Samba Toothbrush

Tech and Disability News from Around the World - 2024-03-10

First Published: Sun Mar 10 2024
Last Updated: Sun Mar 10 2024

So it's been a bit of a busy week in the world and the stories I'm presenting below are just a sample of what's going on.

What I find particularly interesting is the fact that accessibility tech is being drawn into the "Great AI Frenzy". I mean I suppose it was inevitable, and (to the shock of some I think) there are actually genuine use cases for Machine Learning/AI both in the medical fields AND accessibility. The danger is when we start seeing "AI" being used where it's really not needed, or worse where it can do real harm.

Another NDIS Software Provider goes bust (It's behind a pay wall)

SAAS (Software As A Service) provider GoodHuman has been forced into bankruptcy with debts of up to $3 million owed to current and former staff. GoodHuman offered a range of services to NDIS Service Providers at the smaller end of the scale, including maintenance and storage of Customer Records, Digital Service Agreements and NDIS Budgets. 

A screenshot of the services offered by GoodHuman

If GoodHuman is sold off piecemeal or picked up wholesale one of the key questions is going to be what happens to that data?

Two UK Councils trial "AI Voice Assistant" for community members receiving adult or social care

The London Borough of Wandsworth and the London Borough of Richmond on Thames have partnered with an "Conversational and Generative AI" company called Tovie to power a three month pilot of Generative AI powered Voice Assistants.

The pilot will look at two use cases:

  • In the first, they will be using an AI powered Voice Assistant to contact residents who are on waiting lists for different services (which services aren't specified) and inform them of their status and also gather relevant information.
  • In the second they appear to be pitching as a first level support service for people who are using devices provided by the councils.

The assistant will engage with them to understand their usage of the device, assist with troubleshooting should potential issues arise, and communicate any concerns back to the council team through a central mailbox.

I'll see if I can follow up on this in three months time. 

New Powered toothbrush gives those with limited dexterity better cleaning power 

It's amazing how doing something simple like brushing your own teeth can be both achingly frustrating and empowering at the same time. For people with low manual dexterity, brushing can be a chore, even a hazard. 

Now there's a new toothbrush on the market that's aimed at giving people with low dexterity back control. It looks like a beast but it seems to do the job.


Microsoft holds 14th Annual Ability Summit

Microsoft has recently held its 14th Annual Ability Summit and announced a set of new tools and services coming to their platforms over the next few months.

  • Accessibility Assistant for Microsoft 365: A tool that makes it easier to ensure that your power point presentations and word documents are as accessible as they can be
  • Seeing AI: The MS visual description app has now been released on Android and has been expanded to support 18 languages with a target of 34 by the end of 2024

Okay, that's it for this week. Let me know if this was helpful or if you have any stories or news or even just anecdotes around how technology either helps or hinders. You can get me on any of the links below

Email: james AT angrybeanie DOT com



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Twitter: @purserj