Disability Tech Click


Disability Tech

A team of reporters with disabilities take on the latest assistive tech, including 3D-printed legs, driverless cars and goggles to improve vision.


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This week, Tech versus disability with supervision, supercars and

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super leg. One of the most amazing things I

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have seen it this year is the work being done to give people with

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disabilities the power of movement, control, and independence. This

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showcased is that there is plenty more going on around the world. This

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weekend marks the International Day of Persons with disabilities. It is

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a day created by the United Nations to promote greater awareness of the

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issues faced by disabled people. Here and click, we were approached

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by a team of reporters and producers that wanted to use this opportunity

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to look at the latest advances in a system of tax. -- assistive tech.

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First, we are going for a drive with a racing driver. This is a 2016

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Corvette Z06. That is Sam Schmidt driving down the last Vegas strip.

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What is incredible is Sam is quadriplegic. Paralysed after a

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racing car accident 15 years ago but now, he is the first American to be

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given a special licence to drive a semiautonomous car on public roads.

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Really, there is no better place to drive than this. The car has been

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specially modified by Arrow that electronics. Using off-the-shelf

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technology, a team has used input techniques to allow Sam to control

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the car. This includes voice commands to activate the gears and

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indicators and a very novel approach to the steering mechanism. For

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steering, we have cameras set up that are on the dash, looking at

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you. There is reflective markers on either your sunglasses or even

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helmet. Both cameras see your movement and UI turning left and

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right and the steering wheel goes accordingly, left and right, all the

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way. Lock to lock. Of what we are doing is calibrating the cameras.

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When they are in calibration, they can measure -- measure the positions

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within a fraction. For the gas and break, there is a tube in your mouth

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and it has a pressure sensor inside. When you blow into it, it gives you

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exhilaration. When you start, it gives you a break. You have to

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unchain your mind because it is used to wandering and looking at rearview

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mirrors and behind you and blind spots. You can't do that in this car

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because if you do, the car turns. While turning Sam's head into a

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joystick is impressive, the technology alone is not enough to

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getting back onto the road. He does need to have a codriver with him at

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all times. Now, when you see him driving, it is easy to forget just

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how difficult his journey he has been. -- here. Rola 17 years ago I

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thought there was no way I would ever tried again. -- 17 years ago. I

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always wanted to race, I won the race in Vegas in 1999 with this car

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and that was the pick of everything. Then three-month later, testing for

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the 2000 season I hit the wall at Orlando, Florida and that's that

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story. -- the peak of everything will stop is racing past made it

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important for Sam to try to adapt to cars so he could actually feel like

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he was driving. Rather than driving a fully autonomous car where he

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takes a passive role. A fully autonomous car is just a bigger,

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faster wheelchair for someone like Samba that is not the same as

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driving. It doesn't represent the freedom of driving. -- someone like

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Sam. More than the sense, the real act of control. It is incredibly

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difficult to describe the feeling when 99% of what you do everyday,

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you need somebody to you with. You know, the first time I drove the

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car, everybody around me was drawn for tears and so was I because

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really, in 14 years at the time, I had not felt that level of

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independence and that level of normalcy because I'm in control. I'm

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making the decisions, I'm pushing on the gas, and pushing on the break,

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and steering the car and there are very few things that had happened

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since the accident that I could say I'm in control. It was important for

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Sam to still feel in control of his car at a fully autonomous vehicles

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could be a huge thing for people who have never been able to drive. Day

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Martin has cerebral palsy and he volunteered to be a test pilot to

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find out whether soft running cars could one day help him to become

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king of the road. We are going to Leicestershire because I'm going to

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be testing a driverless or as they call autonomous car. I want to have

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a go at one of these cars because I'm never going to be able to drive.

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I have no peripheral vision basically, if you put me on the

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road, I'm going to be very dangerous and highly likely to crash into

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people. At the moment, yours lot of public transport to get around.

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Mainly cabs because I find that the bosses aren't very accessible and

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the tube network, you can forget that. It's going to be interesting

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to see how it works because particularly if when I tried it all

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goes a bit wrong. -- the buses. Oh, we are off. So, we are going in a

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straight line which is always promising. Very tight on the brakes,

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obviously. Good in an emergency but not when you are not expecting it.

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This car is being driven into different ways. Either driving

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itself along a pre- grow -- preprogrammed route or by driven by

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a remote engineer in a truck. The fact that the steering wheel sounds

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like a printer that is about to run out of ink, it is not making me feel

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like this would be the safest thing to use on a main road at the moment.

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At the moment, it is doing everything itself and I'm just

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sitting here like a passenger that if you're in London or any city and

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you're doing a normal journey to work and you're in traffic, how

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would it cope with people in a non- autonomous cars? This must be what

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Jeremy Clarkson used to feel like standing next to the stick. You

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know, not in control but just sat in the car. After teething problems,

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things settled down and started to see more of the benefits. As we're

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driving more and more with the car, it settling and it is becoming

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easier to become more comfortable in. I can certainly see the scope

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for it to improve and for it to be able to give us our own independent

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lives and to give people like me the chance to be, you know, fully part

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of society and for our own sense, fully autonomous, pardon the pun.

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Now, prosthetic technology is a very impressive that it can also be very

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expensive. There is one company in Texas that is trained to solve that

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problem using 3-D printing. This technology has already proved useful

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for creating arms but what about the more heavy duty work of weight

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bearing prosthetic legs? Kathleen Hawkins lost both legs below the

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knee at age 18 after contracting meningitis. She recently had a

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fitting for a new pair of 3-D printed leg sockets with some

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interesting results. The world of prosthetics is an exciting place as

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new technology is constantly push the boundaries of what is

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achievable. This can be seen here, Otto Bock. These legs are sent --

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sold for tens of thousands of dollars and are extremely expensive.

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I got to try out some of their feet, including the new challenger. Across

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between a running blade and a walking foot. I am one of the best

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amputees to try to. Before I had my legs agitated, I was done so. I

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started dancing again and the seat feel as though they would give me so

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much movement to dance and so much from -- movement to bounce and take

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greater steps then how I have able to previously. These are top of the

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rage things with prices to match. The knee is estimated to be

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thousands of pounds. This was designed for stall just to go back

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into duty. It has sensor technology. Gyroscopes, Excel ROM letters, in

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the knee. To see what type of terrain is, what speeds. This

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technology is innovative -- accelerometres. Depending on the

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disability of each individual, summit might not have access to this

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individual. They are going to design leg sockets

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using 3-D printers. These 3-D printed sockets are new to me that

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iron dying to find out more. There have been some early moves to make a

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3-D printed leg. --I am dying to find out more. The key element here

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is that it is non- weight-bearing. She doesn't have to walk very far on

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it. Try fusion is developing materials that they hope will be

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strong enough for people to walk around on all day. They are using

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microwaves to heat the new materials and welcome together. To try to

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combat the issue of leakages often seen in 3-D printing. We are using

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materials that are -- work with items. It is one 1000th of the width

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of a human hair. We couple it to the nano materials and the heat up

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rapidly and we can simultaneously dwelled hundreds of these layers

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together and that fuses the part and makes it as strong as if it had been

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injection moulded. -- welded. This factory has a leg sockets that can

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be 3-D printed from scratch under one roof. Everything from creating a

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unique filament to scanning and printing the final design. This is

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unusual, isn't it? A company to have this in-house. A company to make the

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filament in-house as well is printing their own devices, it is

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red. They are missing a crucial element. There is no cross the sets

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on a site. And it hasn't been approved. -- it is rare. I am

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beginning he. So, this is the first time you have scanned for a double

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amputee? Absolutely. --I am that guinea pig. We are proud to have you

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as our first case. Feeling confident? Yeah. I was surprised by

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how fast it was. In just 1.5 minutes, we had detailed scans. I

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remember having my first plaster of Paris cast done when I first came

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out of hospital. I still had necrotic tissue on my limbs because

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I had meningitis so septicaemia. That was really traumatic for me. It

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was a very long process and quite painful. When you have no idea of

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the process as well, it is really hard. This would be a lot simpler

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for people who are having it done for the first time, it could be a

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good entry point. The information is sent to the cloud

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where it can be shared with anyone, anywhere. The first printer

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available for the next morning. Good morning. These were printed. We did

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the scanning yesterday and they were printed overnight and now I am

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holding it. Amazing! I am feeling nervous, but excited to try them.

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But the flaw was too slippy in the factory, so we went to the office

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where it was carpeted. We realised there were problems earlier. We had

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to do a bit of a 'Boxtrolls' to keep them on. -- box job. It is comfy

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open I thought it would leave. The fit is very low to my leg. It

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usually comes right above my knees. It is impressive. Ooh... I think I

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just broke that! I think that might be snapping. I broke it! It was a

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valiant effort, at my takeaway was the importance of having a proper --

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profit person who can fit it involved. It is exciting to get new

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legs anyway, standing on something at putting your body weight into

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it's a scary process. But to see it come from nothing yesterday and

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printed overnight and then put your leg into it, seeing that behind the

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scenes is a real insight. By the age of 19, keen rock climber

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Jeff had noticed a slight shake in his hands. Slowly this condition

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became something known as essential tremor and although he is still able

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to drive and give many day-to-day activities, his fine motor control

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is severely affected. So just to give a silly example, if I wanted to

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touch my nose, it is an involuntary tremor. Or towards my ear. So I

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don't hold the phone to my ear very well without hitting myself, unless

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I use two hands. The more accurate he tries to be, the more violently

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his handshake. Without breaking his hand against his body, touchscreen

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phones, with more icons, I'd definitely not an option. You don't

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want to do that. No. Bluetooth on. I'm filming with him at Google's HQ

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in his -- in Silicon Valley, where he helped to create android voice

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access. This puts the phone into a constant listening mode and also

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allows every setting, app, icon on the screen to be selected by name or

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number, which pops up next to it. Nine. This is a message I'm writing

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to Patrick. Period. 14. That seems to be a proper life changer for you?

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That is a major big deal. The ability to use common apps like text

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messaging, e-mail, those two especially, but even calendar

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appointments, where you need to write stub since is extremely --

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substance, it is extremely helpful. Helpful, yes, but given how voice

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recognition is already on smartphones, and surprised this

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feature wasn't implemented years ago. Google, why not? It was a

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challenge to bring an application to the market that is complete, where

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we can say you will not need to use your hands any more with this

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application, rather than just supporting specific cases, which

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most of the major applications out there already do. But on a mobile

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device we are currently the only ones who can really do complete

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hands-free. Voice control has also proved really useful for those who

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are blind or partially sighted and away from touchscreen phones there

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are plenty of projects under way aiming to help people living with a

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visual impairment to navigate the world, and here are a couple.

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High, my name is Libby. I'm here with my fiance to check out some new

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goggles. Should I do my sexy walk? They are supposed to help people

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like us who have partial sight, enhancing the vision we have left. I

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-- the middle of my vision is very fuzzy. You will operate everything

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using the remote control. As Paralympians, we are both busy

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training, so I am keen to make the most of the free time we have

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together. That so weird! Darren, I am literally right on your face. --

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Dan. It made me feel really intrigued seeing his face close up,

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because obviously I am attracted to him for different reasons other than

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the way he looks. Seeing that aspect to his face was intriguing. I can

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see his eye colour properly and everything. On one level the goggles

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act as a big magnifying glass, but there's a lot more. It makes the

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edges of objects sharper and really brings out the contrast between

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light and shade. Dan was keen to have a go. He also has a form of

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muscular dystrophy. You look dead all on it! He is making me

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self-conscious. Go back to being completely blind. I can see my

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tattoos! That's mad! That's cool. Getting chocolate bars from a

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vending machine isn't something that we I usually able to do. All right,

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do you want me to have a go at telling you? Just a second. Yay! I

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would love to use the goggles because I feel like I would really

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benefit from using them, whereas at the moment they are a bit bulky and

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I don't think they would fit in with me also walking my dog around as

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well. I'm really scared! I am a make-up artist and blogger. I've

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been blind for three years because of a certain condition, which means

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I can only see blurs. I am testing a device which can help people with

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varying degrees of vision, including those have no at all. I usually rely

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on my boyfriend and my lovely guide dog to get me around, so this could

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be really helpful. This is so cool. It will seriously change my life. It

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works by taking an image that you hold up to the camera and it

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remembers it, so the next time you need to identify it it will tell you

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what it is. It can build a personalised library, so it can help

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people like me in my everyday life. It is also able to read text and do

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object recognition, like the labels on this tea packets. We have several

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options. Would we them to you. It only remembered some of the objects

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of my make-up items, but it was great on the teas. Peppermint and

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metal! And there's more. It also has facial recognition software to tell

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me who I am looking at. It works physically in two phases. The first

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is face detection. The device in the camera is trying to understand if

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there's any face or not. Then, after that, it tries to match that face

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with what it has in its own database and if the person is unknown then

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you can also learn it. I love the fact that you can personalise it.

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That's really useful. It was sometimes you have moments where you

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bump into someone and you are like a who's that? I recognise people with

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my voices. But then sometimes you have friends who sound similar. Then

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that could be really helpful. Definitely. I will take hold. One of

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the many struggles for blind people is accessing new environments.

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Another feature is to detect obstacles a few metres away. The

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closer you get to an obstacle, the louder the sound gets to tell you

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that you are getting closer to the obstacle. It only just said

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something. Really? That's too close. That experience was very scary, but

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I will get used to it. Keep on going! Now it is saying I'm really

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close. You are about one metre. Overall it was a good and useful

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multipurpose visual aid. Yes, it is quite good. It wasn't so good in

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distribution in little items from my make-up bag. -- dissing wishing.

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However, it was really good on the facial recognition. Looking at tea

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packets and labels and out on the road. Get out of the way, Olga!

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That's it for Click this week. I hope you've enjoyed all that you've

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seen. You will find us in all the usual places, but if you want more

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from Kathleen, Dane and other BBC journalists, you should really pick

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out the BBC Ouch blog, and their weekly podcasts. Thanks for watching

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and see you soon. Yesterday was a disappointingly

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cloudy day, but it was not cloudy

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