ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or MND) patients represent a subgroup of people with fully functional cognitive abilities who gradually lose their speech and the use of their upper limbs, and cannot communicate with their environment due to physical limitations. They need alternative ways to communicate but the devices currently on the market easily cost $5000 and aren’t always the most practical at the same time.
A new Indiegogo campaign has launched to change that with a new and cheaper eye control and give those patients their voice back. The name is very suitable as it’s simply called EyeControl. The campaign has just started and it already raised over a third of the $30000 funding goal.
The campaign has high goals and it is something that could improve the lives of the 70% of ALS patients who can’t afford one of the expensive gadgets. The price has been cut by 95% in comparison and takes away the big screen by allowing them to use simply a smartphone, speaker system, or headset.
An infra-red camera is connected to simple glass frames and communicates with a credit-card sized computer which identifies and translates the blinks and movements of the userøs eyes into commands which will output in sound, to earphones and to a speaker.
It can also transmit these to a smartphone via Bluetooth to run an application which enables the patient to communicate using text to speech mechanism.
Let us hope that the Indiegogo campaign will be a big success and thereby allow more people to live a better life.
A new speech system, created for famed physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, has been made available free and open source, creator Intel have announced. The project is called ACAT (Assistive Context Aware Toolkit) and has been in the making, through collaboration between Hawking and Intel, for the past three years.
Hawking said of the system, at a press conference in London, “We are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with technology, without it I would not be able to speak to you today.” He added, “the development of this system has the potential to greatly improve the lives of disabled people all over the world”.
Hawking, who is almost entirely paralysed by motor neuron disease (related to ALS), praised the efficiency of ACAT, since it has doubled his typing rate – SwiftKey integration means he types 20% fewer characters than before – and improved common tasks by a factor of ten.
Intel and Hawking hope the open source software will help millions of disabled people to communicate more easily.
However, the question is quite often asked on social media by many – what is this actually doing for ALS awareness? Well, thanks to the Wikimedia Foundation, we’ve learned that the ALS Wikipedia page (English) has been viewed 2.89 million times in August alone, compared to a relatively small 163,000 per month on average in the first half of 2014. This means the page views have gone up 18 times their previous numbers.
Thus far, over $100 million has been raised for the ALS Association since the viral challenge hit our news feeds and with this latest Wikipedia news, it’s showing that not only is the challenge a way for some people to show off their best wet t-shirt bods and gain some internet ‘likes’ – there is actually a purpose behind this and it’s quite possibly working.
Have you completed the ice bucket challenge? Did you donate? Have you learned anything? We’re keen to hear from you – so let us know.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has done a lot of great things this last few weeks, it has helped raise money for many charities around the world and inspired many people to do something good for others. Unfortunately for one man, things may not end so well, after an insane stunt was performed for his ice bucket challenge, leaving him in critical condition.
Belgian photographer Bruno Brokken thought it would be a good idea to have 396 gallons of water dumped on him from a firefighting plane. This meant he was hit with a thousand pounds of water from a height of 22 feet that was carrying significant momentum from the plane. The result of this will have been like having a car dropped on him.
The thing to take away from this is to think before you act. I hope that Bruno pulls through from his injuries, but I can’t help but wonder how the pilot or anyone else involved in this stunt didn’t realize the dangers of dropping such vast amounts of water on a person. Take the video below for example, makes it pretty clear how dangerous it would be to dump water on somone.
It has been a busy few weeks for the ALS Association, they’ve gained over $30 million in donations and we’ve seen hundreds of videos from celebrities, video game characters and now cartoon characters as Homer Simpson takes the plunge!
It’s an interesting change of pace for the challenges and it’s another key example of how people are trying to come up with more original videos. Now we just need to see if Homers nomination of Ned Flanders, Lenny and Donald Trump will turn up any results. No comments on the video stating if Matt Groening and his crew have donated, but I’d like to think they have.
While this isn’t the first video game character to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, it is the latest. Just one week after Digital Extremes Warframe took the spotlight, where their digital space soldiers nominated Master Chief, Borderlands Claptrap and Destiny’s Ghost we are now treated to the first nominee fulfilling the challenge.
Bungie have created the video below, and have of course donated to the cause by sending 20% of all proceeds from the Bungie Store between now and the 9th of September to the ALS Association.
Bungie ended their video with a nomination for Joel from the Last of US, Jonathan Irons from Advanced Warfare and George Lucas.
We have all seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. Some we have laughed at, on some we enjoyed seeing our not-so-liked person icing them selves down and others were just hilarious. And all that for a good cause, to raise awareness and bring in the donations. And it has worked, big time, and we can only hope that this will bring the scientist a lot closer to helping those poor suffering people.
I have to admit, that by now it has gotten a bit boring for myself. I still watch the one or other that seems out of the ordinary, but otherwise it’s a closed chapter for me in this round. But not so for Samsung. In the past it was Samsung’s trait was to be water and dust-proof and their Galaxy S5 is so too. Samsung Mobile UK have now uploaded a video onto youtube showing just that phone taking the challenge.
A clever marketing gag, that already worked as I’m writing about it now. But is this taking it to far? Using a horrible and terrifying disease like ALS to market your smartphone? About a quarter of the thumbs on YouTube think so and are pointing down.
The video ends with the phone challenging the iPhone 5s, HTC One M8 and Nokia Lumia 930 to the challenge.
If you only watch one ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, make it this one. The Photographer Anthony Carbajal not only joined the cause and accepted the challenge, he also made a hilarious take on it. The first 2 minutes of this 6 minutes video show him doing the actual challenge, but it’s the last 4 minutes that are the real important ones.
While these challenges are great, and they raise a lot of both awareness of the disease and money for the research on a cure, most people still don’t know much about ALS. Anthony has been scared of ALS his entire life as it runs in his family. In January 2014 he was diagnosed with ALS himself. So it is no wonder that he actively joins in on this campaign, but he also chose to invite you to see him and his mother, who has ALS, as well as him talking about it.
For the ones among our readers with a big heart and soft soul, keep the tissues ready. It will get emotional.
It seems Charlie has decided to do something that the other celebs haven’t and put his money where his mouth is. Ryan Miller, a professional hockey player, nominated him and Charlie certainly upped his game. Charlie didn’t use water, but he certainly made it rain!
“Oh wait, that’s not ice,” says Sheen in the clip. “That’s $10,000 in cash, which I am donating to the ALS foundation.”
Its good to see Charlie doing something positive, it seems every other time he has been in the press it’s not been pretty, resulting in being sacked from Two and a Half men by Chuck Lorre, the creator of the show. Jon Cryer took over Charlies role in the show and there was certainly some bad blood between the 3 of them. Another feud that was publically aired was with Ashton Kutcher, Charlie said he would put Ashton in hospital after he told him to “shut the f**ck up”. Coincidently, these are the 3 celebs who Charlie has nominated to identically do what he did. Lets hope that all 3 of them do the challenge and also nominate others. This could really bring in the big bucks and raise some money for a good cause!
Thanks to TMZ for supplying us with this information.
Chris Pratt who has starred in such films as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie has done his “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” and put his own little spin on it. He has done what I would like to think I would do in the circumstances and managed to have a few drinks whilst having ladies dowse me in water. What a legend! He was challenged by Disney CEO Bob Iger and actor Vincent D’Onofrio and he certainly didn’t disappoint.
For those who don’t know, the challenge is to dump buckets of ice cold water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease. Its actually getting some great exposure with people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg helping to raise awareness. It’s certainly becoming the next viral craze with celebrities and Youtube stars all jumping on board to help. After they have dumped water over their heads, they are meant to nominate at least one other person to do the same, in the above video Chris nominated actors Gregory Smith, Nick Offerman and wrestler come actor Dave Bautista. Hopefully, even more of these will be done to raise awareness but I do hope that people do continue to try and make them as entertaining as possible.
Thanks to Jezebel for supplying us with this information.
A few days ago Mark Zuckerberg dumped a bucket of ice water on his head to raise awareness ALS awareness. Seems silly but a few days later an donations to the ALS Association are up 1000% percent! For those unaware of ALS, it is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Mark nominated Bill Gates to go next and one thing is for certain, if you want to raise money fast, nominate more billionaires seems to be the way to go. Bill took the challenge without question, going on to nominate three more and giving them just 24 hours to respond.
Opinions are split when it comes to Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, but I think we can all agree that this new trend is awesome. In the never-ending row of challenges extended on-line after daring them yourself, it’s now time to dump ice water over your own head.
This isn’t just some random challenge but has a specific purpose. To raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, famous people are dumping buckets of ice water over their own head only to follow up on nominating 3 new people.