Google Glass shows promise as an aid to people with Parkinson’s

In today's accessible technology roundup: UK researchers find Google Glass helps Parkinson’s sufferers, a new wheelchair that can be controlled with facial expressions and a guide for using text alternatives to images on websites

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Photo of what someone wearing Google Glass is seeing. In this case, Glass is displaying a reminder to take medication, and a hand is holding several pills

Among other things, Google Glass can help remind people to take their medications

Image credit:Newcastle University

Google Glass is somewhat of a controversial product these days, with some people wary of its threats to privacy. However, one potentially positive use of the technology is being piloted by researchers at Newcastle University, who've been given five pairs of Glass to study how it can be used to support people with long term physical conditions. As the video below discusses, the researchers have already seen Glass help people with Parkinson's, by reminding them to take medication, making it easier to interact with mobile phones and by generally giving them a greater sense of security and confidence when they're out and about. 

Here are some other recent news items and information about the development of accessible technology:

  • Researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute are developing a more intelligent wheelchair that can be controlled with body movements such as facial expressions, using off-the-shelf electronics to ensure a low cost and the ability to retrofit standard wheelchairs.

  • Unclear about how and when to best use text alternatives for images, such as ALT tags, to improve website accessibility? Dey Alexander of 4 Syllables has recently updated a decision tree originally created several years ago to help guide you.

  • If you use Agile methods for your web development and want to make sure that your website is accessible, Kathy Wahlbin of Interactive Accessibility has written a guide for how to write user stories for web accessibility.

Was there other news or interesting information from the world of accessible technology that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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