Debilitating hand pain is always bad news, but Harold Pimentel’s was especially unwelcome. As a computational-biology PhD student, his work involved constant typing — and he was born with only one arm. “My adviser jokingly said, ‘Can’t you do this by voice?’” he recalls. Three years later, as a computational-genomics postdoc at Stanford University in California, he does just that.
EVER tried to answer a smartphone with your hands full? Try your foot instead. KickSoul is an insole that you can slip inside shoes to control digital devices with a flick of your foot.
Xavier Benavides and his team at the MIT Media Lab sewed a gyroscope and accelerometer between two layers of spongy insole.
Chalk up another win for computers. Software developed at the University of Rochester in New York has outstripped humans in its ability to identify emotions in speech. The researchers plan to use it to understand the effects of emotion in parent-child interactions.