Gadgets and Gizmos at OCE Discovery 2012

By: Mobolade Ekujumi

As a continuation to my last blog, this year’s OCE Discovery event on May 14-15 showed off some cool new devices by exhibitors in addition to hosting the world’s largest mentoring event on the 15th. Here are three examples of some of the innovative technologies that populated the floor.

Vibrotactile keyboard

Professor Carmen Branje a Professor at Ryerson, UofT & Sheridan College showcased The Vibrochord; a new keyboard-like device, that when coupled with the vibrotactile display The Emoti-Chair, enables a new art form, vibrotactile music. Vibrotactile music is much like audio music, in which patterns of vibrations are presented to a recipient over time, however vibrotactile music presents vibration to the skin as vibrotactile stimulation rather than to the ear as sound. Vibrotactile stimulation might begin to accompany audiovisual music as an added stimulant. Vibration was added to video game controllers with the Play station 3 to enhance the experience. It is possible that we begin to see the development of Vibrotactile chairs in Movie Theatres and possibly headphones.

Nu Viu Cane

Carleton University Industrial Design student Kevin Spencer came in second place in the Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) contest, for the hi-tech “Nu Viu” cane, which acts as an indoor navigator for people with visual impairments. The cane uses Near Field Communication Tags (NFCs) to sense product & design specifications, relaying information back to the user through audio commands. The user can also voice their destination and the system will prioritize based on their preference. For example if a visually impaired man was walking through a grocery store, the Nu viu cane would be able to say “you are approaching Aisle 2. Turn left for noodles, soups and crackers”.

The RaspberryPi

Rasberry pi

The Rasberry Pi is a $25 to $35 computer that runs on Seneca College’s Fedora Remix Linux operating system. It is a great solution to the problem of low-cost computing. Upon purchase, it looks like a small, naked computer motherboard. The operating system comes preloaded with a web browser, word processor, and other applications, and users should be able to install third party apps. Hardware specifications include

256MB RAM memory, 1 HDMI port, 2USB ports, SD memory card up to 6 TeraBytes, Headphones/Speaker port and just about every capability you would find on a regular PC but for less than 10% of the average price.

Innovation is GREAT!

We hope to see you again next year for Discovery 13 – May 27-28, 2013.

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