USA: Quadriplegic regains movement in hands thanks to Artificial Intelligence

A quadriplegic in the USA managed to regain some of the movements and sensations in his upper limbs through a new restoration method based on artificial intelligence.

Keith Thomas, who was confined to a wheelchair after an accident, has regained sensation and movement in his hand and arm after several years, thanks to Artificial Intelligence.

The man had broken his neck in an accident in the pool three years ago, which left him paralyzed from the neck down.

The surgery lasted for 15 hours and took place last March. Doctors implanted five microchips in his brain, and with the assistance of artificial intelligence, his brain successfully connected to his spinal cord and the rest of his body.

This unprecedented surgical intervention required Thomas to be awake for a part of the procedure, allowing him to regain the sensation in his thumb and index finger.

The success of the surgery has made him a true pioneer in paralysis treatment. His ability to move has significantly improved, offering hope for a better future to his loved ones. Moreover, this achievement holds promises for an estimated 100 million people worldwide who suffer from paralysis.

The team at Northwell Health, led by Chad Bouton from the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, played a crucial role in Thomas’s recovery. Their work has paved the way for possibilities and further prospects in the field of paralysis treatment.


Google announces new accessibility features on Android, including Live Caption on tablets.

Google celebrated the Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) by unveiling a range of new accessibility features for its products and services. These features aim to make Google’s products more accessible to people with disabilities.

Live Captions on more devices, including Android tablets

One of the most significant new accessibility features is the addition of Live Caption to more Android devices. Live Caption provides real-time subtitles for audio content, such as videos, podcasts, and phone calls. This can be incredibly beneficial for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those living in noisy environments.

Starting from this summer, Google will expand the availability of Live Caption to more Android devices, including Android tablets, by adding a new captioning frame. Additionally, you will be able to use Live Captions with phone calls, allowing you to type your response and have it read out at the other end. This feature is currently available on the latest Pixel devices but will soon be extended to Pixel 4, Pixel 5, and additional Android devices, like Samsung Galaxy phones.

Google Lookout for digital images

To assist the blind and visually impaired community, Google is also improving Lookout, an app that uses your device’s camera to scan an object and then uses artificial intelligence to analyze and describe what it sees. Now, this technology will also work for describing digital images, a task that has been reliant on alternative text added to an image during uploads. Unfortunately, not everyone adds alternative text to images they upload online.

This feature will be a part of the Lookout app and will be called “Image Question and Answer Mode.” Besides image recognition, Lookout will also be able to answer questions related to the image. This specific feature is currently in closed beta, but Google says it will be available to more users soon.

Find accessible places with Google Maps  

Google Maps is also being updated to help people with disabilities find accessible locations more easily. Maps will now show accessible destinations by default, making it easier for users to locate businesses and other sites that are wheelchair-accessible, offer accessible parking spaces, and other vital features for people with disabilities.

Improved text-to-speech conversion on Wear OS

With Wear OS 4 on the horizon, Google is introducing new text-to-speech capabilities that promise to be faster and more reliable.

Avoid URL typos with Chrome

Chrome on computers will now be able to detect when you are typing an incorrect URL and provide suggestions for what the correct URL could be. This will benefit individuals with dyslexia or any language-related disabilities, as well as those prone to typos.

Additionally, TalkBack on Chrome for Android recently gained new functionality, allowing users to easily manage and organize their browser tabs through a tab grid, bulk actions, and rearrangement features.

All these updates demonstrate Google’s commitment to making the digital world more accessible. Even as an able-bodied person, I can see myself using some of these features for my benefit, and it’s very encouraging to know that such capabilities will continue to improve and advance in the future.

Source: Published on May 30, 2023, by “Με Άλλα Μάτια” (Through Different Eyes) in Technology Developments