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Google Glass For People With Disabilities: Indiegogo Campaign Aims To Modify Device To Improve Lives Of Disabled Users

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 Google Glass for People With Disabilities is an Indiegogo campaign aiming to modify the wearable device in order to improve the lives of disabled users. While Google Glass was designed for a mainstream market, many of its features are proving wildly advantageous for individuals with various disabilities, ranging from vision impairment to paraplegia. The project creator,Andy Lin, is a technology specialist at a center for applied rehabilitation technology. He hopes to use the funds to purchase an Explorer headset and further research how to alter Glass for the disabled population.

Using Google Glass as a tool to improve the lives of those with disabilities is not a novel notion. In fact, Google spotlights Glass Explorer Alex Blaszczuk, who was paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident. Blaszczuk shares her experiences with the wearable camera and how it allowed her to take part in activities she hadn't been able to since her accident, including camping and photography. Several Google Glass features can be expanded on to help people with disabilities.

Voice Activated Commands

Google Glass voice activated commands are incredibly beneficial to people with disabilities. The hands-free form factor allows paraplegics to easily stay connected without using their hands. By simply speaking to the headset ("Ok Glass..."), they can take part in a variety of online activities, like sending messages, checking messages, recording video, getting directions, taking photos, making phone calls, etc.

"I could cite academic papers for you, but Larry says it best, 'With Glass, we are reducing the time between intention and action,'" wearable tech pioneerThad Starner says. "Glass keeps you in the flow of what you're doing, and for people with disabilities, that's even more vital. Suddenly someone isolated at home is more fluent with (text) messages than their friends with a mobile phone. It really can change lives."

Environmental & Facial Recognition

The facial recognition technology for devices like Google Glass is here, but privacy concerns have caused many to be weary of such applications. However, for individuals with vision impairment, environmental and facial recognition capabilities using Google Glass could radically improve their lifestyles. This software can help alert wearers of their surroundings as well as identify people. It's a non-invasive solution to blindness that can aid all parties involved.

"Glass will be revolutionary for the disabled," says Rosalind Picard, founder of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT's Media Lab. "With facial analytics, it's possible to, with the subject's approval, have Glass scan a face and put up a green light if the person is intrigued, yellow if they're confused or red if they're bored."

Wink To Take a Photograph

One of the latest Google Glass upgrades allows users to wink to take photos. For people with disabilities, such as paraplegia, this can bring back the joys of photography, videography and the like. All in all, the hands-free form factor and revolutionary software capable of integrating with Glass can fundamentallyimprove the lives of wearers - people with disabilities, who have vision impairment or can't use their hands, can now experience the world in ways they couldn't before.

"I'm a little frustrated with (Glass), not because it's something I can't use, but because with trivial modifications I would use it all the time," says Sina Bahram, founder of disability-focused Prime Access Consulting in Cary, N.C., and a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at North Carolina State University. "It's not pie in the sky. For me, Glass could be an amazing conduit to the outside world."

The Google Glass for People with Disabilities Indiegogo campaign is seeking to raise funds in order to bridge these gaps and tweak Glass to perfection so that all individuals can reap its benefits. The project currently has four days left, with $1,575 raised of it's $1,650 goal.


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