-D2 and C-3PO?” Obviously with the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, being out right now, people are talking a lot about Star Wars. But it’s in assuring question that gets well-adjusted in his article. They talk about the fact that R2-D2 and C-3PO, for those who are Star Wars fans, might recall that they are very different robots with very different purposes. R2-D2, the little trashcan sized beeping cobbler been guy is considered an astromech droid, which is basically an android that goes around on starships, piloting and servicing them, so he’s very much a mechanical, fix it, very limited purpose droid. And then if you remember, C-3PO is the taller brassy colored humanoid android, and he is a protocol droid which are used by diplomats and used for cultural encounters. He knows a lot or is programmed to do a lot with languages and etiquette and cultural things to assist the format in making those relations go a little bit better.And one of the points they make is it’s easier in the world of robotics to create those components, to create something that’s very specific but not something that is linguistically sophisticated and multipurpose, the whole integration of all those different things. One of the examples they have in the article is a robot from NASA called Valkyrie. By the way, when I put the link in the show notes, you should watch the video of Valkyrie because it’s a humanoid robot that’s really good at walking and moving around and can balance on one foot and do some sort of ninja-like maneuvers that really show it has the ability to move in a very humanistic way. The article alludes to the fact that it doesn’t know how to talk very well, doesn’t know how to do a lot of broad skills which really goes back to the android versus human argument. We have lots of skills because we are humans and have those kinds of abilities. To pull all that together in a smooth way and functional way where it has multipurpose is in the world of androids, we are still a long way off.Anyway, I’m kind of prognosticating here about the future, but this article gets into it pretty deeply and talks about the different ways androids and robots might be helpful in the future. Obviously my point is when we talk about them as an assistive technology as a tool to help folks with disabilities, those specific tasks are helpful. If you can help somebody who might use a wheelchair with transfers and letting and meal prep and personal grooming and those kinds of things, those are specific tasks. But one that is going to hang out with you and spend the afternoon playing chess and singing you a song and also help you with some of those activities of daily living, we are a ways off from that. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes. Check out this blog post from The Conversation and see if you can answer the question, how long until we can build R2-D2 and C-3PO.***So there is a group of really smart and rich people getting together and creating a thing called open AI, which is an artificial intelligence research Center that’s being funded by silk in the valley investors, people like Elon Musk of Tesla fame, Peter Thiel, Reed Hoffman, and others are putting together commitments for up to $1 billion in long-term funding for this project. It really is getting at the idea of creating artificial intelligence based technology, machines that can think and in some case out think humans. Obviously this is a controversial topic and is a groundbreaking topic that I think is fascinating. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and one of the leaders of this group was quoted as saying, “We discussed what is the best thing we can do to ensure the future is good. We can sit on the sidelines or we can encourage regulatory oversight, or we can participate with the right structure with people who care deeply about developing artificial intelligence in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity.” And that’s important because previously he was quoted as talking about artificial intelligence kind of being the beginning of the end of civilization, or at least the dangers associated with creating machine intelligence it can become aware and turn on the man, is kind of what they are getting at. It’s interesting that he’s taking a different tack with investment in support of this particular project.It’s a long article and comes out of the New York Times and gets into the nitty-gritty about the pros and cons of developing artificial intelligence and how that it can be done in a way that is not that you mental to humanity. They talk about some of the benefits, self-driving cars with artificial intelligence, computers that have the ability to do medical diagnoses or create customized medical interventions for people. They talk about the need for the technology to augment or enhance human life as opposed to replace it. It’s a controversial topic and might also make a good interview subject here at one point. We may have to reach out and do that. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to the New York Times and you can read more about this group who is creating the open AI project to kind of carve out the front edge of artificial intelligence and how it’s applied here in our day and time.On this show before, we’ve talked about robotic exoskeletons and other technology that’s designed to make it a little bit easier for people who are ambulatory or partially ambulatory to get around, these devices that wrap around you and provide support and balance and those kinds of things. From tech briefs, the NASA engineering solutions and design manufacturing newsletter, there’s a new thing called the UPS or unplugged the power suit that I think is a little bit interesting. It’s basically an exoskeleton sort of device that goes around your waist and has some pipes that support and transmit a knee brace and a foot pump. Basically it works like this: when your foot moves up and down, it seems to drive a pump that sends energy through a thing called a pneumatic gel muscle, which is an interesting actuator that has some interesting drive mechanisms that connect through pipes and the pump. It’s up to me based in the article I’m reading that it doesn’t require any electronics or external power source. The pump movement in the foot drives this PGM, pneumatic gel muscle, which provides the movement. Interesting kind of concept that something that doesn’t have electronics or external power source will be able to rely on human motion to drive this pneumatic gel muscle that then provide support to the person who’s getting around. You really need to look at the picture and read the article to get the full impact of it, so I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to NASA tech briefs and you can see the picture and article that talks all about this. It’s pretty cool stuff, this unplug power suit.Each week, one of our partners totaled happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an app worth mentioning.AMY BARRY: This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps, and this is an app worth mentioning. Today’s app is called Swaha. Swaha is an awesome talking photo album for users of all ages and abilities. The social and educational uses are endless with Swaha. Users upload photos to the app and then record personalized captions. We see many uses for this app with many types of users including early learners, those with traumatic brain injuries, dementia, post stroke, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, those who cannot read, and many others. BridgingApps trialed this app with two different users in an interesting way. We trialed it with a 12-year-old boy with Down syndrome and a 72-year-old man with dementia who is currently living in a rehabilitation facility for a recent injury. After having watched a four minute video created by the developer on how to use Swaha, we installed Swaha on both an iPhone and iPad. We created a username and password which was simple to do. With the 12-year-old board, we wanted to create a quick thank you story for his grandfather for a recent gift that he had received. Tapping on the plus sign, the app accessed our camera roll where he tapped on four pictures that we had taken of him with his gift which was a new book. Then we hit the arrow at the top, taking us to the record screen with the microphone. We really like that there is a simple count on future prompting the user when the recording will start, which is a great assist for someone who has processing difficulty. The boys saw the first of the four pictures and he began to describe what was in the picture. And then he stopped to the next picture and described each of the pictures before hitting the checkmark in confirming that he was finished with his recording. We also like that it gives you the option to start over if you make a mistake or would like to re-record from the beginning. Once finished, we gave the story a title and had the option of setting the story to public or private before hitting save. From this screen, there’s a share button allowing users to share the story via many plant from the cleaning Facebook, Twitter, email or text. The 72-year-old who uses basic functions on an iPad was then able to open email and simply click on the link that was set by his 12-year-old grandson. He launched the narrated slideshow story. The app does not require a recipient to create an account to watch the story, lowering the cognitive requirements to use the app. The grandfather was delighted that he could now keep up with the life of his grandson in a very visual and meaningful way since it is difficult for both of them to speak by telephone. Also important is that he can do this task independently without help from a caregiver. Such interaction has given him a great emotional boost in his daily life that previously was not possible. BridgingApps highly recommends the Swaha app. It’s free in the iTunes Store and is compatible with iOS devices. For more information on this app and others like it, visit WINGLER: And today we are doing something a little bit different. We welcome you back to part two of advice for users and inventors of assistive technology solutions. I had a conversation with Jerry Wiseman who is kind of the person who created this idea and we had such a good time that we decided to take his interview instructed into two parts of our show. We hope that you enjoyed the first part of this interview last week when we had part one. If you haven’t checked that out, rewind, go back and check out part one of the interview. It will make a lot more sense with part two. Next week we get back to our regular format and we hope you enjoy this two-part episode of advice for users of it inventors of assistive technology with Jerry Wiseman.I’m going to ask you a really simple question. The next time someone walks into my office and says I had this great idea for this thing is going to make me $1 million or whatever, I was I want to create an assistive technology and share it with the world. What am I supposed to tell them? What advice would you give them?JERRY WEISMAN: You congratulate them for their passion and for the great idea and not discourage them about what it is they are doing and what it is they want. There are any number of examples of devices that started out as assistive technology that became consumer products that did make people a lot of money. It goes way back to the typewriter. The typewriter was originally developed for someone who is blind to communicate. It goes back to the Kurzweil reading machine that was meant for people who were blind that now, if you buy a scanner, you have OCR, optical character recognition, and all came from that reading machine. There’s all kinds of devices like that. There’s that path and then there’s the path that there are actual AT devices that have a market that you can start a business and make money doing it and being able to distribute it. The so that’s really the first question, is to ask that person to be objective about how many people really will need this thing. That’s the trick in this marketplace. They always start off by saying there are 60 million people with disabilities in the United States, well that’s true, but they are all different. They don’t all need the same assistive technology device so you can’t really start there with the size of the market. You really need to look very closely at what the true market for that product is and decide if Kai no matter how great the device is in the matter how wonderful it is and the matter how well it works for that perhaps one person it was originally designed for, the question is how many more people could use it. That’s the first question and answers the need. Yet understand there’s a difference between need and market. There may be a lot of people who need this thing, but then how many people can actually afford to buy it? Can you get a Medicaid number for it? So once you decide how many people need it, the next thing is figure out how many people would potentially buy it. And that’s the market. And just ask yourself, if I’m going to sell 10 of these a year, is that enough to support my lifestyle? If it is, that’s great. If you’re only going to sell 10, they may be very expensive. Generally speaking, you can’t make millions of anything in assistive technology because there are millions of people who will use them generally. There are devices customized. This individual needs for people that have different functions and limitations. Things need to change. I think once you enter those real hard questions about the markets, the need, and so on, then you can go on from there with the realization that it’s going to cost a lot of money to put something on the market. There have been some rules of thumb’s in estimates and stuff. Some people say takes about a half million dollars to put a product on the market. You have to be ready for that.WADE WINGLER: Jerry, a year or two down the road or a few years down the road, maybe you and I bump into each other at a RESNA conference or we see each other and are bragging about the fact that this AT solutions project really took off and did well. What are we going to brag about that day? What does success look like for the project?JERRY WEISMAN: There are a couple of things that would identify success. First thing and probably the most important thing is to have a robust community of people interested in assistive technology, people who are users, people who are designers, people who are fabricators, people who are simply interested in AT. Sharing information, sharing engineering information, sharing experiences with how they fabricated the devices, sharing information about what they want to sell in the shop and the marketplace on the website, that kind of thing. The more people have, the more active the website and forums are, the better it is and the more successful the whole thing will be. There is no limit to the number of people we can have given the resources, given sufficient resources, but the more people that share, the better. Another part of success would be sustainability. If we can make enough money from the shop, from donations, from grants, so on, if we can sustain this thing over a long period of time, that’s successful. Of course the primary reason for this is to have more people with disabilities or functional limitations have access to more assistive technology devices. There are so many great devices around, and our estimate is that of all the devices, perhaps 95 percent of the devices that have ever been developed and used by people will never see a true market. You won’t be able to buy them from the marketplace. You will be able to go to a store or website or by them. That leaves five percent that you can buy. But so many of these devices in the 95 percent are so useful and so helpful to people, it would be nice to have them available to them. If we can increase the availability of these devices to people with disabilities, I think that the real success.WADE WINGLER: I couldn’t agree more. I want to throw you a curveball question here. As I was looking around the website, I saw a lot of stuff related to 3-D printing. I saw some solutions that involve 3-D printing. Can you tell me, do see that as one of the emerging growth areas for this kind of assistive technology, or are there other technologies that are really changing the way small production AT is being done?JERRY WEISMAN: 3-D printing stuff, the most recent 3-D printing solutions on the website have come from a fellow who I had been working with recently on assistive technology solutions. What we see is there is a democratization of manufacturing techniques. It used to be where if you wanted to manufacture something, in the not too distant past, so much of it was manufactured in China — still is – but if you call the manufacturer in China and wanted to manufacture something, the first question they would ask you is how many do you want. If you weren’t talking seven figures, they basically hung up on you. Like we talked about before, there aren’t millions of assistive technology devices around because the market isn’t that big. So with the new forms of manufacturing like 3-D printing, CNC machines and so on and so forth, the numbers that you need in order to make things profitable are way less. You can make things went off and still make money, especially with something like 3-D printing. 3-D printing has advanced so far in the last couple of years, used to be some simple plastic thing you can make that you put on a shelf and now you can 3-D print in almost any kind of material. I’ve seen it in wood. I’ve seen it in titanium. The materials that you can use in 3-D printing are unbelievable. If you have the information, if you have the files that people will share with you, that’s all you need, and then you need the machine. You don’t have to have your own machine. I don’t know if they’ve apps truly implement and adjust couple companies like Staples and UPS will have 30 printers that you can go, and just like you print the document you be able to print an object. As long as you have the files, you can print an object and pay for that one object. This whole wave of the future in terms of manufacturing only feeds into this whole idea of sharing the engineering information. Of course it goes against the whole idea of intellectual property and patenting something and owning the IP and then making millions of dollars on that IP. That’s great as long as there’s a market for it. Owning a patent doesn’t make you any money. Selling it is what makes you money. If you can’t sell it for whatever reason, you can’t make money. While patents are great for most things, owning IP, if there is a true market out there, that’s the way to go. In the future, what we will see is different ways of creating products and selling the products. We see that all the time on the Internet with things like constructive pills and at sea and so on. So there is a democratization of that’s going on. I think that assistive technology devices are the perfect for doing that kind of thing and taking advantage of those advances in manufacturing and fabrication.WADE WINGLER: Jerry, we certainly live in an exciting time in the field of assistive technology. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you’re getting this dream project of yours on the ground because it’s clearly something is needed. I hope some of the listeners of our show find a way to take their ideas and make them live beyond just the idea to be used by other folks. If people want to get involved, with the website again and how do they reach out?JERRY WEISMAN: You can join the website, register on the website for free. All you need is a name and email address. You can fill out the rest of the information if you would like. You can participate in the ideas section if you have an idea for an AT device that somebody else might pick up on and design and fabricate. You can post an idea. If you already have a device that you would like to share with other people, you can post that solution. We have students that have posted from their capstone courses, engineering capstone courses and so on. You can post that solution’s step-by-step instructions. You can post links to a video. You can post photos and so on. If you have a device that you actually are making and want to sell, you can post that as well. The process for doing that is a bit complicated, but basically it’s just an email to me and we’ll get that up there. Just join the community and participate in the community.WADE WINGLER: Jerry Weisman is the founder and president of assistive technology solutions over at Jerry, thank you so much for being with us.JERRY WEISMAN: Thank you, Wade. Thanks for the opportunity.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 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. Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour 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:Jerry Weisman president of ATSolutions.orgThanks to: Brian Norton, Nikol Prieto, Mark Stewart, Belva Smith, Laura Medcalf, Easter Seals Crossroads, our vendors, guests, and colleagues, and YOU our audience for making us the leading AT news show. I’m looking forward to what comes in 2016.How long until we can build R2-D2 and C-3PO? Research Center Is Founded by Silicon Valley Investors Equipment Supports Human Motion – Nasa Tech Briefs :: NASA Tech Briefs Swaha——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook:

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