- WSA Global Congress
Hand Talk is an app for mobile devices that receives data and translates it to Libras, the sign language of the deaf communities of urban Brazil. Hand Talk works with three basic sources: audio, texts or images. When a voice is captured by the mobile phone, the app converts the sound to sign language with the help of a 3D avatar who appears on the mobile screen. This feature is useable in conversations, lectures and many other settings. With the text feature, the deaf user can copy a message received from a local carrier or a website, paste it into the app and have it translated to Libras. The image feature can be used to translate the content of magazines, newspapers, books or signs. The user photographs a phrase or words and the app converts it to Libras. The system’s API may be used on other operating systems and platforms, making content accessible to people that do not know any spoken language. Potential content includes anything from news or government websites, bank terminals and other financial institutions, to supermarkets and museums. Hand Talk is an outstanding social inclusion tool allowing people with disabilities in Brazil to participate more fully in daily life.
Back in Time is an educational book app for iPad, offering a multimedia interactive journey through defining events in the history of human civilization, of life on the planet, even of the universe. The perception of time in such different eras poses a challenge, as these time-scales are not easy to grasp. Back in Time offers the user a virtual clock according to which the whole universe started 24 hours ago. The analogue clock makes it easier to perceive the relative distance between events. Spinning the clock’s hands backward starts a journey into the past, skipping millions of years with each minute. In this imaginary clock, Earth was formed about 8 hours ago, the dinosaurs became extinct 7 minutes ago and Homo sapiens has enjoyed little more than 1 second of existence. An intuitive interface allows users to navigate through history. Each epoch has its own section, with a documentary text, a detailed timeline, interesting facts, as well as images and videos. Custom-made animations bring events to life, creating an immersive reading experience. The app’s content is concise and easy for all ages to follow, allowing even users with basic literacy skills to gain an understanding of history.
Watch the video here.
Blanco y Negro is an app for visually impaired persons, optimizing the use of other senses to access the main functions of a cell phone. The app makes use of two key tools, a speech synthesizer and a set of functions called Gesture, to provide feedback about actions taken on the mobile so that users can easily follow. Based on these tools, visually impaired persons can access mobile phone functions in a way adapted to their abilities and needs: phone calling, text messaging, information management and colour recognition. Blanco y Negro is available in English and Spanish. Blanco y Negro is a unique app ensuring the inclusion of visually impaired persons in the use of smartphones.
Dermandar creates a novel way to take panoramic images. The simple and elegant user interface is composed of two complementary shapes that join each other as the user rotates the device. The extremely fast outcome is the product of a unique combination of high-level mathematics and low-level optimizations. Using the mobile device’s sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass), the application automatically takes consecutive images. More than 4.5 million people have downloaded this application.
Project Noah is a software platform designed to help people reconnect with the natural world. Launched in early 2010, the project began as an experiment to mobilize citizen scientists and build a digital butterfly net for the 21st century. Now backed by National Geographic, Project Noah is mobilizing a new generation of nature explorers and helping people from around the world to appreciate their local wildlife. The community is harnessing the power and popularity of new mobile technologies to collect important ecological data and preserve global biodiversity. The ultimate goal is to build a go-to platform for documenting all the world’s organisms. In so doing, Project Noah hopes to develop an effective way to measure Mother Nature’s pulse. By providing tools to help mobile citizens share their encounters with nature, Project Noah builds a powerful force for crowdsourcing ecological data collection and strengthening wildlife awareness and preservation.
Watch the product video here.
Singapore mobile penetration skyrocketed from 24% in 1997 to 131% in 2008. The shift to an on-the-go lifestyle was the impetus for the National Library Board, NLB, to develop Library in Your Pocket (LiYP).
The app provides mobile users with convenient, on-demand access to popular library services and e-resources. Searching the library catalogue, checking loan status and downloading short stories is easy to do from mobile devices anytime, anywhere.
Starting with a mobile web application in 2009, NLB enhanced the LiYP service for popular smart phone models, expanding over time to include access to online newspapers, audio books, and other library resources, including pictures, video, and Infopedia articles on Singapore, as well as historic newspapers and other heritage material.
NLB launched the MobileRead iPhone application at 2011 READ!, a nation-wide reading initiative to encourage Singaporean commuters and book lovers to read fiction, including local creative literature, on mobile phones. MobileRead attracted over 50,000 downloads, doubling the annual reading programme’s outreach. The Singapore Memory Project is a long-term programme to enable the national memory to be collected, organised, preserved, discovered, researched and co-created. A key component is an online portal and the Singapore Memory Mobile app. Digital services are an integral part of NLB’s multi-channel delivery approach.
When we were kids, we loved drawing on walls and writing on schools desks; we carved our names into trees and park benches, and expressed our identity and presence everywhere we went. We have a deep urge to leave our mark. Harpoen is a free ‘digital graffiti’ application that is made in Indonesia and Makes Places Talk. Leave your mark and begin a discussion with the future. Discover a mark, and places tell you a story of who came and what happened before you. Like physical graffiti, messages are only visible to others nearby. Content can be tailored to individual tastes with powerful yet easy-to-use customized search features; simply input a keyword, or add a username, and Harpoen will return the closest match to you. Harpoen will also push-alert-you when you are around new messages that either match your saved interests, or have been left by your friends. Harpoen partners with artists, photographers, musicians, local governments, and others with great location-specific content, and has developed a suite of web and mobile management tools. Harpoen is unique because it is non-instantaneous. It is not uncommon to discover Harps from several weeks or months past in areas both new and familiar. We believe that having a shared location is the ultimate context for interactions. We experience serendipity while using Harpoen, as we either run into marks left by others, or others run into and comment on marks left by us.
TrafficMate is a traffic management app providing an efficient solution for traffic congestion. Research indicates the most effective ways to control traffic, for example, by algorithms based on artificial intelligence to control traffic lights. However, these solutions rely on the availability of accurate and real-time information about traffic flow. TrafficMate takes advantage of the smartphone inside the app user’s pocket, turning the user into a sensor. Smartphones thus create a ‘social network’ of traffic detection without external sensors or bureaucracy. The mobile app collects traffic flow data including speed, acceleration patterns and location of the mobile device in a vehicle, sending the data to a central server, where it is processed to identify traffic jam locations. App users receive information from the server in the form of location-based updates. TrafficMate marks jammed areas on a Google map, also making information available to traffic analysts and viewers via the web page or API. A major advantage: TrafficMate data gathering and transmission is a backend process, not visible to the user.
MagicReader provides a magical experience of reading and viewing e-books using the iPad. There is no need to touch the hardware to turn pages, facial movements are enough. MagicReader uses the mobile device’s camera to detect the movement of the person reading the book. With this new technology, a disabled or injured person can read a book without having to depend on help from someone else. MagicReader can also be used in diverse daily situations, such as reading while eating with both hands, reading a recipe while cooking or perusing documents while typing on a keyboard. There are countless more ways to use MagicReader.
Positive Technology App (PTA) is a telehealth tool allowing self-management of stress and enabling mobile-based treatment. Stress is the second most reported work-related health problem, while stress-related conditions caused by work are on the increase and significantly affect an organisation’s bottom line. Reducing work-related stress is not only a moral, but also a legal and business imperative. Research indicates that the use of mobile phones enhances clinical approaches to stress management. Within the context of the Interstress EU project, a mobile app was developed to help people cope with stress. Using an engaging 3D virtual reality island, the user can practice effective relaxation techniques. The Positive Technology app also offers biofeedback training to control heart rate variability, thus helping to counter the physiological changes induced by stress. The biofeedback approach used has two outstanding merits. Firstly, heart rate variability is one of the most effective biofeedback techniques. Secondly, the treatment is situated in a virtual environment, the medium of choice for giving users feedback, by being more intuitive and making learning easy. The biofeedback section of the app exploits progress made in the field of wearable low-cost biosensors to allow effective interventions in daily situations.