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8 Exciting Ways Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Help People With Disabilities – ReadWrite

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8 Exciting Ways Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Help People With Disabilities - ReadWrite


When people think of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), they usually focus on gaming equipment like the Oculus Rift or enhanced reality games like Pokemon Go. But VR and AR technology does so much more. This advanced tech is already changing healthcare, real estate sales, vacation planning, and scientific exploration.

Both technologies are also assisting people with disabilities in their everyday lives. Today, we’re going to explore eight of the most exciting examples of this in action.

8 VR and AR Applications for People With Disabilities

1. Leading the Blind

You may be familiar with the blind superhero Daredevil, who uses small audio cues to move, run, and even fight. The same basic concept applies to new programs using guided audio to help blind people move through museums, college campuses, and entire cities.

At its most basic, these programs provide a guided audio tour with location finders to walk somebody through a description and essential safety advisories as they experience a museum. This concept can expand into larger areas with the installation of more location finders and visual cues. As the smart city movement gains traction, it’s not difficult to imagine an entire metropolis outfitted with VR and AR applications to help blind people navigate safely and with greater independence.

This technology can also help people who aren’t blind but wear eyeglasses. VR goggles enhance vision similar to the way corrective lenses do. At the same time, AR assistance can call attention to hazards with bright highlights or other cues visible to those with severe vision visual impairment.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

We all know accomplishing difficult tasks is easier with practice. For people with anxiety, depression, autism, or other disabilities that impact how they engage with the world, social interaction can be overwhelming.

A team at the University of Haifa is developing a program that allows autistic children to practice everything from communicating with others to crossing the street. Within the VR interface, they’re free to experiment, make mistakes, and learn without the social and physical risks found in the real world.

This concept is part of learning almost all tasks: You practice first with low stakes and consequences for error, then gradually increase those stakes as your competence improves. VR and AR have simply opened the model to a broader spectrum of people.

3. Assisting Communication

Communication is a fundamental aspect of being human. Being cut off from communicating can be one of the most crushing burdens of a speech, hearing, or language disorder.

The beginnings of these solutions are already part of popular culture, with examples including Stephen Hawking’s speech hardware to new real-time translation apps for our phones. VR and AR add new levels to this, potentially increasing connectedness and independence for millions.

One striking example of this is an augmented reality system linking a pair of gloves with a speaker system. Haptics in the gloves translates sign language in real-time, speaking the signed words audibly for those around and instantly increasing the number of people who can understand the wearer. Developers also see this as a potential tool for teaching sign language by giving learners immediate feedback to refine their signing skills.

4. Accessing Out-of-Reach Experiences

The VR application here is almost identical to how the abled use VR and AR in their lives: to experience things they couldn’t otherwise. For people without disabilities, this ranges from visiting alien planets to exotic travel on earth to epic gun battles and sports competitions beyond the constraints of their regular lives.

For the disabled, there are many apps and hardware suites that allow them to virtually experience activities like climbing mountains, skiing, walking upstairs, or ballroom dancing. Unlike other items on this list, these don’t require new concepts or technologies. They apply what we’ve been doing for fun to the needs of those living with disabilities.

For example, a Dutch nonprofit has created a program using waterproof VR glasses that allow somebody to drift in a pool and interact with virtual bottlenose and spinner dolphins. It’s been used like psychological therapy to help relax and treat trauma. But it can be tweaked to let people experience a swim with dolphins who could never travel to do so physically.

5. Checking for Accessibility

Think of the last time you planned a vacation. Chances are you looked at a map or checked Google Earth to look at the destinations’ street-level images.

For anybody with a mobility-limiting disability, part of this planning includes assessing a location’s general accessibility. What might be trivial for the abled could be taxing somebody in a wheelchair or with a balance-impacting disability.

Taking a VR or AR tour of a destination can let somebody with a disability virtually walk their route, checking for potential issues with accessibility. They can plan routes, finding the most accessible options and gaining greater mobility and independence.

This application can go beyond those with mobility disabilities. Taking a dry run of an errand or journey can help reduce stress for those suffering from crippling anxiety, allowing them to enter the world sooner and more frequently.

6. Augmenting the Senses

By now, you’ve likely already seen the YouTube videos of babies fitted with hearing aids for the first time or an adult viewing the world through reality-augmenting glasses that canceled his colorblindness. These are impressive, but they’re just the beginning of the possibilities.

Only a tiny fraction of people with visual or hearing impairments suffer a total loss of that sense. The overwhelming majority can benefit from VR or AR applications that amplify or refine the input from these senses. For example, a VR program that magnifies objects on-demand can overcome severe visual impairments. An AR filter that cancels background noise can drive the next generation of hearing aids.

For those with a total loss of one sense, the same practices can enhance the other senses to help overcome that disability or potentially reroute information from one sense to another — for example, haptic feedback that uses touch to help steer a blind person on an augmented reality tour

7. Helping Recovery From Strokes and Other Injuries

Visualizing an activity helps athletes improve their performance and people suffering from anxiety have difficult conversations. The Duke University Walk Again Project applies this concept to help people walk again after suffering a stroke or injury.

Combining the dynamic visualization of guided meditation with a videogame’s fun and motivation, this VR-based brain app interfaces with devices that help move the arms and legs as the user visualizes them moving. As the neural pathways regrow, the assist gradually reduces until the patient moves under their power alone. Walk Again has worked in pilot programs, restoring movement to patients who previously would never recover.

8. Getting Hired

Many people with disabilities can’t work in various industries or perform specific tasks. This includes being unable to do the work physically and or reach critical areas in the workplace because of limited mobility.

VR and AR can help to solve these problems in a variety of ways:

  • Direct assistance technology that helps a disabled employee perform physical tasks
  • Sensory adaptation to augment the senses or mitigate the issues associated with a sensory processing disorder
  • Various forms of augmentation for remote work, allowing somebody to do fulfilling and meaningful work without leaving home
  • Wearable technology that helps a disabled person reach work and perform in the work environment
  • Training tools to help somebody with a learning or sensory disability gain the skills needed to do a job

Accessibility in the workplace is nothing new. As a society, we’ve made advances in law, medicine, and technology to make meaningful work a possibility for more and more people. Adding VR and AR to this suite of solutions is the next step.

Final Thoughts

The virtual/augmented shoe can also go on the other foot, helping increase understanding and empathy in the general public for people with disabilities.

For example, Alzheimer’s Research UK released a virtual reality app (called, “A Walk Through Dementia”), that simulates the experience of living with dementia. Similar applications could simulate living with ADHD, autism, and other disabilities.

It’s not hard to imagine how spending even an hour using such an app would improve how well we understand the hardships and challenges of those with disabilities.

Image Credit: eren li; pexels; thank you!

Politics

RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER

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ValueWalk


Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.

Russia’s Default

Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.

 

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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.

Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.

With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.

The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.

Data

Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.

Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.

This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.

The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses


Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.

Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.

Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.

Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.

What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?

E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
  • Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
  • Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.

Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses

1. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.

Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.

Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.

2. Leesa

An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.

Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.

The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.

3. Modcloth

ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.

Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.

ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.

4. Amazon

Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.

Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.

Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.

5. Shopify

Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.

It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.

The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.

6. LARQ

LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.

LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.

The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.

7. Beer Cartel

Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.

Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.

One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.

8. Berlin Packaging

Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.

They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.

They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.

9. Bonobos

With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.

This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.

They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.

10. TOMS

The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.

What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.

Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.

What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?

Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.

Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.

Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.

Conclusion

Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.

If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Parth Pandya

“Nothing Is Impossible” – is a quote that guided me to climb up the toughest peak of my professional journey. Having a great zeal for excellence and ambitious nature to reach the peak, leads me uninterrupted to provide the best content to all the visitors. I like to read and share contents which are related to Technology Solution and Digital Marketing.

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What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?

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Gold Ban Mean for Stocks?


The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.

Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.

However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).

Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?

This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:

“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”

Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.

In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.

How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?

At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.

  1. The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
  2. Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
  3. The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.

Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.

Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.

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