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Latest Posts

Text-To-Braille Conversion Via Touch-Sensitive “Thimble”

While Braille can give the blind the ability to read, much of the text one encounters is not available in Braille (and our increasing dependence on touch-screen smartphones isn’t helping.) Two students at the University of Washington hope to solve this problem with their concept device, which they have termed the “Thimble.” The Thimble contains a fingertip camera and an electro-tactile grid which can read text and convert it to touch-sensitive Braille. The device can also interface with a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth for reading online content.

Source: “Thimble”: Another smartphone-enabled concept for the visually impaired

(Hat Tip: Engadget)

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Macular Degeneration And A Healthy Lifestyle

We now have another condition that may be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and abstaining from smoking: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Macular degeneration causes a loss of central vision and makes it difficult to recognize faces and read small print. The macula degenerates with age and severe macular degeneration causes blindness. Treatment is costly and doesn’t work very well.

A new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology looked at 1,313 women aged 55 to 74 years. They reviewed their diet and exercise habits. Eating a “healthy diet” meant 3.5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2.3 servings of dairy, 2.7 ounces of meet and 3.5 servings of grain a day. Exercise habits and smoking history were also monitored. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Juvenile Diabetes: The Walk For The Cure

This weekend is the Western Carolina Walk for the Cure for Juvenile Diabetes. Our son Seth is 13, and has been diabetic since age five. The Walk is one of our favorite yearly events. More than that, the idea of a cure is one of our favorite dreams!

Seth has come a long way. He wears an insulin pump, and is now wearing a continuous glucose monitoring system. His chances of long-term complications, such as blindness or renal failure, are remarkably low compared to what kids faced in past decades.

His physician, Dr. James Amrhein of the Greenville Hospital System, is outstanding. He and his outstanding nurse practitioners brought us through the shock and trials of diabetes with great compassion and understanding. He offered us that precious commodity: Hope. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

New Tool May Help Visually Impaired Learn Braille

Braille BuddyYanko Design blog is profiling the Braille Buddy project that aims to develop a simple-to-use tool to help people who’ve lost eyesight to learn Braille.

Braille Buddy has little retractable bumps that code for different letters, a keyboard, and a voice synthesizer that guides patients through different lessons. The voice will read out letters that a patient has to type back in Braille, and the tactile screen will display letters to read and identify.

Yanko Design: My Best Buddy Braille…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

A Tool To Help The Visually Impaired “See” Facial Expressions

Shafiq ur Réhman, a doctoral student at Umeå University in Sweden has unveiled his thesis project — a technology that converts facial emotions into special tactile sensations for the visually impaired.

The system uses a webcam to capture faces, and then subsequently converts the captured emotion into a series of vibrations that correspond with the expressed emotion.

The users are expected to train themselves by making their own faces into the webcam and getting a feel for how the vibrations change with the faces they’re making. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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