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Contact Lenses with Zoom Prototype Offers Hope for Elderly
Swiss researchers are developing contact lenses that contain tiny telescopes to boost vision and zoom in and out with the wink of an eye. The new, 1.55 mm-thick contact lens contains an extremely thin, reflective telescope, which is activated by winks. Released in 2013 and fine-tuned since then, the prototype was unveiled by Eric Tremblay from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in California.
From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11402435, February 16, 2015

Microsoft Is Betting That Bluetooth Will Change the Lives of the Visually Impaired
Even with perfect vision, the knot of packed traffic lanes, busy sidewalks, and road works around London's Victoria Station is a hot mess. For people with impaired sight, it must be a navigational and sensory nightmare. Microsoft is looking to solve that problem. Recently, I visited the company's London offices to test out an ambitious new navigation system for the sight-impaired. Still under development, this new system uses Bluetooth beacons to relay navigational information to users wearing headsets. This can both guide users in the right direction and provide them with local information to make their forays outdoors richer. The way it works is ingenious—but before I tried it, I was invited to experience what a busy city feels like for someone with no vision.
From http://www.citylab.com/tech/2015/02/microsoft-betting-bluetooth-change-lives-visually-impaired/385477/, February 14, 2015

DATA – Connecting Lives Through the Cloud
Increasingly, every action in our digital lives has a reaction, and leaves a data trail. But this rising tide of data must be harnessed if the information it reveals is to be of lasting value. New cloud-computing platform OpenStack provides smarter ways to handle ‘big data’. Companies like Chinese tech firm Huawei are using it to revolutionize the digital landscape so our data can be used to improve services and transform lives.
From http://www.bbc.com/future/specials/connected-world/huawei-dataconnectivity, February 12, 2015

USA: Researchers are Working on New Smart Cameras to Help the Visually Impaired
To help make shopping easier for the visually impaired, Jack Carroll—a distinguished professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Penn State—has completed a study that explored how smart cameras could eventually guide visually impaired shoppers to find the items they need. Carroll worked on the study with Mary Beth Rosson, interim dean of the College of IST, as well as graduate student Jake Weidman as part of a $10 million National Science Foundation-funded project that's seeking to replicate the human vision system using information technology (IT).
From http://m.phys.org/news/2015-02-smart-cameras-visually-impaired.html, February 12, 2015

USA: FCC Announced First Meeting Date of the Disability Advisory Committee
By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission announces the first meeting date for, and appointment of members to, the Disability Advisory Committee. The DAC will provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on a wide array of disability matters within the jurisdiction of the Commission and facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in proceedings before the Commission.
From http://www.fcc.gov/document/disability-advisory-committee, February 12, 2015

Canada: New Accessibility Standard for Self-service Kiosks in Air, Ferry and Train Terminals
From December 31, 2016, any newly installed automated self-service kiosks used for such things as check in, printing of boarding passes and baggage tags at Canadian air, ferry and train terminals should be accessible to travelers with disabilities, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that 25% of kiosks are accessible by December 31, 2022. This is the expectation of the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) recently amended Code of Practice: Removing Communication Barriers for Travelers with Disabilities. The standard is harmonized with the new United States Department of Transportation (DOT) rule published late last year, providing greater predictability and consistency across North America for travelers with disabilities.
From http://www.accesstourismnz.org.nz/2015/02/canada-new-accessibility-standard-for-self-service-kiosks-in-air-ferry-and-train-terminals/, February 12, 2015

Australia: 2015 Excellence in eGovernment and ICT Awards
The 2015 Excellence in eGovernment Awards, ICT Professional of the Year Award, and the ICT Young Professional of the Year Award are now open for online nomination. Administered by the Australian Department of Finance, the suite of awards recognises and promotes excellence, innovation, and professionalism in the use of ICT. The Australian Government introduced the ICT Awards Program in 2006 to recognise the most outstanding initiatives in eGovernment and to promote excellence in the use of ICT across all Australian Government agencies (Federal, State & Territory, and Local).
From http://www.spatialsource.com.au/2015/02/10/2015-excellence-in-egovernment-and-ict-awards/, February 12, 2015

Kenya Launches Presidential ICT Program
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday launched the Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP) aimed at empowering university graduates to master the digital technology. Kenyatta said the program that brings together leading lights in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) landscape is expected to mentor, inspire and lead a new wave of digital trailblazers.
From http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/150210/kenya-launches-presidential-ict-program, February 12, 2015

Seven Ways Smartphones Are Saving Lives
The smartphone industry now dwarfs the PC industry with 2bn smartphones purchased every year and in a market that is not yet saturated it spells plenty of room for growth. With newer and more powerful smartphones coming on to the market companies are developing new and exciting ways of utlizing smartphones to provide care, assistance and ultimately save lives.
From http://bionicly.com/7-ways-smartphones-saving-lives/, February 11, 2015

Eight Examples of How Google is Moving Into Digital Health
In July 2014, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin sat down for a rare interview with Vinod Khosla where they discussed, among other things, Google’s involvement in health. When Khosla asked if Google would ever become a healthcare company, both founders were somewhat critical of the current healthcare system’s regulatory hurdles and because of this didn’t envisage becoming a big player in the space. The full interview is below.
From http://bionicly.com/8-examples-google-moving-digital-health/, February 11, 2015

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