first_imgPodcast: 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:Double Robotics | www.doublerobotics.comCheck out Armando the IT Guy on www.ATFAQshow.comPerkins Resources For Job Seekers, Set, Think! Mind-Controlled Drones Race to the Future 2016 Conference Ushers in “The Year of Braille” – AccessWorld® – April 2016 LastPass | Tools for Life www.gatfl.orgDouble contact information:Website:——————————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 ——SARAH BROYLES: Hi, this is Sarah Broyles, and I’m the communications manager at Double Robotics, 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 257 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on April 29, 2016.Today I get a chance to visit with Sarah Broyles from Double Robotics. They make the Double Robot which is sort of like an iPad writing a Segway used for telemedicine and distance education.We have a quick visit from Armando the IT guy; jobseeking resources from the Perkins School for folks who are blind or visually impaired; a story about mind controlled drones racing over a basketball court; and some recaps from the CSON conference that we found in Access World about the year of braille.We hope you’ll check out our website at, shoot us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project, or call our listener line at 317-721-7124.***WADE WINGLER: Armando Rodriguez just stopped in our studio. Armando, you were just on ATFAQ this week, weren’t you?ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ: Yes, it was exciting.WADE WINGLER: Also known as Armando the IT guy?ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ: That’s right.WADE WINGLER: So what was your first experience like on the show?ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ: I rather enjoyed it. I’m educating you all slowly on the movie references though.WADE WINGLER: That’s what we need help with, movie references.ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ: I’m helping.WADE WINGLER: Clearly we need the IT manager to help us with that kind of stuff. You handled a couple of questions. One was about smartphone encryption and the other was about whether or not you should remove Apple QuickTime from your Windows computer. Both security issues. What do you think? Apple QuickTime, thumbs down, thumbs up on Windows?ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ: Thumbs down. They are not supporting it anymore. Get rid of it. It’s not good.WADE WINGLER: Thanks for the wishy-washy answer. Get rid of it. If you haven’t checked out the show, it’s or find it wherever you get your podcast. Thank you for being on ATFAQ and thanks for popping by.ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ: My pleasure.***WADE WINGLER: Here in the US, it’s springtime. It’s also almost college graduation time and high school graduation time for that matter. If you are someone who is blind and think you might be looking for a job here in the coming weeks, you might want to check out a resource posted by Perkins School for the Blind for jobseekers who are blind or visually impaired. They have a five section website here that has articles to talk about how to choose your career path that makes observations like, you should take stock of your skills or brainstorm your interests. They give some tips about your resume about how to put your contact information, listing prior jobs, professional skills, hobbies, interests, those kinds of things. They even have a whole bunch of suggestions about successful interview skills, how to ask thoughtful questions, and the tricky topic of how to disclose your disability. They have some specific advice related to some workshops and job fairs that they are doing with Perkins School for the Blind. It’s good advice anytime of year, but this is the time of year when I think a lot of folks are going to be fresh grads looking for work, so this will be a nice website to check out and pick up some pointers on your job search. Check our show notes.***If you’ve ever listen to the show before, maybe more than once, you know that I cannot resist a headline that reads, “Mind controlled drones a race to the future.” It seems that in a gymnasium at the University of Florida Gainesville recently, a whole bunch of researchers got together and they had these quad copter drones that were controlled by EEG brain computer interface devices. You put on a headband and you think different thoughts, and that controls these flying quadcopters. There was a 10 yard dash over an indoor basketball court at the University of Florida, and the students and researchers were using mind control or EEG signals through their brains to control these quadcopters. How cool is that?Now, there is a lot of history of using EEG, BCI, or brain computer interface, to do all kinds of stuff. In fact, on the show we’ve talked about using it for communication. We’ve covered stories where people who have spinal paralysis have been able to move prosthetic limbs. This is an interesting thing because of the competition and it is a race, and they are sort of embracing the more consumer side of brain computer interfaces. In fact, the EEG headsets that were used for this race recently in Florida, those headsets only cost about $500 each which is not the cheapest thing in the world, but we are talking about the cost of a smartphone which is much less expensive than previous models.Now, the article does mention there is a darker side of this. The US Defense Department is interested in using mind controlled drones for defensive purposes. In fact, they have the ability to launch attacks on terrorists from many miles away with similar technology. So the darker warning in the article is about what might this be used for when it comes to military kinds of activities.This was recorded in Medical Design Technology Magazine, and I’m going to pop a link in the show notes. You can not only read more about this mind control drone race over a basketball court, but you can also check out a whole lot of pictures and more links to information about this interesting technology. Check our show notes.***Although I wasn’t able to make it to the CSON conference in California this year, I was really excited to see Shelley Brisbane’s article in AFB access world magazine where she talks about some of the CSON 2016 coverage. She talks about the “Year of Braille.” In her story, she talks about a whole lot of different things that have to do with braille that were either unveiled or at least displayed as CSON 2016.The first is Amazon Fire OS 5. They talk about how this new Amazon Fire device is more accessible and includes magnification and a built-in screen reader called Voice View.She talks about the Orbit Reader 20 braille display that isn’t available yet but will be in the fall of 2016, and a sort of a slimmed-down 20-cell eight-dot braille display that, according to American Printing House for the Blind, is going to be available for around the price of $500 which is really low considering the history of the prices of those kinds of devices.She talks about the new Neo Braille, Neo Access, Neo Braille Note Taker that is more of a full-featured deluxe model notetaker. It includes three gigabytes of RAM, a 32-cell display, has AT&T LTE built into it, all kinds of conductivity, even a mini HDMI port. It costs around $49.95 and runs on Android but isn’t able to download apps form in the Google Play Store, at least not now.Not to be outdone, Humanware released, or at least displayed, the Braille Note Touch which is also a very full-featured notetaker with lots of specifications available in an 18 or 32 cell configuration for either 4000 on a little over $5000. But this device is Google Play certified which means it does match the specifications of those standard Google approved tablets.From the National Braille Press is B2G, or Braille 2 Go, which is a long-awaited 20 cell eight-dot braille display which can be connected to your iOS or android phone, has lots of conductivity, lots of bells and whistles, a five megapixel camera for doing OCR or optical character recognition, as well as some card slots and nice speakers.A new product I hadn’t heard about but find fascinating is the Canute electronic braille reader. It comes from Bristol and it has 256 cells of braille, so that is 8 lines by 32 braille cells each. While it isn’t a typical braille display, they described it as a reading oriented device that lets you add BRS files via USB to treat it more like a braille version of a Kindle or an electronic book reader or those kinds of things. They say that they have created an API that is open source and they will make the hardware spec available to all eventually and that those devices should start shipping later this year.In the world where wearables become more and more important all the time, Dot Inc. has created a Dot smart watch which is something like a FitBit or Apple-based watch but is braille based. It has four 6-dot braille cells and is promoted as a combination of fitness tracker and smart watch that supports both iOS and Android. Dot also expects to ship this product later this year and it will retail for a little under $300 according to what they’re saying right now.If you want more details, and there are more items in his article, I would suggest you check out Shelley Brisbane’s article over at AFB Access world Magazine. The title is, “CSON 2016 Conference Ushers in the Year of Braille.” I will pop a link in our show notes.***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.BEN JACOBS: Hello, this is Ben Jacobs with Tools For Life, the Assistive Technology Act program at Georgia Tech, and this is an App Worth Mentioning.This week’s app is called LastPass. It’s a password management app that is available for iOS and Android. Do you ever have difficulty remembering all of your passwords? What about filling out forms online? Do you just wish that you could completely fill out a form with just one click? LastPass does all of these things and much more. Not only does LastPass remember all of her passwords, but it also helps to create very specific passwords with numbers, letters, and special characters. These unique passwords can be very short or unbelievably long, up to 25 characters or more, even.This isn’t just a helpful memory tool but also something that keeps your email and other accounts saved. In fact, LastPass will help you audit all of your websites and let you know which ones might be at risk of being hacked and also provides an annual reminder to simply update your passwords, something we all should be doing. LastPass also allows you to create multiple profiles where you can include banking and other sensitive information. Now, when you have to fill out an online form including one that includes payment information, one click will auto populate your form. LastPass also has an auto login feature that you can choose to turn on for specific websites. This reduces the amount of keystrokes tremendously when trying to sign into a website.This app is free if used on your computer or laptop and is available in the iTunes and Android Play store. If you decide to purchase the app, then you are upgraded to a premium account for a dollar per month or just $12 per year. The nice thing about having the LastPass app on your mobile device is that you always have your passwords and other sensitive information with you. To learn more about LastPass and other great apps, visit the TFL App Finder on the Tools For life website at***WADE WINGLER: Okay, so you guys all know that I am always a sucker for a good robot story. In fact, just this week I had a group of Occupational Therapy graduate students in our assistive technology lab, and they met me because my face was sort of driving around on a thing called a Double Robot where they could see me, I could see them, and they were clearly forgot about me playing around with this new toy that we have in our lab, maybe not a toy, a tool. This tool that we have in our assistive technology lab. We have had so much fun with this robot lately that I thought it only made sense for us to ask the folks from Double Robotics to come onto the show and talk a little bit about this cool thing where playing with. I am super excited to have Sarah Broyles who is the communication manager at Double Robotics joining us today. Sarah, how are you?SARAH BROYLES: Hi, Wade. Thank you so much for having me. I’m doing great.WADE WINGLER: I’m excited to talk about this. I’m always excited to talk about robots. But before we talk about technical stuff, tell my audience a little bit about you. Tells about yourself and how you ended up as the communication manager for Double.SARAH BROYLES: Absolutely. I am the communications manager at Double Robotics. We are in California. I’ve been with the company for almost a year now. To be honest, prior to working here, I was not really familiar with the robotics industry or telepresence, but I come from a background in PR and communications and have worked for several tech companies over the past few years. I came across Double just from looking at the news and hearing about this technology, telepresence technology that helps people to attend school or work or wherever they can’t be in person. I came across a news story about a local student here in San Francisco who was using this robot to attend school while she was recovering from the surgery that she had. I learn more about the company that way and became very interested and actually came across a job posting for this role here. The rest is history.WADE WINGLER: There you go. I’m going to ask you some more questions about students and folks who are using it. For my audience members who aren’t familiar with the term telepresence, tell us what a telepresence robot is and why it’s important. Why should we care about this?SARAH BROYLES: Absolutely. A telepresence robot is a device that allows you to have a physical presence if you can’t be there in person. Our robot specifically is, in essence, an iPad mounted on wheels and is entirely remotely controlled by a remote person over Wi-Fi. How it works is the person can log into the robot, their face appears on the iPad, and they can navigate around simply using arrow keys on a keyboard. This allows them to actually physically be somewhere and engage in real-time conversations at the can’t be there in person.WADE WINGLER: We have one here and I have played with it a little bit. Tell me a little bit about the components and sort of what’s going on physically, because some folks here have made the comment that it sort of looks like an iPad writing a Segway. Is that a fair characterization?SARAH BROYLES: Yes. We do get that comparison a lot. The technology in the base of our robot is very similar to that of a Segway. It is a self balancing technology and there is an iPad attached to the head of the robot. At its core, it is a iPad mounted on wheels. The technology is very similar to a Segway.WADE WINGLER: Tell me a little bit about the context of the locations where this technology gets used. We play with one here in our lab, and we have some thoughts about how people with disabilities might use it. But tell me where the devices get used.SARAH BROYLES: Our two main use cases that we have seen for Double is in business and education. Business being for full-time remote workers, telecommuters, people who work from home. It allows them to have a physical presence in their office. On the education front, we seen a lot of [Inaudible] have a condition or disability or are recovering from some kind of surgery or are receiving treatment for cancer even. Students can “Double” into the classroom and still be part of their classroom community.WADE WINGLER: So can you tell me a little bit about how this is differentiated between the Double Robot and Skype and GoToMeeting or connections like that. I get it because I’ve been in the room with it, but it’s been a little bit about why it’s important for the mobility of this kind of device.SARAH BROYLES: Absolutely. The beauty of Double is that it makes that remote person feel like they are actually there as opposed to traditional videoconferencing systems like Skype or GoToMeeting, you are always relying on someone to dial you in or hold up the laptop and say hey everyone, Wade is here on the call. That remote person is actually in control. They can move the robot around copy of it, turn to people, face people, and actually look at body language and see how people are talking. It really gives that remote person the feeling of some autonomy.WADE WINGLER: And the ability to control and move around and have that independence is super important. So I have to tell what I hope is a funny story. It may be appeals to my less desirable characteristics. But we had just gotten our Double Robot a few weeks ago, and we were set up at a conference here in Indianapolis. We had sort of an assistive technology lab set up over the course of a couple of days. It was one of those situations where, at the end of the day, the room is locked and nobody goes in there until we come back the next day. Early in the morning I was still excited about this technology and decided to dial into our Double Robot at about 6 o’clock in the morning or so. I just so happen to turn it on when there were some housekeepers in the room just changing out supplies and things in the room. I have to say that the looks on their face when this Double Robot came alive and my face showed up on it. The first of all were coming and looking into the camera and trying to figure out what it was. Then when they saw my face they were compelled to leave. I guess maybe controlled by my inner demons, I started following them around a little bit and talking to them and those sorts of things. It was a very different experience, like you said, from a Skype or GoToMeeting where you are just looking through a laptop on a desk or a table. It really did make me feel like I was more in the room, were immersed and in depth than it would’ve been just in the things I’ve been used to, those GoToMeeting style connections.SARAH BROYLES: Exactly.WADE WINGLER: Talk to me little bit about pricing. What do the units cost and what does it look like?SARAH BROYLES: The full sets for a Double is $3000. It is a one-time fee, and that includes a few components. The first component includes the robot itself, Double. That’s the main piece. Then we have three optional accessories all part of that $3000 package, which comes with the robot; the camera kit which is a 150 degree wide-angle lens; the audio kit which is an enhanced speaker and a directional microphone, so it is really solid audio quality; and a charging dock. The charging dock can be seen as a virtual desk. At the end of the day you just drive yourself back into the charging dock and you charge overnight and you are ready to go for the next day without having to rely on anyone to plug you in or any of that. For the full set, it’s $3000.WADE WINGLER: I have to say that as our user experience here has been, we had to practice docking it into the charging station overnight. It wasn’t hard to do we kind of got into a contest about who can dock this think the fastest. We had a little bit of a game experience with that.Sarah, we’ve kind of hit around the edges of this a little bit, but tell me why this technology is important to individuals with disabilities.SARAH BROYLES: I think the biggest thing that Double can provide to individuals with disabilities is a true sense of autonomy. I’ve seen such an amazing stories, especially in education, about kids as young as five years old who are dealing with some kind of disability where they can’t quite make it to school in person due to health reasons or other reasons. As a child, you want to be in school. There is nothing more that they want than to be in school and be with their friends. Using Double really allows them to feel like they are actually there, even when they are hundreds of miles away potentially. It’s a really great thing to be able to still feel like you are part of your classroom community or office community if you can’t be there.WADE WINGLER: Another quick technical question: are there any limitations with the Double that people need to be thinking about if they are considering this as a telepresence tool for someone with a disability?SARAH BROYLES: Yeah. I think the biggest challenge that we do have is really technical, honestly. It has to do with Wi-Fi. Of course we are iPad based, so we are reliant on Wi-Fi. Sometimes not all companies and schools have Wi-Fi in the entire building. The biggest challenge is making sure that you don’t run into that spot while you are rolling around. Otherwise your Double might stop working at that moment. That’s really the biggest challenge, is that technical aspect. We work with all of our customers to ensure that they have a solid Wi-Fi network in their office or classroom so that that issue isn’t as big.WADE WINGLER: Great. Sarah, tell me a story. This is all about the people and using the technology to be able to be more independent. Tell me a story or two about people who are using Double.SARAH BROYLES: There was a sweet girl named Ari in West Bend, Wisconsin. She was a first grader at Sarah Park elementary school. She suffers from spinal muscular atrophy. It’s a neurological disease that actually limits mobility. Ari is actually attending school via Double essentially every day. At six years old, as I mentioned earlier, you want nothing more than to be in school. For her, that’s been a challenge since she’s able to move many parts of her body. She is in school now every day via Double and her teachers and the administrative staff who I’ve worked with at her school have been really wonderful. Ari is much happier now that she can be in school and see her friends and her teachers every day.WADE WINGLER: That’s a great story. I’ve got time for another if you have one.SARAH BROYLES: I’ll tell you about a business use case actually. LinkedIn is one of our biggest customers. They are, of course, a huge international corporation. They have a large remote workforce. One specific case, an engineer had to move out of Silicon Valley where his job was to Austin, Texas, for family reasons. He wanted to stay on with his job. His team at Lincoln really wanted him to stay as well. He was the first case out of LinkedIn to use a Double. He’s been using a Double for a little over a year now and is able to maintain his job even though he is entirely remote. He is able to handle his family issues back home and is able to telecommute every day to Silicon Valley here in California and retain his full-time job.WADE WINGLER: As you look into the future, what’s in your crystal ball as it comes to Double Robotics? What kinds of things are you thinking about in the future?SARAH BROYLES: We are still a pretty young company. We are about three years old. Our main goal has always, and will continue to be, to create the best possible experience for our customers. We are always continuing to look for ways to enhance the user experience for kids like Ari and other students were using Double who are homebound. We want to make sure that their experience and tending the school via Double is just like, or is as close to being, there in person as possible. A lot of the new features we came out with with our second-generation robot, which we unveiled earlier this year in January, were a direct result of customer feedback. As I mentioned before, the camera kit is a brand-new feature that we just unveiled recently in January, really as a direct results from customers saying they wanted to have a wider field of view. So things like that, new features we are certainly continuing to work on to make the driver and user explains the best that it can possibly be.WADE WINGLER: That’s excellent. If people wanted to learn more, if they wanted to see some video or check out pictures of the Double Robot, and they wanted to contact you, what would you recommend?SARAH BROYLES: You can always check out our website at You can learn more about all the different use cases in business and education as well as learn more about the product itself and check out some of our customer case studies videos as well.WADE WINGLER: Sarah Broyles is the communication manager at a Double Robotics and has been our guest today, talking about this cool Double Robot. Thank you so much.SARAH BROYLES: Thank you so much, Wade. I appreciate you having me.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.Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU224 – Unified English Braille – UEB – Ranking of States on Employment of People with Disabilities, Why You Should Upgrade, Circuit Scribe, Time Zones AppSeptember 11, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU188 – Wheel Life & The Bally Foundation, Look at Me app for Autism, Applevis’ Golden Apple Awards, Birdhouse for AutismJanuary 2, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU201 – IT Careers for People who are Blind for Visually Impaired (Chris McMillan), Facebook captions, Braille Writing Tutor wins award, Prismatic app from InfiniteachApril 3, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”last_img