Image: Two women sit across a table, one pets a furry seal plushie, one looks at a monitor; Copyright: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

A furry social robot can reduce pain and increase happiness

03/07/2020

According to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers published in Scientific Reports, a one-time, hour-long session with a plush, seal-like social robot reduced pain and oxytocin levels, and increased happiness. The Japanese social robot, PARO, emits seal-like sounds and moves its head and flippers in response to being spoken to and touched.
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Photo: Anja Winkler sits at her workplace in front of a monitor and operates a hyper-pin Braille plate system; Copyright: TU Dresden

Labor force participation: "Breaking down mental barriers is more important than auxiliary aids and services"

02/07/2020

Competent and tough – Anja Winkler works at the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden) and by virtue of her own disability is in charge of multiple accessibility and inclusion aspects. In this REHACARE.com interview, she describes the auxiliary aids and services that help make her workday easier and explains how she overcomes the barriers she occasionally faces as a blind staff member.
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Image: A woman wears a white round sensor at her arm and uses a CGM device to measure her blood glucose; Copyright: PantherMedia/Click_and_Photo

CGM reduces hypoglycemia in older adults with type 1 diabetes

01/07/2020

Results from a six-month, multi-site clinical trial called the Wireless Innovation for Seniors with Diabetes Mellitus (WISDM) Study Group have been published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
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Graphic: Structure of the artificial eye with 3D retina; Copyright: HKUST

Scientists develop world's first spherical artificial eye with 3D retina

15/06/2020

An international team led by scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has recently developed the world's first 3D artificial eye with capabilities better than existing bionic eyes and in some cases, even exceed those of the human eyes, bringing vision to humanoid robots and new hope to patients with visual impairment.
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Photo: Splints adapted to the footwear of two children; Copyright: Staffordshire University

Orthotics breakthrough helps children with cerebral palsy

12/06/2020

Researchers have confirmed that adapting fine-tuned splints in combination with the footwear used by children with cerebral palsy to help them walk can decrease the energy they use by as much as 33 percent.
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Photo: Young girl during rehabilitation in a swimming pool. The physiotherapist is sitting at the edge of the pool; Copyright: PantherMedia/welcomia (YAYMicro)

"Rehabilitation for children and young adults must keep all options open"

04/06/2020

The foundation for self-determination and control over one's own life should be laid at a very young age. A comprehensive supply of auxiliary aids and services and custom rehabilitation programs are critical for children and young adults with disabilities. This is the jumping-off point of rehaKIND, a competent partner that assists parents, providers, health insurance providers, and policy-makers.
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Image: e-glasses with descriptions; Copyright: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2020

Multifunctional e-glasses monitor health, protect eyes, control video game

03/06/2020

Fitness tracker bracelets and watches provide useful information, such as step count and heart rate, but they usually can't provide more detailed data about the wearer's health. Now, researchers have developed smart e-glasses that not only monitor a person's brain waves and body movements, but also can function as sunglasses and allow users to control a video game with eye motions.
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Image: shoe with the Kirigami grip inspired by snake skin; Copyright: Diemut Strebe/Harvard SEAS

Kirigami grips could help seniors keep their footing

03/06/2020

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and MIT have developed pop-up shoe grips, inspired by snake skin, that can increase friction between the shoe and the ground. The assistive grips could be used, among other things, to reduce the risk of falling among older adults.
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Image: several images of the prosthesis in use; Copyright: Edgar Lobaton

Researchers incorporate computer vision and uncertainty into AI for robotic prosthetics

02/06/2020

Researchers have developed new software that can be integrated with existing hardware to enable people using robotic prosthetics or exoskeletons to walk in a safer, more natural manner on different types of terrain. The new framework incorporates computer vision into prosthetic leg control, and includes robust AI algorithms that allow the software to better account for uncertainty.
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Photo: Dr. Maximilian W. M. Wintergerst (second from right) trains ophthalmic assistants at the Sankara Eye Hospital in Bangalore, India; Copyright: University of Bonn/Sankara Eye Foundation

Inexpensive retinal diagnostics via smartphone

27/05/2020

Retinal damage due to diabetes is now considered the most common cause of blindness in working-age adults. In low- and middle-income countries, an eye examination via smartphone could help to detect changes at an early stage. This is shown by a new study carried out by scientists from the University of Bonn together with colleagues from Sankara Eye Hospital Bangalore (India).
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Graphic: A representative result of a person diabetic neuropathy; Copyright: UTSW

A sole mate to prevent diabetic foot ulcers

25/05/2020

A new cooling insole developed by UT Southwestern scientists reduced the foot temperature of patients with diabetic neuropathy by several degrees, diminishing a significant risk factor for diabetic foot ulcers. This new device could eventually prevent thousands of amputations that take place worldwide each year because of this condition.
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Photo: Three technicians working on different auxiliary means in the Ottobock workshop during Rio 2016; Copyright: Ottobock

Coronavirus crisis strikes Paralympics: Ottobock embraces flexibility and fosters creativity

04/05/2020

Coronavirus has heightened the importance of being flexible and creative. Two strengths that Ottobock, the Official Technical Service Partner of the Paralympics, has leveraged many times at its onsite workshop during the Games and now relies on in these strange times.
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Photo: Man in wheelchair is together with his wife in an accessible hotel room; Copyright: Heidehotel Bad Bevensen@FDS Hotel gGmbH

Accessible travel: Hotels for everyone

02/04/2020

When people with disabilities plan a trip, accessible accommodations are typically a critical aspect to consider. Both the hotel room and the surroundings should offer all the typical amenities, but also address the person’s special needs. REHACARE.com showcases three hotels that want to facilitate comfort and ease, especially for people with mobility disabilities.
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Photo: ATTO Scooter standing ready for action next to a folded version; Copyright: MovingLife

ATTO folding mobility scooter makes self-determined travel possible

02/04/2020

Traveling with a mobility aid should be easy: Simply fold it up if needed and take it with you in the car or even on the plane. The foldable scooter ATTO from MovingLife makes all of this possible. REHACARE.com talked with Marcel Zwart, MovingLife Sales Manager EMEAI (Europe, Middle East, Africa & India), about ATTO being a game-changer for people with mobility impairments when they travel.
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Photo: Transfer board ready for transfer lies on the seat of the wheelchair; Copyright: meinHOLTZ

Transfer boards by meinHOLTZ: "Assistive devices can be practical, modern and stylish at the same time"

28/02/2020

Is it a skateboard with no wheels? No, it’s a transfer board made by meinHOLTZ! These modern boards help people who use wheelchairs to easily move from one surface to another on their own. Not only does this make transfers easy, but the assistive devices also look stylish and sophisticated.
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Photo: Two wheelchair users with wheelchairs that have integrated the WheelAir system; Copyright: WheelAir

WheelAir: No more overheating for wheelchair users

30/01/2020

Overheating is a serious issue for people who use a wheelchair. Ice packs and water sprays used to help many of them in order to keep cool. But Corien Staels, Founder & Managing Director of WheelAir, wanted to find a technological solution for the problem of overheating. Since then the WheelAir concept is about to change lives.
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Photo: Alexander Karl with visitors in the AAL Living Lab in front of a bed with stand-up function Copyright: Ralf Lienert

Technology-based assistance systems: Aging in place

07/01/2020

Whether it is sensor systems for fall detection or stand assist beds – technology-based assistance systems provide safety and create independence in your own home. The AAL Living Lab carefully studies and even designs new systems like these. That’s because there is a growing demand for so-called Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies.
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Photo: Peter Lammer at REHACARE 2019; Copyright: beta-web

Standing Ovation facilitates mobility at the workplace

12/12/2019

Sitting while standing up – Standing Ovation makes this oxymoron possible. The rail system with its C-shaped seat bar and seat lifting unit allows Austrian chef Peter Lammer to sustain his job despite an 80 percent disability rating pertaining to his legs. With REHACARE.com he talked about the invention that brought back his zest for life and the feedback he received at this year's trade fair.
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Photo: Patrick Mayer in the German TV show

Mobility: Overcoming barriers with Wheelblades

28/11/2019

Whether they are on vacation in the mountains or brave winter weather at home – people with mobility impairments want to take precautions to arrive safely at their destination. Patrick Mayer is personally affected by disability and developed two products that enable wheelchair and walking aid users to master these situations: Wheelblades and the SafetyFoot.
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Photo: Screenshot from the Bravo Twist product video. An older man sits in front of a plate and holds the Bravo Twist in his hand ; Copyright: Pro Walk GmbH

Adaptive eating utensils with a Twist: How Bravo Twist by ProWalk outsmarts Parkinson’s tremors

17/10/2019

We all know that food intake is essential for the survival of every living organism. Yet for humans, food can also be a great source of pleasure or even love. At any rate, it is an important part of our social life. But what happens if our own body throws a monkey wrench into our food intake by having a stroke or neurological disorder?
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Photo: The iEAT Light Grip eating aid; Copyright: Assistive Innovations bv

"Assistive devices help to actively join the meal"

22/08/2019

There are various different kinds of auxiliary means at REHACARE. And the drinking and eating aids are definitely among the popular ones. With its assistive devices the company Assistive Innovations bv from the Netherlands wants to help people with different disabilities to become more independent with eating. CEO Arthur Blom tells REHACARE.com more about classic and new products.
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Photo: Prototype of the sensor for a cane; Copyright: Zahout-Heil

SmAccLab: Smart auxiliary means for everyone

28/05/2019

Accessible and realistic – that’s how auxiliary aids should be in the eyes of Professor Carsten Zahout. Students at the Smart Accessibility Laboratory (SmAccLab) are working on technical solutions that fulfill these requirements and lead to increased participation for people with disabilities. REHACARE.com found out how product engineering and inclusion join forces.
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Photo: An elderly woman catches ichó. The ball starts to glow in red-orange colors.; Copyright: ichó systems - icho-systems.de

"ichó brings people with and without dementia together and provides a way to share stories, experiences, and impressions."

22/04/2018

Like the golden sphere in the fairy tale of the Frog King, ichó (Greek for echo) is meant to bring back lost motor skills and cognitive functions to people with dementia. The project of four former graduates of the Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences aims to offer individual support through a person’s favorite music or fairy tale.
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Photo: Stefanie Trzecinski; Copyright: Johannes Franke

"At the TUECHTIG coworking space, people with and without disabilities are working together – and not just next to each other"

22/03/2018

Maximum flexibility to encourage ideas, effectively sharing office space: coworking spaces have become a part of many major cities. In 2017, Berlin featured about one hundred of them, but none of them were comprehensively accessible. That’s something Stefanie Trzecinski from KOPF, HAND + FUSS gGmbH wanted to change. That was the moment, the idea for "TUECHTIG – Raum für Inklusion" was born.
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Photo: Cinderella and Niels of HelpCamps; Copyright: HelpCamps

HelpCamps: "Making assistive technology faster, more affordable and personalized"

23/11/2017

In accordance with the slogan "Nothing about us without us", the HelpCamps project aims at developing and implementing concepts and ideas together. To make this a reality, people with disabilities, companies from the assistive technology, care and assistance sectors, as well as stakeholders in the so-called maker movement and researchers, are brought together to network during various events.
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Photo: Click-sonar coach Juan Ruiz while training with a kid; Copyright: Anderes Sehen e.V., www.anderes-sehen.de

"Long cane for children is a 'facilitator'– the chance to independently accomplish something"

17/08/2017

The long cane offers the possibility to be independent and effectively mobile as a person with visual impairment. Children in particular could get used to him in a playful way. The association "Anderes sehen e.V." has co-developed the children's long cane. REHACARE.com spoke to Ellen Schweizer, the founder of the association, about the fact that inclusion is not a burden, but can bring joy.
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Photo: Florian Adler; Copyright: Tim de Gruisbourne

"Inclusive communication design is both accessible and attractive"

15/06/2017

For many, recognizing and understanding characters is an important prerequisite to social participation. Inclusive communication design helps people with visual impairments to accomplish this. REHACARE.com spoke with designer and expert of the German Association for Blind and Visually Impaired People, Florian Adler. He has developed a digital guide to inclusive communication design.
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Photo: Sandra Glöckler; Copyright: Rolli auf Trab

"Horse riding is a sport people with and without impairments are able to experience together on equal footing"

20/04/2017

More self-confidence and independence – things you can learn from horse riding for example. People with disabilities can take this important step with "Rolli auf Trab" (English: Trotting with Wheelchairs). REHACARE.com spoke with Sandra Glöckler of "Rolli auf Trab" about the lust for life that horse riding inspires and the interaction and experiences with the animals.
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Photo: Marcus Rohrbach cuts fruits in kitchen, camera records scenes, computer screen in foreground

Will software automatically describe movie plots in the near future?

18/07/2016

In order to understand the plot of a movie an audio version is very helpful for visually impaired people. Authors watch the whole movies and describe what happens in each scene. But wouldn’t it be possible for a computer software to do this kind of work? Researchers work on developing a program which automatically generates movie descriptions and reads them out.
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Photo: Birgit Gebhardt

Blessing or curse? Using robots in the healthcare sector

21/06/2016

In the distant future? – But today already a reality: robot caregivers are designed to make the daily tasks of healthcare workers easier. Today these types of helpers are already being used in Japan. They lift people in need of care out of their beds, play cards with them or cuddle with dementia patients.
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Photo: Sigrid Arnade

"Ability4Refugees platform wants to provide auxiliary means for refugees with disabilities"

24/05/2016

Many people who had to leave their home country traveled in a wheelchair or used crutches. The stress of this escape was at times even more exhausting and taxing for some than for others. REHACARE.com spoke with Sigrid Arnade (ISL e.V.) and Eva-Maria and Andreas Mohn (Andreas Mohn Foundation) about the Ability4Refugees platform that aims to improve the availability of auxiliary means for refugees.
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Photo: Philipp Mahler with an avatar at MEDICA 2015

"The robot facilitates and promotes the connection between children"

15/12/2015

A robot that provides a link between hospital and classroom? The project Avatar Kids makes this possible: acutely ill children are able to actively participate in school activities with the help of a tablet computer. The teacher facilitates the communication. REHACARE.com spoke with Philipp Mahler of Avatar Kids about the opportunities this project provides.
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Photo: Nicole Seifert

"Safe mobility starts with the right choice and adaptation of the wheelchair"

23/07/2015

Whether it’s a wheelchair or a walker – for people with disabilities, it is crucial to control their own mobility in a competent and safe manner. Yet not everyone truly feels confident in every situation with these assistive devices. That’s why REHACARE.com spoke with Nicole Seifert about ways to foster more trust in yourself and others.
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