Assistive Technology Trends

Stephen Hawking said "the future is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities." But what are those possibilities, you ask? Well, as technology becomes more ubiquitous and readily available for everyone to purchase, Kirk Behnke explores some of the current and future general technology application trends that could be considered assistive technology. (Get the PowerPoint slides in the Download Here box)


- [Woman] All right hello, good afternoon everyone. Hope your Thursday is going well. Thank you for joining us today for our webinar Assistive Technology Trends with Kirk Behnke. So before we get started, we're gonna give a short introduction to our guest speaker today. Kirk Behnke is an assistive technology professional, who delivers professional development and technical assistance and cultivates learning opportunities for accessibility and universal design for learning within the US, Middle East, Europe, and Indonesia. He's developed the ATACP program at CSUN, which has been adopted by the College of Dublin in Ireland, has worked with CAST as the director of technical assistance among many other things. We're very glad to have him here and all of you as well. So at this time, I want to pass it over to Kirk so he can get started. Again, thank you everybody.

- [Kirk] Great, thank you. Thanks everybody for showing up today, Thursday afternoon. Hopefully you're keeping warm, wherever you may be. I know I'm on the East Coast, and it seems like we are just, the weather, it just continues to be cold. And I'm certainly looking forward to the spring coming fairly shortly. But that's still yet to has been seen. So we'll see how that goes. Anyway, but thank you very much for the introduction. Yeah, my name is Kirk, and I've done a number of things in the area of assistive technology, which of course, is technology for persons with disabilities. And over the years, I have done some of the assistive technology trends trainings in some of the major conferences at HEIA and Closing the Gap, as well as the CSUN conference. But I thought it would be interesting to do one just recently just because of all of the new, more universally-designed technologies that are really coming out on the market right now. So this is my contact information.

This is what I've done in the past, just so you have a good idea of who I am and what I do. So I am a real practitioner in the area of assistive technology. I've also been in higher education, as well as K through 12, and I also have my own business right now. But I have been also doing some things overseas in the Middle East, Singapore, and that has been really rewarding for me, just to see different cultures that are actually embracing different types of technologies now because they're so readily available, and so it's real interesting for me to do this type of workshop today. So our overview was you know, that the late Stephen Hawking said, "the future is indefinite "and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities."

You know, and what better way to really set the tone of today's meeting is really looking at all of the possibilities that technology can afford people who happen to have disabilities, and also just for people who might have struggling, different abilities in different areas. But for youth with disabilities, the possibilities are just really unfathomable when it comes to technology and how we can integrate it into our students' or children's lives. So what we're gonna do is discuss basically some current and future technology trends. We're gonna look at a few computer wearables, some digital assistants, which are the infamous smart speakers, you know.

And then we're gonna probably touch a little bit on the, I hope to, on the worlds of virtual and augmented reality as we move forward. I do have to say that, I have to give a lot of credit to Mike Marotta at Inclusive Technology Solutions. He was my business partner at one point in time, and so we have developed this over the years of the technology trend, but he also has contributed a lot to this presentation. And also, just to give you a heads up, at Closing the Gap, this year, Mike and I are gonna be giving a pre-conference just on, it's called The Future of Technology, so it's gonna be a whole-day pre-conference at Closing the Gap conference, which will happen in late September of this year, near Minneapolis.

For the agenda we want to look at today is some key issues in teaching and learning, and this is from an article from Educause 'cause I think it's really important to sort of set the tone of where we want to go when we're talking about technology in the future. I also need to bring in sort of this Internet of Things or IoT, and that might be new to some of you, but it's basically the connections of how we look at and deal with communities and how we can be available and affordable to be connected at all levels. I also want to talk a little bit about accessible technologies.

I think that's really important because I think that is a current trend that, in the area of assistive technology, that we all need to not only be aware of, but also embrace and embrace many of the embedded features that already exist in technologies today that are accessible. And then we're gonna talk a little bit about wearables, and then also talk about digital assistants, smart speakers. Oh, and I didn't put there, but then the last thing is on virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed realities. All right, so first things first. Let's talk about these key issues in teaching and learning, and this is from Educause, and this was a recent article from them in January of 2008. And the graphic picture, the infographic, sorry, basically talks about 15 of the key issues in this area.

What I'd like to do is really look at how these areas just are so important. You know, not only the area of number two, which is of course accessibility and universal design, but look at some of the other areas as well. Looking at academic transformation, you know, how can we look at better, having teaching and learning models be more innovative? And how can we partner our teaching and instruction that would be infused into campuses, but also look at social justice issues and diversity in socioeconomic information? I think that's number one on the list for the key issues in teaching and learning, and I think it's imperative. But of course, number two, we're really gonna talk about accessibility and universal design. So I gave you three resources here, on the PowerPoint to go and look at three places about igniting universal design mindset on a campus, and that could be either a higher ed campus or a K through 12 setting.

But looking at how universal design really plays a key part in engaging your students in not only technologies but also how can that universal design features that we see every day of, you know, closed captioning, and expanding that to even audio description of videos? Or how can we provide multiple means of engagement, multiple means of action and expression and multiple means of representation of materials for our students and individuals? The second part within accessibility and universal design is looking at that whole Section 508 refresh, and really what does it mean for higher education?

So looking at the higher education, and what are they doing to address some of these key issues in Section 508, which is the refresh of that, really looking at how we can build in and make available accessibility content, whether it be in a learning management system or even just in a website, and making sure, ensuring that accessibility features are built in. And then third one, which I think is really interesting, it's called elegant design imperative, where elegant design is basically looking at how can you build in really universal design, into your teaching and learning issues, whether that be online course curriculum, or whether that be face-to-face instruction, or even if that centers for inviting kids to have choice or options within their curriculum to gain access to that.

And I know that's a huge trend right now, is looking at how can school districts and universities not only incorporate the principles of universal design and the universal design for learning, as well as personalized learning, you'll hear many of these key terms, and how can they not only incorporate that, but how can they support that and implement it within, you know, within their own communities? So we're doing a lot of work in that area, and there's some model higher educational settings as well as K through 12 settings that are actually doing a really nice job in incorporation, incorporating that, the UD and the elegant design principles and ensuring that accessibility is not only built for persons with disabilities, but really as a matter of looking at how we can better address marginalized students and students who struggle in various areas.

And you could read the other ones about faculty development, digital information literacy. There's one on instructional design of course, which goes back to, you know, that whole principle of making sure that we have good skills and competencies in designing pieces. Not all teachers are good designers. They can follow the strategies that are in there, but sometimes the design is left. So I just wanted to pull in that article here, just to show you that we do have many different types of things to support what we're gonna be saying later on in this webinar. So let's talk about the Internet of Things, or IoT.

IoT is basically the interconnection, via the internet, of different types of computing devices that are embedded in everyday objects, you know, enabling them to send and receive data. So let's say for a really quick example is just your Bluetooth on your phone that automatically picks up in your car, as long as you, you know, set it up for that, picks it up in your car so that your phone is now a part of your car, so then you don't have to actually pick up your phone, that you can, you know, answer the phone and speak into it via your vehicle. So that is basically going from computing device to computing device, so it's really a network of physical objects or devices, vehicles, buildings, and even environmental pieces that are embedded with electronics or software. Also could be sensors.

Network connectivity, that would enable these objects to collect that information and then also exchange that information. So the Internet of Things is very interesting. Larry Dingan, sorry, is editor-in-chief of ZD Net, and he talked in January, gave a little, brief information about the Internet of Things. And his main points were really from a business, of course, a business point of view, and looking at that. But his main points are really that there's sensors everywhere. There's tons of different types of sensors that are built into clothing and wearables, and we'll talk a little bit about that. From your phones and also that security, right, of having security, so that when you go through a building, all of a sudden, you know, you're not tagged or whatever, saying oh, "Here I am from the IRS service," or something like that.

So there's sensors everywhere, and it's a matter of managing that data, you know, what's important, and what's not important. So with all of this information and exchange and all this data being collected, where is that data being, you know, produced? And of course, you all know and read in the newspapers or heard on the TVs, about the whole Facebook, you know, security breach, and that, and this is, you know, huge. This is a big thing about security and privatization and being secure about your information and who you share that with, so it's really about a change of business practices, of what you're gonna do with all that data that you collect, and is that data gonna be practical in your application, and what types of data do you really want, and what do you want to do, how would you act upon that data?

What I like to do is kind of bring it down to the level of this webinar and really look at some practical applications. So some of the practical applications that I've seen around this whole Internet of Things ideology is first of all, one, and this is a picture on the right-hand side of telepresence and robotics in education. And VGo and Kubi are big-name players in the field around robots, especially in educational settings. And my story that I want to talk to you about is where this one little girl, who was at home because of an illness, she couldn't come to school. So they had this pilot project that we wanted to do and ensure that she had an option to gain access to the classroom.

So there was, and this could be really applicable to any kid with a variety of short or long-term needs who are unable to attend the regular classroom, but they could benefit from a virtual presence in the room. And so they used these, you know, robots, that were controlled by the student at home, and the robot when from class to class, and some robots were actually dressed up, as this one, you can see has a tutu on and then some type of bodice dress on there, so they dress it up to make it more personable. It's a matter of ensuring that there's some personality to this, and that it's not just a, you know, a robot that's attending class, that it's an actual kid listening and contributing to the class.

What we found out though, with this type of program is that it's imperative, with any type of technology that you embed within a school system, is that it must be supported. And it's got to be supported not only by the teacher, but it's got to be supported by the kids. It's got to be supported by the hall monitors. It has to be supported by the lunch ladies or the lunch aides. It has to be supported by administration and leadership. So it's not just having a robot roam your halls. It's really a matter of including that into the community at large. Now the kids really generally liked it because, well, one reason why they liked it was many of these students were also in school before so they already had friends, face-to-face, and so this was a great way for them to keep being social with them.

But then there's also some kids who never had a chance to meet face-to-face with some of these kids, and so that was kind of a bummer to see that that was a real big drawback because no personal connections were made with the kids. It was really hard for them to, frankly on a personal level, it was awkward. And one student actually opted out of the program and returned the robot because she didn't like the attention that it created, you know. Some of the things that, kids were, you know, calling her names and things like that, and you know, defacing the robot because some older kids thought it was cool, blah blah blah, so it was just, you know, it's not always been as successful, but I think there's a lot of potential in having virtual presence in classrooms. It might not be a robot. It could be a stand-alone thing or Google Hangout or something of that nature, but the technology is already there.

So the other thing that I want to talk to you about too is something called VITALS, which is Vulnerable Individuals Technology Assisted Location, and it's an app, and I gave you the URL there, And basically what it is, it's helping individuals and family living with disabilities so that, what happens is that the person with a disability will have what they call a beacon, you know, or a pod of some sort that they wear, or have on their phone that they can then share information to any type of first responders or law enforcement to help them with communication. So that, if you'll see this profile.

A profile on the phone you'll see is that when the law enforcement or first responder comes up to it, they will detect to see if there's any type of beacon that's there. Then the first responder will receive that beacon and get that information so that they can help with communication with a child who might have autism, or a nonverbal child, or even adult who might have Alzheimer's, et cetera. So there's many types of applications for that. My biggest problem is that it's only available in supported communities. So there's a list of supported communities for this program.

However, and you know, again, it has to be supported within a community. And so that's a bigger issue that I think we have to talk about, and that leads me to the driverless cars. You know, we all heard in the recent news, you know, about the accidents that are happening with driverless cars. And it's a matter of looking at community as a whole, who's going to support this, and who's going to be using the driverless cars, and what are some of the human networking interfaces that are gonna be able to be controlled by driverless cars, and what is the community going to, you know, support?

So as we look at the future of driverless cars, which I really think is gonna come, it's just a matter of time, but the implications for people with disabilities is incredible because, you know, transportation is one of the number one things that people with disabilities have a hard time with getting around. You know, a lot of people with disabilities are not using any Paratransit anymore. They're just going outside and using, Uber or Lyft, and just bypassing this because they can get vital transportation on an as-needed basis without, you know, scheduling, you know, two weeks in advance, et cetera, and it's fairly inexpensive.

So I think that's one of the practical applications around the Internet of Things, and I didn't even mention the Uber apps and the Lyft apps, and the, you know, transportation apps, which I think are, you know, incredible, and has really big implications for people with disabilities. Okay so, next is a video on accessible technologies, which I'm gonna ask our folks at CTD to show. And basically, it's a video of Apple accessibility, and what they're gonna be showing is just different examples of persons using a variety of different types of technologies. But one thing that happened though, is that the closed captioning is not on this video. But I will put in the chat window the closed captioned version, which actually is right here, but I'll put it in the chat window anyway. But please go ahead and show the video, please.

- [Narrator] In a kitchen, we move to an open bedroom door. In the bedroom, Sady Paulson is reflected in a mirror. A caregiver brushes her hair, then helps her into a blouse.

- [Sady] People think that having a disability is a barrier.

- [Narrator] Sady sits at a desk, working with an iMac. She moves her head to operate switches on her headrest.

- [Sady] But that's not the way I see it.

- [Narrator] Now, a young man uses sign language on a FaceTime call.

- [Sady] You can catch up with friends.

- [Narrator] A young woman signs back. Now, a family picnics.

- [Sady] You can capture a moment with your family.

- [Voiceover] One face, small face, focus lot.

- [Narrator] A blind man takes a photo with an iPhone.

- [Sady] And you can start the day bright and early.

- [Narrator] A woman lies in bed using an iPhone app to open motorized curtains and turn on her lights, and she lowers herself into a wheelchair.

- [Sady] You can take a trip to somewhere new.

- [Narrator] A man hikes with friends. Now, a close up of his hearing aid. He stops to select the outdoor setting on his iPhone.

- [Woman] How many miles to the summit?

- [Narrator] A boy read a book on an iPad in class.

- [Sady] You can concentrate on every word of a story.

- [Voiceover] A bird began to sing. Jack opened his eyes.

- [Narrator] An athlete selects outdoor wheelchair workout on her Apple Watch.

- [Sady] You can take the long way home.

- [Narrator] A beach at sunset. The athlete pushes her wheelchair aggressively down a paved path, quickly gaining speed. Then the footage rewinds, revealing that it's being edited in Final Cut Pro.

- [Sady] Or edit a film like this one.

- [Narrator] We zoom out to reveal Sady editing the film. She uses her head to use switch control navigating an onscreen keyboard.

- [Sady] When technology is designed for everyone,

- [Narrator] She drags a clip and plays the film.

- [Sady] it lets anyone do what they love, including me.

- [Narrator] Sady laughs. Then a gray Apple logo appears on a white background. The logo disappears.

- [Kirk] Okay, great. Now hopefully, you all saw that. I see someone asking if the video was supposed to be playing. If you didn't see the video, I did put it in the chat, so you can view it at a different time. Okay great, many people saw it. What I want to do is go back to my presentation. Is my presentation up, I'm sorry. Anyway, the video is also a good example of audio description. So if you heard the, one of the describers in there was talking about, you know, what was happening on the screen. So I think that the audio description is a really great way to see via words what's actually happening on the screen if you happen to be blind or visually impaired.

And the other things is also, just examples of different types of technologies that are available for different people who happen to have these technologies available within their phone or in their, specifically their Apple IOS system. But again, there's many different types of operating systems that are out there that also will support many of these types of accessibility features that are also now considered more accessible technologies. In other words, technologies that can be used without any use of applying any type of different or standalone assistive technology. Okay, great. So that's Apple accessibility. So if you wanted to learn more about that, I gave you the information there. Next, I'd like to talk a little bit about the emerging technology product sales. And the reason why I'm talking about sales is because we know that, in a consumer-responsive system, ecosystem, everything, you know, drives around purchasing in the economy.

So this was an article that was through Kelsey Davis, Manager of Digital Media and Consumer Technology Association in August of last year. And I just pulled out the three ones that I thought were interesting because those are the ones we're gonna talk about today. One is on wearables, you know, looking at the total wearable market is really expected to reach sales of over 48 million units, and that was in 2007, which if course, it exceeded that. And then, it was a 9% increase. And then digital assistant devices, which of course are the smart speakers, you know, the Alexas of the world, where we're looking at voice recognition technologies. And voice recognition of course is fabulous, as we all know, hopefully getting better in the meantime. But we're looking at, that has really just increased, and that was a $1.3 billion revenue generator.

And I read somewhere, and I didn't put it in here, but I'm thinking that one in five households now have some type of voice recognition technology that's built-in there, and to me, that's kind of huge. Because when you start seeing that at least 20% of the population have it, if not more, you're gonna see that as a built-in, embedded technologies that we should probably be taking advantage of as a society. Okay so I'm on wearable tech. All right, we were at Sady, and we talked about emerging technologies, product sales, and basically just about wearables, digital assistant devices, and then virtual reality. And then I'm just gonna do the introduction around wearable technology. So we have many different types of wearables that are out there.

Of course, we have an array of different types of watches that are out there. We have different types of rings that have embedded chips within them. We have different types of Fitbits or strategies to help with exercise and monitoring heart rates and all things of that nature. And we also have different types of skin adhesive or band-aid, bandages, or things that can be applied or adhered to the skin to get, let me just get my PowerPoint back up to share. Okay, all right. I'm just gonna leave it on this one because that one seemed to be up and running right now. So anyway, wearables are really increasing, and it's basically the usefulness of wearables for people with disabilities. And there's many different types of design principles around wearables that we're gonna look at, around content, communication.

How do these, you know, wearable technologies influence maybe not influence our current behavior, but could adjust future behaviors as we move forward. I'm not talking about you know, having, you know, different types of buzzers or whistles or bells, you know, going off when your behavior is bad. That has to be sort of done by teachers and asking when to incorporate different types of behavior interventions and ensuring that the behavior doesn't manifest itself from a trigger that might be going out there. But if you can collect some of the data around that, what are some of the things that could inspire different types of misbehavior, and then ensuring that within that environment, that those triggers are not available.

So really looking at the science behind design of, principles of wearables and how they do that, and what it means. So what does it really mean for individuals with disabilities? You know, it looks like, you know, wearables do not look anything like the Dick Tracy, you know, smartwatch anymore. You know, they're just, it's not it at all. You're really looking at different types of smartwatches that are out there and available on the market today that are gonna be paired with a phone, something that's close, or the new Apple Watch 3, the LTE has cell phone capabilities now.

So you can actually make voice calls from your watch, so you can actually have the Dick Tracy watch, if you want. You know, and looking at how you could use your watch for payment, to track exercise, you know. You could also do some searching through voices, through your own voice, GPS connectivity, looking at how you could use your watch, you know, to help you get around within your environment, how you could access different types of apps through your watches, and basically personalizing this to really meet the individual's needs. If you want to know more about accessibility around Apple Watch, you really need to check out Luis Perez's website and also his YouTube channel. He's a person who happened to have a visual disability, and he uses his Apple Watch consistently, across many different types of environments, but he also talks about Apple Watch accessibility as he perused through that. I don't know what happened, okay.

So then we also have some communication apps that I think are really great to look at. Proloquo2Go, you know, is an app that can be on an iPhone, but then you can also use Proloquo for text, where you can actually put in communication phrases onto your iWatch, on your iWatch, and you can select that from a preset of different phrases. And then what they do is you select those things that are on your watch, and then it's shown upside down so that you can then face your watch to your communication partner, so that they can be read by your partner that you're trying to communicate with. You know, and there's gonna be some different types of phrase builders that can be added, you know, together to get some simple phrases by selecting different categories. But both of these apps are meant for really making requests for other quick conversations that can be continued with more full-featured, you know, with your iPhone app. I also put in the BridgingApps link there too.

BridgingApps is actually part of the Easter Seals of Houston, Texas, and I used to work with them to help develop that program, and they have a wonderful array, a library if you will, of different types of apps that have been basically viewed by different types of clinicians that are out there, and look at that. So that's a really great resource if you're looking for app information. So you can also use your Apple Watch as a single switch. So Proloquo2Go has a case where you can actually change your watch to have, once you hit it once, it can scan an array of different types of choices that you have, and when you hit the watch again, that would act as the switch. So it's really interesting to see some of these wearables that are actually very practical in their application when it comes to communication. Voxer is a, can turn your smartwatch into a walkie-talkie.

So again, looking at how it can use a social media app for networking and using, you know, a voiceover to record messages directly or play messages on a smartphone. You also have a camera controller that you can use with smartwatches. I know my son uses his iWatch to get group pictures at holidays or whatever, and he sets up the camera, on his iPhone, and he takes the picture using his watch. Total Spent, S2 is one of those apps that you can put on your watch that keeps track of money that you spent for the day, and where you can set it up for the day, a couple days, or a week.

You can also use My Notes in Gear, which is, can manage to-do lists, checklists, notes, reminders, set up notifications, things like that, that you can actually use your watch for, as opposed to a larger device that's just your phone and/or your tablet. Okay. Fitbit really is a wearable. And Fitbit has done a lot more than just counting steps anymore, and this is the newest one, which is the Fitbit Blaze. It has a few of the smart functions that you can sync to your phone, such as receiving texts, just receiving texts, not sending them, shows incoming phone calls so that you know that you need to go get your phone. It also has some reminders and notifications piece, but it also has, of course, music playback, so that if you're really into fitness, and you're using just your Fitbit, you can just also have some music playback on your Fitbit.

The DOT Braille Smartwatch is out there. It's about $300. It's a basic wearable that happens to be Brailled. And so some of the features are that it will read text for you that you might have. The text can be either the time, or the text could be a notification, or the text could be looking at how you could have an alarm or notification. It also has a gyroscope in there, so that if you happen to send it out so that you know you're looking at, it'll vibrate with the gyroscope so that it'll have some type of notification for you. Of course, it's hooked up to Bluetooth, and it also has a touch sensor as well. Sorry I'm kind of running through some of these slides. The eye glasses. Google Glass was of course initiated in, you know, April of 2013, and you haven't really heard it for a while, but it's starting to make a comeback because of the interface with the Glass and the glasses, and it's coming back in actually augmented reality, where you're looking at different things on a lens, but through the glass, so that you're looking at, in reality, but it's augmented.

So it has built-in overlays that come across things that might be in your office or on your desktop at school, or in the library. So there's different ways that you can actually access information. If you go through amusement parks and things like that, and you take, you know, or museums, which actually have audio guided tours on that, they're starting to look at not only audio, but also having visuals, so that wherever you look the sensor on the glasses knows which piece of art you're looking at, it'll bring up audio as well as some video to help explain what the art is about, et cetera.

Now this is really great for some of our persons who happen to have different types of sensory disabilities, whether they may be deaf or blind, but they can still feel and hear the full rendition of the museum. This is really crazy. I just ran into this. It's from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and it's called internal verbalization. It's called AlterEgo. And this is one of the students who came up with the idea. Basically, it's interfacing with devices through silent speech. So what happens is that you just think, you know, talk out loud, sorry, talk in your head what you're trying to do. And there's about up to 20 commands.

So on the screen here, I have sort of an array of different choices. So what this person is doing is the array of choices selected at the upper top-hand corner, and he's saying to himself, "Down." And when he says that to himself, the internal verbalization, it will then move down. Of course, it needs a little training, but it's also 92% accurate. So think of the applications that this could do for somebody with high quadriplegia, or somebody who might have difficulty with, you know, communicating, where, as long as they can have internal verbalizations, they can actually access an array, which would then give them access to, you know, the environment, or communication, behavior prompts. So many different types of things that could be really afforded to a variety of individuals.

Okay, in our last 15 minutes, digital assistants and devices. So, I'd love to take a poll, but we don't have time right now, is to really look at how many of you have, you know, different types of digital assistants in your house or a smart speaker. You know, so mostly a lot of people are using Amazon or Alexa, but there's also different types of things that it could be, you know, hooked up with Amazon and Alexa types of things. But what are smart speakers used for? Look at the question. It's almost like, "What did Siri do for you?" Or "Cortana did for you?" Percentage of users who use the device to do the following. The major one is general questions. So looking at 60% just ask general questions about like, how old is, I don't know, Farrah Fawcett. But then the second thing is weather, and then the third thing is streaming music.

So a lot of the popular things are really just general things that are pretty easy. But then when you go down into the list, look at some of these things like timers and alarms, reminders, calendar items, home automation, steaming news, finding local businesses, playing games, all of those are really kind of cool for a lot of our, you know, students or persons with disabilities who have some executive functioning that is really difficult for them. So some of these smart speakers could possibly be very beneficial for some of our students and for some of our folks with a variety of disabilities. I'm hearing somebody speak, I'm sorry.

Okay so here we go with the Amazon Echo. So Echo is a wireless speaker with voice command devices. There's different types of varieties of the Echo. There's the Dot now, which is really small, but there's also some camera echoes that are out there that you can see who's at the front door. I'm sure you've all seen either television commercials on some of the products that are out there, so there's many, many different types of applications that you can do and have Echo and/or some of these smart speakers really work for that. Echo as assistive technology when you're looking at home automation, there's different types of light bulbs that could, you know, be installed very easily and remotely so that you can use your home automation systems to set different types of timers, different types of moods.

Different types of cues that can actually happen within the environment that could help so that when, a purple light when the bell rings and a red light when the fire alarm goes off. So these are really great for somebody who might have a hearing impairment to give them a visual cue of what's actually happening within their environment. You can ask Alexa for the definition of words, which most people, you know, that was the number one thing that people were using, but again, setting timers for breaks or transitioning to other activities, help spell a word, find the meaning of a word, add tasks to a to-do list, help to solve math problems.

Now again, this is all gonna be, with the Echo, it's all gonna be done you know, via audio. So you do kind of want to look at that. And of course the thing that, you know, Amazon really loves is that you can also order from Amazon, and apparently anybody could order from Amazon with the Echoes, as you've heard numerous stories about that. I threw in here a little example of Chris, Chris Hills. He's from Australia, and he has a home that he gave a video tour of. He happens to be a person with a disability himself, but if you wanted to look at this video at another time, I did put the URL here. But he uses, his great quote is, "Great design includes everybody."

- [Woman] Okay go ahead, take your hands out of your pants. What is going on? Is he? Is that why?

- [Woman] Yeah.

- [Kirk] Okay, all right, let's go to the next slide.

- [Todd] I'm sorry about that. I'm trying to get that person on the phone, and I just am not, the system's not letting me do that, apologies.

- [Kirk] Okay, no problem, no problem, just threw me off-guard there. Okay, so let's get to augmented reality and virtual reality. Now, augmented reality or AR differs from virtual reality because virtual reality is really about looking at full, immersive digital world, where you, virtual reality is where you see the full-blown goggles that people wear and, you know, they look kinda funny in some of those commercials 'cause they are, you know, in their own virtual world. But augmented reality, or mixed reality is really looking at how you can have digital aspects over the real world, and I think, to me, that's a huge application for people with disabilities, not only for just mobility, but for environment and getting cues and different types, it may be silent cues or individual cues for behavior, for kids with autism.

And use my example here is that this, Google Glass with this mixed reality is that this girl with autism actually uses her augmented reality to help identify people's emotions through their faces so that they can look at their face and see if they're happy or smiling, and then that would give her the cue, or of a word that says, "Happy." Or if they're crying or whatever, that would hopefully give her, with facial recognition, that would hopefully give her the idea that this person is sad. So that can help with looking at how somebody with autism or somebody who cannot read emotions on a person's face could really help establish that. This is a contact lens that is really looking at, and it's pretty funny, I just have to tell you this. But it's looking at how contact lenses could be used to, have a built-in camera within that, and then you control the sensors by blinking. So that you can basically take your Snapchat or Instagram, and take pictures on that through just the use of your eyes.

Yeah, it sounds pretty out there, but it's also, the other application too is not only for pictures, but it also helps with creating more augmented reality experiences, through, rather than just using the Google aspect, you actually see it on the lens itself. Now, these are, again, just still in, you know, the design phase right now, and I don't think they're actually out on the market. I haven't seen, you know, from this recent research that I have been doing. But it's really looking at taking that Google Glass one step further, and not having glasses on you, but actually having it in a contact lens. Very interesting seeing.

Now, here's another commercially-available product, which is called Spectacles by Snap, and you can go to, where you can actually purchase these Spectacles, and it can record video or pictures to upload to your Snapchat. Yeah, that's how they market it, and so it's marketed to a younger crowd, which is fine. But also think of some of the, and they're $130, but think of some of the applications that could be used for some people who have physical disabilities who might, you know, wearing a pair of sunglasses wouldn't look so crazy, but they're able to, you know, hopefully access video or take videos, and/or take pictures.

Sorry, I just had to throw that in there. And then of course, you know, Daydream, is also a great resource for you to look at some different types of applications around virtual reality. Daydream is just one of these applications, but have used them with social stories and behavior analysis as well as looking at how you can look at behaviors and triggers within the environment for people to identify their behaviors. This is also a slide that Mike had in that's all about cameras and looking at those virtual 360 cameras and where you could place those cameras, and how you can have access to those or record those pieces.

If you've ever been recently on or different types of realtor websites, they now have some 360 views of the house, or the kitchen, or something of that nature. And so that you can actually, you know, virtually be there via these cameras. I did want to show you this one resource that I put together. It's about assistive technology in AR, VR, and mixed reality. Now, it's a Padlet, so you can add to this Padlet. And the Padlet is, the URL is right here, and I'm gonna put that in the chat window for you so that if you wanted to check it out, you're more than welcome. I've put a couple of resources on there, some different types of articles that are on there, but you're more than welcome to add any type of application that you've seen of assistive technology on this, and it'll be available for sharing for as long as Padlet exists.

I also wanted to mention Maker Spaces as another trend that's actually being, really coming into play now, where people are getting their hands on and making assistive technology and low-tech and high-tech, as well as looking at 3D printers. And I think that is really kind of cool, and looking at the cost of 3D printers are so inexpensive, you know, versus some of the technologies that have been out there. But some of the, two resources that I wanted to highlight are and then also, and I was lucky enough to be part of the AT Makers at ATIA, this past conference. ATIA is the Assistive Technology Industry Association. So I'm glad that we're beginning in Sacramento with Maker Spaces. It's really fun, and you learn a lot, and you just have a great time. One more thing is I wanted to just tell you that Mike and I are gonna be doing a pre-conference at the Closing the Gap. It's Embracing the Future: Tech Trends.

So we'll do a whole day of some of these applications of technology trends and assistive technology. Whew okay, sorry, I only have two minutes for questions. Is there any questions that anybody had, and again I apologize for the technical delays that we had on here, but I'm gonna look through some of the chat to see if anybody had any questions. One of the questions was, "Any specific tech for lower-grade level AT assistance "for ASD child with defiant struggles, "control struggles, with sensory issues "and transition changes? "She's mainstream classroom." Yeah, there's plenty of things that I did mention today.

You know, just some of the reminders, again, but looking at whether some of the triggers, that, when she has defiant struggles, like, what are some of the things that are triggering her, and, you know, it sounds like she needs a little bit more with behavior modifications, but again, technology, you know cannot do that. But some of the things that could be for her, some of the ideas that we talked about and some of the wearables. And if not, just give me an email, and maybe we can talk more at length. So, "Can you show the list of speakers again?" Well, this is my information, if you want, and I'm also at I'll put that in the chat window. If you have any questions for me afterwards, you're more than welcome to contact me. And I think I've run out of time.

- [Todd] Kirk, given the, this is Todd from CTD. Given the number of audio and technical issues we've had today, we can go a little late, if you want to keep going with questions for another two to five minutes.

- [Kirk] Sure, I'd be happy to. If anybody has any questions or comments, I'd be happy to. I know I spent a lot of time on different types of issues, but, you know, hopefully I gave you enough application pieces so that you can sort of make those analogies a trend. But again, it's an hour, so sorry about that. "What are the skin adhesives used for?" Great question. They've been using the skin adhesives for the Olympics. A lot of people were training in the Olympics to keep their, to monitor their heart rate, to monitor their breathing patterns. And I know in the, is it the bobsled, what is it, it's the luge.

The luge or the skeleton, either/or, I keep forgetting which is which. But there's a matter of keeping your body relaxed actually is more beneficial for you to run down the track faster. So a lot of the skin pieces, the skin adhesives were used for biofeedback, so that it was hooked up to, sensing in the ear. So I know this sounds crazy because it's about biofeedback, but when you are more tense, the higher the pitch was, and the less tense you were, the lower the pitch was. And so that's how they could regulate not only how they felt but actually how they could actually go down the luge faster. But you can also think about how the biofeedback could really be beneficial for, not only the how relaxed you are, but think about, you know, for people with diabetes and sugar levels, or people with anxiety issues, or somebody who might be having a possibility of narcolepsy, and giving them an opportunity to know that their body is gonna be going to sleep fairly shortly, and it's to give them some type of warning so that they can be, get themselves in a safe place.

So those are what some of the skin adhesives are for, that. They're still on the market right now. You know, I did see, if you look under wearables, and you look under bandages, or skin adhesives, you might want to do this Google search on those and see what some of those sensors can do and what they can be hooked up to. Some of them just store the information, and then you have to download it on a computer. Those are the less expensive ones. The real-time ones are the ones that are Bluetooth connected that get you information. But I can possibly put that on the AR, the Padlet for further resources. But great question. It's real fun, and again, it's changing all the time, you know. I hope that answered your question, Leah B.

- [Todd] Okay folks, I think that's it. Kirk, I want to thank you for being such a pro. It was a super-interesting presentation you gave. I apologize once again everybody, for all the technical issues that we had today. We will be putting this up on the website tomorrow. We want to ask that folks, if you give us feedback, if you click on the link, we super-appreciate it whenever you're able to do that. It's very helpful for us to have the feedback from you. And outside of that, we want to thank you for joining us today, and we look forward to you at future webinars. Thanks again very much, Kirk.

- [Kirk] Thank you, everybody. Have a great weekend, hopefully it's warm where you live.