ATU254 – Cybathlon with Dr Robert Riener Facebook uses artificial intelligence Twitter

first_imgShare this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU188 – Wheel Life & The Bally Foundation, Look at Me app for Autism, Applevis’ Golden Apple Awards, Birdhouse for AutismJanuary 2, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU228 – iOS 9 and Its Impact on People with Disabilities | Luis Perez | Free AT Webinars, Insulin and Blood Sugar Monitoring on Your Smart Phone, Robots and AutismOctober 9, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU302 – SOSQR Emergency ApplicationMarch 10, 2017In “Assistive Technology Update” Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show Notes:Cybathlon with Dr Robert Riener | taps artificial intelligence for users with disabilities makes its service more accessible to the visually impaired will it take to make A.I. sound more human? Space Math——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook:——-transcript follows ——ROBERT RIENER: Hi, this is Robert Riener, and I’m the initiator and organizer of the Cybathlon, and this is your assistance technology update.WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 254 of assistive technology update. It’s scheduled to be released on April 8, 2016.Today I have Dr. and professor Robert Riener who is from Switzerland and is talking to us about Cybathlon, really cool stuff.We also have some social media stories, something Facebook is doing with image recognition; Twitter making all tags available; and what will it take to make artificial intelligence on more human.We also have an app from BridgingApps called space math, kind of neat.We hope you’ll check out our website at, shoot us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project, or give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124.If you like the show, it’s likely you will enjoy one of our other shows, assistive technology frequently asked questions, or ATFAQ. It comes on a couple of times a month and we have a panel of experts who have fun and sometimes answer a question or two. Coming up soon we’ve got questions like, how do you mount an iPad or laptop to a culture; and what is going on with this braille note touch device to everyone seems to be talking about. Join Brian Norton, Mark Stewart, Belva Smith, and myself Wade Wingler a couple of times a month. You can find ATFAQ wherever you get your podcast or you can also head on over to***In an article from KHOU in Texas, a television station there, they talk about all different kinds of us accessibility initiative that Google has peered the talk about their empathy lab that is full of all kinds of assistive technology. They are even describe Mac King’s desk that include several screen reading devices with an audio mixer board to allow him to control the different audio on all of his different devices. The thing that is most interesting, I think, is they talk about energy that were Facebook is going to use artificial intelligence to do image description on the timeline. The idea is that those algorithms can look at pictures and do a fairly good job of providing captions and descriptions of what’s going on in those images. Now it is not perfect. Talk about the fact that it is the beginning version of this technology. There is some additional work to be done and we hope to learn more pure we have reached out to Facebook and hope to have somebody on the show in the coming weeks to get under the hood and down into the nitty-gritty of this conversation. In the meantime, check our show notes. Check out this article over at KHOU where the headline reads, “Facebook taps artificial intelligence for users with disabilities.”***I was excited to see in TechCrunch that Twitter has finally made its service more accessible to you people who use assistive technology by allowing the use of alternative text, or Alt-Tags. This is a service that now allows you to put alternative text on an image that you send through Twitter. It works in iOS and Android applications. You do have to go into the OS and turn on compose image descriptions and your accessibility settings. Once you’ve done that, and you have a button called add description right there in your Twitter clients that will allow you to pop in alt tag on the image. It’s so helpful to be able to say something like this is a picture of wildflowers in a field with clouds overhead, which is an example from the article that I see here. I love it when I see accessibility going mainstream, being talked about in the mainstream press pure in the situation, I’m super happy to see that Twitter has created this accessibility feature. Also it seems that they are going to be adding those to some of their APIs and making life a little bit better not only for the main Twitter users but also for those services that rely on Twitter for some of their functionality. I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to TechCrunch and you can read more about the fact that Twitter has now turned on alt tags. Check our show notes.***Um, in this next story, um, er, um — okay, I’m missing with you. The headline from Computerworld reads, “What will it take to make artificial intelligence son more human?” Those um’s and er’s may be part of the answer. Apparently there is some research happening over in the language technology Institute at the Carnegie Mellon school of computer science. They are trying to figure out how to make computers and robots that rely on artificial intelligence seem more natural. It turns out that saying “um” and “uh” and those nonsensical conversation fillers might be important. The other thing they are trying to figure out is a giggle or chortle or something like that is part of it as well pure there is a quote here from Alan Black who is a professor there. He says, “Laughing is part of communication. Machines don’t do that. If they did, it would be unbelievably creepy but ultimately they should.” So it’s a fascinating article here that talks about the fact that these computerized voices that are used in artificial intelligence like Siri and Cortana and those kinds of things are usually a computer-generated or recorded speech that is done under ideal conditions and lack some of the human things like “Um” that we don’t include and those sorts of things. That being said, I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to Computerworld and you can read more about what it’s going to take to make artificial intelligence sound more human.***Each week, one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an app worth mentioning.AMY BARRY: This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps, and this is an app worth mentioning. Today I am sharing the Space Math Hero app. Space Math Hero is a wonderful math app that aligns with curriculum standards and is designed for kids in grades one through seven. The app allows for multi-users as they are challenged to save the planets in their path on their way to their final destination, planet Earth. After customizing each player with a level of the student playing the game, astronauts are challenged to destroy aliens before they destroy the planet by answering mental math questions in a certain amount of time.Space Math Hero challenges students in completing algorithms in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, requiring them to use mental math skills to either finish the equation or fill in the missing add ins. This app meets first through fourth grade common core math standards, but we found that it extends well beyond fourth grade. Music or other effects can be turned off for students that concentrate better in a quiet and/or less distracting environment. The app is leveled and target skills increase with each level. The only downside that we found is that it doesn’t offer detailed feedback on missed problems, but there is a repeated review for problems that are difficult for the student.Students visit 10 different planets and there are three levels of play. The first level is for ages five through 10, the next one for ages 7 to 12, and then the last one is for ages 10 to 15 with more than 6,000 problems to solve. For the higher levels, there are custom fraction and presented challenges along with decimal problems that are all suited for mental arithmetic. Another great app feature is that students can use it to practice their times tables before playing the game while it is in practice mode, answering facts minimized or sequentially.We trialed Space Math Hero with typically developing students as well as students with ADHD and other learning disabilities. All of our students loved this math app. The app encourages critical thinking math skills which students need for higher level math and for real-world functionality. The fact that this app does not require an Internet connection to play, and you could set up unlimited users for free, makes Space Math Hero a great addition to any math classroom and also for homeschooling groups.The Space Math Hero app is available at the iTunes Store for $3.99 and is compatible with iOS devices. For more information on this app and others like it, visit***WADE WINGLER: I spent a lot of time looking for cutting-edge technology to talk about on this show. Every once in a while, frankly my mind gets blown. That’s what’s happened in this particular situation. I ran across the term Cybathlon on some news feeds recently. It drew me to a website for University in Zürich, Switzerland, called ETH Zürich, which is one of the leading universities were technology and natural sciences. And then I ended up on the phone with Professor Dr. Robert Riener who is the organizer, and I think originator, of this event. I got to tell you, it’s something I would love to attend any go to . on that or I can make it happen this year. We are in for a good conversation today. First and foremost, Professor Weiner, thank you so much for being on the show today.ROBERT RIENER: Thank you. You’re welcome.WADE WINGLER: So tell me a little bit about Cybathlon and what it is and where you got the idea for such an event.ROBERT RIENER: Cybathlon is an international competition where we invite pilots, which is what we call people with disabilities, and their teams, allowing the pilots to use assistive technologies to do some races. Have different disciplines, and the pilots can then use very novel robotic technologies to do a good performance on different race tracks.WADE WINGLER: So this is the first time that this event is going to happen. My understanding is that it will be in this was arena and Kloten Switzerland. Did I say that correctly?ROBERT RIENER: That’s right.WADE WINGLER: And it’s going to be in October 2016, this fall, right?ROBERT RIENER: That’s right. It’s on October 8 this year.WADE WINGLER: So tell me about the idea. Where did you cook up this amazing idea?ROBERT RIENER: I’m doing research on rehabilitation technology. So we work together with many different patient groups. Working with them, we saw that current assistive technologies often still have a lot of disadvantages. Lower leg prosthesis, for example, are mostly not actuated which makes it difficult to climb stairs or walk up the hill even when there are no handrails. Wheelchairs can still not climb chairs unless you get a life device which is very bulky and heavy. Exoskeletons which are now coming out have some advantages, but they are also very bulky and their power is limited and so on. Only one fourth of all people with arm amputations do use and to accept on prosthetic devices. So we thought let’s organize a competition where the most advanced labs in the world can participate and showcase pilots, people with disabilities.***WADE WINGLER: I’m sorry folks, we had a quick technical error there. I’m going to rejoin the interview.***WADE WINGLER: So as I was looking at your website, I found that there are a number of disciplines. I was amazed immediately. The first one is brain computer interface race. The second one was functional electronic stimulation race. Powered arm prosthetic, powered like prosthetics, powered exoskeleton races, and powered wheelchair races. I really would like to go through each one of these and have you talk to me about what is involved in these races, what kind of disabilities that we are talking about, and what the activity looks like. So can we start with a brain computer interface race?ROBERT RIENER: Maybe we can start one of the other races. There are three races which take place on a race track. They are more physical. They are a bit easier to understand before we switch to the brain computer interface race.WADE WINGLER: Let’s do that.ROBERT RIENER: So there are six different disciplines, categories, of race courses. Three of them are taking place on a race track where people have to overcome different obstacles which are related to their life obstacles. So for example, a wheelchair race, where pilots who have to use those wheelchairs in daily life are using powered wheelchairs. They have to show first that they fit beneath a table. It’s a simple but relevant task. Then they are going a little slalom course to see if they can perform well, make good maneuvers on a surface. Then they have to go up a ramp, open a door in a narrow space, close the door and go down the ramp. Then there is some uneven terrain, some cobblestone. Finally there is a staircase with three steps, but some of the devices can indeed climb stairs. That’s how this race works. What is important to mention before I switch to the other races is that it’s not only the time. Primarily it is the obstacle which is important to overcome. People get points for obstacles pure the more difficult the obstacle, the higher the number of points. So the staircase gives the highest number of points. Only if there are two or more pilots getting the same points, then also the time is counted. That’s very important to understand because it’s more important to show that the assistive device is able to overcome these tasks which are relevant to their life rather than the time they need for this.WADE WINGLER: That makes sense. That kind of speaks to real-world application. That makes a lot of sense.ROBERT RIENER: That was the race with the powered wheelchairs. Very similar to that race is the race with leg prosthetic devices. It includes pilots with amputations at the knee or above the knee joint. They can use powered prosthetic devices, but it is quite free. They can also use conventional passes prostheses. Probably the powered prosthesis might have the advantage. Than they also have to do a very similar race course including the staircase, uneven terrain, the ramps and the door. Instead of the table, we are using a soft foam without any handgrips where they have to show they are able to stand up and sit down five times. That stuff prosthetic racecourse.Very similar to that one is the exoskeleton race where the pilots with complete spinal cord injury, where their legs are also part of their trunk are paralyzed completely. They are doing quite the same racetrack. Again this shows these tasks which are relevant to their life. People are very free to choose — the teams can bring their technology as they want. It is very liberal as long as the technology is safe and functional.WADE WINGLER: Dr. Riener, I would hate to interrupt you here, but I have a question: are the products, the prostheses, and the wheelchairs, and the exoskeletons that we talked about so far, are these currently commercially available devices, or are they more experimental, developmental, prototypical kind of devices?ROBERT RIENER: Both. We invite any party, many research labs developing most advanced technologies but also companies. We have a ratio of about one fourth of the groups coming from companies. Those companies bring quite well developed devices. One of the prosthetic provider, one of the world leaders in prosthetics, they announced a new kind of exoskeleton device which nobody has seen yet. It’s going to be exciting.ROBERT RIENER: That’s interesting. We talked in the preinterview a little bit. I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana, which is home of the Indianapolis 500, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s actually the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 here in May just in a few weeks. I’ve grown up here. I was always taught that the Indianapolis 500 was created because tire manufacturers and automotive technology manufacturers needed a place and an event to be able to try out and show off and test some of the new things happening in automotive technology. Am I correct in drawing a parallel between what they did with the Indianapolis 500 and some of the things you are doing with Cybathlon?ROBERT RIENER: I think there are some parallels that are similar. At any kind of car race, you need both, a good car and the technology, and a good driver, a good pilot in order to win. It’s the same with the Cybathlon. You need the pilots and you need the technology. Without the technology, they could not move that well. They could not maybe climb stairs. That’s way they need quite advanced technology. But they are controlling the technology. The technology is not their master. The technology must be the slave. There must be an equilibrium of balance between the pilots and the technology. That’s why it can be compared with race competitions. That’s also why we give two medals. The gold medal goes to the pilot and also to the team.WADE WINGLER: That makes a lot of sense. So I interrupted you. We were talking about prosthetic races and we still have a couple more to talk about.ROBER RIENER: Yes. Then there is another race, muscle stimulation bike race where completely paralyzed people are using electric simulators. They are using commercially available, also lap devices, patients using implanted systems where electrodes are implanted to stimulate paralyzed muscles. With this technology, they can ride their bike, a passive bike, a bike without strides, with a motor. Here we have a quite conventional racetrack. It is just the course at the edge of stadium.We also have a race with arm prosthetic devices where people with amputations at the elbow are allowed to use any kind of prosthetic device. They have to do tasks of daily life, prepare breakfast, cut bread, open a bottle of milk, open a can with a can opener and so on. We tell them they can use both arms. It doesn’t matter if they also use the intact non-prosthetic arm. But those who are using a prosthesis, using a very good prosthesis, will have an advantage because they’ll able to do the task in a shorter time. One part of the race will be to carry boxes and bags. Those who use both arms, a prosthetic arm with a stump connection, they will have an advantage.WADE WINGLER: I think I saw some people with prosthetic arms cloth pinning clothes to a clothes line. Is that right?ROBERT RIENER: Right. That will also be at the race. The pictures you have seen on the Internet are from our rehearsal which we did in July of last year. We’ll keep this task. In addition we will challenge them to open a shirt with buttons and another shirt with a zipper. These are tasks which are relevant to daily life.WADE WINGLER: I also noticed that there is a brain computer interface race. You’ve got to tell me about that.ROBERT RIENER: The brain computer interface race. It is possible, at least in lab environments, to record brain activities and to extract from these activities motion intentions. So people with very high lesions of spinal cord injury or even locked in patients can be treated by the technology, so it is possible to record their motion intentions. In that way, for example, at the Cybathlon Drive and avatar in a virtual game, a race avatar in a game. But of course the same technology can be used to control a wheelchair or to control a prosthetic device or any kind of artificial muscle stimulation device, or maybe even a kitchen device. In the Cybathlon, we want it to be more simple and exciting but having a race, so that’s why we have chosen and developed a special game where they are controlling and avatar in that game.WADE WINGLER: That’s fascinating. Dr. Riener, this is the first year for this event. Do you plan on this becoming something that happens additionally in the future? Will it be annual? What does the future look like for Cybathlon?ROBERT RIENER: It should be repeated and must be repeated to have a sustainable effect that people are coming again and proving the technology, making it not only better in function but in the long run improving the acceptance by the people with abilities and the society and maybe also increasing the amount of the devices and making them cheaper and better available for people with disabilities. So that’s why we are planning to do our next event. It will be for sure for years after the Cybathlon this year. That will be 2020. We are now negotiating with the organizers of the summer Olympics in Tokyo Japan and it will probably take place in Japan. Maybe also after two years from now but not too often, not every year, because the innovation time, that can technology is too long and there would be too much to see after one year.WADE WINGLER: Professor Riener, we have a little less than a minute left in the interview. Tell me a story about somebody’s life who has been touched by the work you’re doing with Cybathlon.ROBERT RIENER: What we saw when organizing the Cybathlon and inviting people to come were two sides. From the team sides, we saw very motivated and ambitious students teams who met, also guided by professors, supervised by officers, developed novel technologies, novel exoskeletons, and also wheelchairs from scratch within one and a half years. They developed something very new which is working so find that one of the students teams is even now establishing a new company. That was exciting to see. From the patient side, the pilot side, I saw very excited people who want to be part of the races, who want to also be a star at taking part with Cybathlon. They are very happy to come. We must be very careful to also invite them and avoid that we had to exclude them because sometimes inclusion criteria do not fit well. We saw one case where we had to exclude a patient. That patient was very disappointed. It is showing that they are motivated to participate.WADE WINGLER: That makes a lot of sense. Sadly we don’t have much more time to talk about this. I have to say when I went to your website and I watched the videos of the rehearsal, I was fascinated. That’s when my mind was blown. I would love to know for people to know how to reach out to you and learn more and where they can find those videos pickROBERT RIENER: First of all, you can find a lot of information and movies on our webpage. Further information can be found on YouTube if you just search for Cybathlon. On Twitter there is a lot of information. Every hour people are reporting about Cybathlon at different events all over the world pureWADE WINGLER: I will put the link to the website in the show notes so that people can find that directly. Dr. Robert Riener is with the head of the department of health sciences and technology at ETH Zürich and the originator of the Cybathlon event that will be happening in Switzerland on October 8, 2016. Professor Riener, thank you so much for being our guest today.ROBERT RIENER: Thank you.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. Looking for a transcript or show notes from today’s show? Head on over to Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more shows like this plus much more over at That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.last_img read more

"ATU254 – Cybathlon with Dr Robert Riener Facebook uses artificial intelligence Twitter"