Category Archives: innovation

hearing disability

Israeli Innovation Will Help People With a Hearing Disability


hearing disabilityAn air-raid siren awakened Erez Lugashi one night in 2014. As he ran for shelter, he questioned: What would a deaf person doin this circumstance?

That question led the skilled Tel Aviv entrepreneur to begin Abilisense. The concept was to establish software for IoT devices, such as smart watches, that sends vibrating or visual alerts to hearing-impaired individuals about anything from an air-raid siren to a crying child.

Abilisense was incubated at the A3i Israeli accelerator for assistive technologies. The start-up won Israeli government and Microsoft grants for establishing products for deaf individuals.

And while Herzliya-based Abilisense is broadening into general security and security applications as it gets closer to commercialization, the initial objective of helping the deaf stays essential to Lugashi.

Hearing loss is estimated to impact more than 400 million individuals around the globe.

Availability has actually extended beyond the physical to how to provide services to persons with disabilities. For somebody hearing impaired, a larger entrance that fits a wheelchair is irrelevant. What’s essential is making communication available,” says Yuval Wagner, creator and president of the nonprofit organization Gain access to Israel.

The future is all about making sure that all technology is totally accessible so that individuals with vision or hearing impairments can achieve day-to-day jobs individually,”  he states

. Wagner likewise keeps in mind that technologies originally established for individuals with specials needs typically find their way into the basic market –– as taken place with Abilisense.

Let’ s take a look at several other Israeli solutions for people with hearing problems.

Tomer Shor and Yoav Blau, veterans of the well known 8200 IDF signal intelligence and code decryption system, established Tunefork two years ago. There’ s a personal connection: Shor’s dad and Blau’s better half both have extreme hearing loss

. Tunefork  individualized audio profiles can be integrated into clever devices to enhance each user’s digital audio experience –– call, music, films, audio books, GPS directions and more. The technology can be utilized with or without hearing help.

Each individual has a distinct earprint,  like a fingerprint,”  describes Shor,  so assistive technology needs to be individualized.”

Tunefork users create their audio profile by means of a fast smartphone-based hearing test. The profile can then be matched precisely to technical information held on any signed up sound devices, headphones, earbuds and mobile devices to finest make up for the user’ s hearing

“loss.  Our demonstration application has 10,000 users so far in Israel and the United States, mostly music apps,”state Shor.  We; re beginning evidence of concept with big makers all over the world.”

Tunefork has actually won dozens of rewards in global and local start-up competitors and drew in investors in Israel, Europe and the United States. The start-up has seven employees at workplaces in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The GalaPro app for iOS and Android makes live home entertainment accessible and inclusive by delivering automated multilingual subtitles, closed captioning, calling, amplification and audio description (for individuals with visual impairments) to the user’s own mobile gadget.

Founded in 2015 with offices in Tel Aviv and New York, GalaPro has partnered with Broadway theaters, show halls, opera houses, movie celebrations, exhibits, museums and more. The app likewise provides material as needed.

The app works in real time for every efficiency at every partner place, in any seat, and doesn’t interrupt surrounding audience members.

Many individuals without hearing or vision disabilities utilize GalaPro as a synchronised translation service (think Kabuki theater in Japan or opera in Italy) or to better follow discussion via closed captions.

deaf disability
Boy Having a Hearing Exam in the Audiologist’s Office

Hearing within your reaches

Sensory substitution devices (SSDs) are the specialized of Hebrew University medical neurobiologist Amir Amedi.

His world-renowned Lab for Brain and Multisensory Research study primarily concentrates on making it possible for individuals with vision problems to “see  their environment through sound and touch

. Just recently, Amedi’s laboratory teamed up with the World Hearing Center in Warsaw on a novel affordable and noninvasive speech-to-touch SSD that could enhance hearing comprehension for individuals with cochlear implants.

Their proof-of-concept study, published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, explains that people with cochlear implants “ still experience significant useful and social obstacles,”  particularly understanding speech in noisy environments.

Amedi and colleagues designed a minimalistic SSD that transforms low-frequency speech signals into tactile vibrations provided on 2 fingertips. The vibration communicates a set of “ basic frequencies”  that characterize speech signals.

In the study, individuals as a group demonstrated a significant 6-decibel enhancement and did not require unique training to use the SSD.

The ability to “ hear  through one s fingers has  crucial implications for further research study, in addition to possible scientific and practical services,”  stated co-author Tomasz Wolak, head of the Bio imaging Proving ground at the World Hearing Center.

The group intends to more improve the device to reach the objective of 10-decibel improvement. They likewise plan to study human brain mechanisms utilizing an MRI-compatible version of the gadget in both hearing and hearing-impaired topics.

Map of the inner ear



A just recently released paper from the laboratory of Prof. Karen Avraham at Tel Aviv University’ s medical school says that more than 100 genes have actually been found to be connected to genetic deafness.

This new understanding, based upon the Human Genome Job, might assist scientists discover biological treatments for hereditary hearing loss.

“ Current treatments depend on amplification or prosthetics,” according to Avraham.“Gene therapy would intuitively be perfect for these conditions because it is directed at the extremely source of the issue.”

In 2015, Avraham led an Israeli, American and Italian study that mapped, for the first time, genetic signals in the mammalian inner ear (cochlea).

Inside the inner ear, tiny hair cells turn soundwaves into electrical pulses that are sent via the auditory nerve to the brain. Nonworking hair cells can’t be switched on. ; Nevertheless, other cells in the inner ear maybe could be coaxed into becoming practical hair cells.

The map of genetic signals in the inner ear is essential to such a technique.

Among these signals is methylation, a chemical procedure that gives genes “; orders for separating cell types. Discovered by Hebrew University researchers Howard (Chaim) Cedar and Aharon Razin, methylation discusses why, for example, one cell turns into an afferent neuron and another turns into a skin cell.

Manipulating methylation and other signals “ would permit us to change cells in the inner ear to end up being or develop brand-new ones to permit proper hearing,” said Avraham.

Our analysis of the DNA methylation characteristics revealed a big number of brand-new genes that are important for the advancement of the inner ear and the onset of hearing itself,”  she stated. We hope that our epigenetic maps of the inner ear will provide entry points into the development of therapies for hearing loss.”

Lipifai Speech-to-text innovation is not an ideal option, specifically when there’s ambient sound.

Julie Dai of Haifa and Waseem Ghrayeb of Nazareth plan their Lipifai synthetically intelligent online lip-reading innovation to overcome that issue.

Not yet commercialized, Lipifai not only listens  to the speaker by means of the phone  s” microphone. It also watches  the speaker’s lips by means of the phone.

cam. In low-noise environments, both inputs feed the resulting text showed on the screen.

If there’ s a great deal of sound– like in a restaurant– the app switches only to the lip-reading part. And whereas human lip-readers balance up to 40% accuracy, Lipifai enhances accuracy to more than 85%, Ghrayeb tells ISRAEL21c.

Julie Dai and Waseem Ghrayeb, developers of online lip-reading technology LipifAI.

Dai and Ghrayeb both worked for 9 years in the high-tech industry; Dai has a master’ s degree in computer technology and Ghrayeb has a master’ s in artificial intelligence.

They began establishing their option as fellows in the 2019 associate of Our Generation Speaks, a program at Brandeis University in Massachusetts that sets budding entrepreneurs from Israel’ s Jewish and Arab sectors. OGS also bought Lipifai.

Last summertime, Dai and Ghrayeb took Lipifai to the Massachusetts Institute of Innovation for further advancement at entrepreneurship accelerator MIT: designX and MISTI, MIT’ s worldwide education program. Several MIT interns will pertain to Haifa in January to continue working with them on advancement.

Based on an article published here.

New Hope for Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers


It has been a long time coming BUT it looks as if scientists have finally come up with a  drug that alters the immune system which has been described as “big news” and a “landmark” in treating multiple sclerosis, doctors and charities say.  If this is the case then Disabilitymatch enthusiastically welcomes this news and hopes that it will be quickly available for our members and the wider disabled community at the earliest possible date.

Trials, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest the drug can slow damage to the brain in two forms of MS.

Ocrelizumab is the first drug shown to work in the primary progressive form of the disease.

The drug is being reviewed for use in the US and Europe.

MS is caused by a rogue immune system mistaking part of the brain for a hostile invader and attacking it.

It destroys the protective coating that wraps round nerves called the myelin sheath.

The sheath also acts like wire insulation to help electrical signals travel down the nerve.

Damage to the sheath prevents nerves from working correctly and means messages struggle to get from the brain to the body.

This leads to symptoms like having difficulty walking, fatigue and blurred vision.

The disease can either just get worse, known as primary progressive MS, or come in waves of disease and recovery, known as relapsing remitting MS.

Both are incurable, although there are treatments for the second state.

Ocrelizumab kills a part of the immune system – called B cells – which are involved in the assault on the myelin sheath.

In 732 patients with progressive MS, the percentage of patients that had deteriorated fell from 39% without treatment to 33% with ocrelizumab .

Patients taking the drug also scored better on the time needed to walk 25 feet and had less brain loss detected on scans.

In 1,656 patients with relapsing remitting, the relapse rate with ocrelizumab was half that of using another drug.

Prof Gavin Giovannoni, from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, was involved in the trials and said: “The results shown by these studies have the potential to change how we approach treating both relapsing and primary progressive MS.”

He told the BBC: “It’s very significant because this is the first time a phase three trial has been positive in primary progressive MS.”

More than 100,000 people are diagnosed with MS in the UK, around one-in-five are progressive.

Dr Aisling McMahon, the head of clinical trials at the MS Society, commented: “This is really big news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

“It’s the first time a treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of MS, which offers a lot of hope for the future.”

The drug is being considered by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration.

But Prof Giovannoni warned that patients in the UK may be disappointed as it may be hard for the NHS to fund everyone getting a drug that is likely to be expenseive.

He told the BBC: “I would expect a narrow group of people to be eligible.”

Dr Peter Calabresi, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, added: “This is the first drug to show a significant effect in slowing disability progression in a phase three trial in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and therefore represents a landmark study in the field.”

But he warned doctors to “stay vigilant” because of the risk of side-effects.

Weakening the immune system increases the risk of infection and of cancer emerging.


Neuroscience Helps Paralysed Man Move His Hand & Wrist

An extraordinary development in neuroscience technology that has been developed between researchers  in New York and Newcastle have allowed Ian Burkhart from Ohio – a quadriplegic – to move his hand and wrist.  WE are so excited with the way in which technology is moving forward in the field of disability  that we bring you part of an article published in ‘Nature’ magazine.

A quadriplegic man who has become the first person to be implanted with technology that sends signals from the brain to muscles — allowing him to regain some movement in his right arm hand and wrist — is providing novel insights about how the brain reacts to injury.

Two years ago, 24-year-old Ian Burkhart from Dublin, Ohio, had a microchip implanted in his brain, which facilitates the ‘reanimation’ of his right hand, wrist and fingers when he is wired up to equipment in the laboratory. Researchers led by Chad Bouton, currently at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, have been studying Burkhart ever since, and publish their results on 13 April in Nature1.

Previous studies have suggested that after spinal-cord injuries, the brain undergoes ‘reorganization’ — a rewiring of its connections. But this new work suggests that the degree of reorganization occurring after such injuries may be less than previously assumed. “It gives us a lot of hope that there are perhaps not as many neural changes in the brain as we might have imagined after an injury like this, and we can bypass damaged areas of the spinal cord to regain movement,” says Bouton. Previously, such a ‘neural bypass’ had been done in monkeys, and brain signals had been decoded in people and used to animate a robotic prosthetic arm, but this is the first time a person has had their own body part reanimated.

Burkhart — who is paralysed from the shoulders down but can move his shoulders and, to a small extent, his elbow — broke his neck after diving into waves during a beach holiday when he was 19. He later discovered that 25 minutes away from his home, researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus were developing the reanimation technology and decided to volunteer to have the microchip implanted.

Bouton and his colleagues took fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans of Burkhart’s brain while he tried to mirror videos of hand movements. This identified a precise area of the motor cortex — the area of the brain that controls movement — linked to these movements. Surgery was then performed to implant a flexible chip that detects the pattern of electrical activity arising when Burkhart thinks about moving his hand, and relays it through a cable to a computer. Machine-learning algorithms then translate the signal into electrical messages, which are transmitted to a flexible sleeve that wraps around Burkhart’s right forearm and stimulates his muscles. “The first day we hooked it up I was able to get movement, and open and close my hand,” he says (see ‘Ian talks about his new-found movement’)

The study provides insights into the brain’s ability to adapt to and exploit new situations. “It is interesting that, even some years after injury, when these circuits have presumably been sitting there not able to do much, that they still seem to be related to hand movements and haven’t been co-opted by something else,” says Andrew Jackson at Newcastle University, UK, who is separately developing a neural prosthesis to overcome spinal-cord injury.

Burkhart’s brain has also learned to coordinate the activity of his reanimated hand with muscles that he already has some control over. His ability to maintain grip while moving objects has gradually improved, and this has been associated with significant changes in his brain activity. The algorithms developed by Bouton’s team register and adapt to such changes in brain activity — effectively learning with the patient and fine-tuning his movements.

It’s not yet clear whether a neural bypass would work in people who don’t have the type of residual elbow and shoulder movement that Burkhart does, or in people whose muscles are always contracted, a relatively common problem. “Being able to combine the recording of brain signals and produce the muscle contractions to make the hand do the correct things is a big step, but we’re still at a point where we’re talking about something that would benefit a small number of people,” says Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara, who directs the Neural Enhancement Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh.