New Machines Turn Sign Language Into Text

Technology continues to shape the way we perceive and interact with one another, often improving our daily lives. We have created machines to help us hear, see, and move. Now, KinTrans, a Texas-based start-up has created a device to allow the deaf to communicate better with those who do and do not understand sign language.

KinTrans uses a 3D camera to track the movement of a person’s hands and body as they sign words. A sign language user can approach a bank teller and sign to the KinTrans camera that they’d like assistance, for example. The device then translates these signs into written English or Arabic for the teller to read.

The translation also works inversely–typewritten replies can be translated into signs.

Around 70 million people sign as a first language and there are more than 100 different dialects used around the world.

“It’s great to see innovative technology being developed that could really transform the lives of sign language users,” says Jesal Vishnuram at Action on Hearing Loss.

The technology is still in its early stages, but developers promise that with further research, machines will soon be readily available to the public.


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Buffet Bid For The Homeless

Charity auctions are a popular way to give back to the community as well as benefit personally. $21,500 was donated to the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai for a chance to meet Barbra Streisand, while a whopping $26,000 was donated to WildAid for an afternoon lunch with billionaire Richard Branson. A recent charity auction saw the donation of a hefty $2.6 million to a homeless center in California for a day with the notable Warren Buffett.

For the 18th consecutive year, Buffett auctioned off a lunch to raise money for the Glide Foundation, which helps homeless people in San Francisco. The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has raised more than $25 million through the auctions.

Glide provides meals, health care, job training, rehabilitation and housing support to the poor and homeless.

Having raised over $25 million through auctions, the Buffet lunch hardly disappoints as winners are wined and dined at the Smith and Wollensky steakhouse in New York. Buffett is one of the world’s highest-earning and most successful investors of all time. He is playfully dubbed the “Oracle of Omaha” from which he hails.

How much would you pay for a lunch with Warren Buffett?

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ALS Sees New Treatment Option

A few years ago, the viral ice bucket challenge helped raised $115 million for sufferers of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Though the funds were used primarily for research, in twenty years, no medication has been approved until Radicava was funded.

Radicava is believed to protect against the worsening of ALS by working as an antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent a type of damage to the body known as oxidative damage.

Radicava is taken through an intravenous infusion (IV) and has to be given by a healthcare professional.

Like most experimental treatments, Radicava bears a number of side effects such as bruising, trouble walking, and the occasional allergic reaction. Medical professionals advise practicing alternative treatment options alongside Radicava. Because there are very few medicines available to those living with ALS, care is mostly limited to managing symptoms.

ALS is one of the most serious and devastating neurological disorders. One of the most challenging aspects of living with ALS is the fact that mental functioning is relatively preserved in most people with ALS as compared with physical decline. Knowing that there are few treatment options available is also frustrating.

Radicava was FDA-approved in the United States in May 2017.

Remember that being aware is not all about throwing a bucket of ice over your head. Do your research! Know how to act in emergencies.

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War Veteran Fights For Elephant Rights

Some war veterans choose to retire comfortably, whether in the city or the countryside. However, this is not the case for one special air force officer. Lt. Col. Faye Cuevas, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa has returned to her latter post to assist in the conservation of African elephants.

The number of Africa’s savannah elephants had dropped to about 350,000 by 2014 because of poaching, according to a recent study.

“At the current rate of elephant decline, my 6-year-old daughter won’t have an opportunity to see an elephant in the wild before she’s old enough to vote,”

“Which just is unacceptable to me, because if that is the case then we have nothing to blame that on but human apathy and greed.”

Elephant ivory, which has virtually no medicinal value, is popularly sold in China as a means of alternative healing.

Together with the U.S.-based International Fund for Animal Welfare, Cuevas introduced a smartphone-based software app (tenBoma) that allows rangers and field investigators to enter and share information immediately.

tenBoma has revolutionized wildlife security, among other conservation strategies. Poaching is a worldwide battle that has not yet been won–but with the help of people like Cuevas, victory is closer than ever.

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