Amazon’s New ‘Care Hub’ Feature Makes Caregiving And Connection More Accessible In The Covid-19 Era

Update 11/18: Updated to clarify Care Hub is currently US-only, and that Alexa can be used to call for help via landline or mobile phone.

Amazon this week introduced a feature called Care Hub, which allows people to use the Alexa app and an Echo device to remotely check in on loved ones. Announced at the company’s hardware event in September and currently available only in the United States, Amazon describes the functionality as “a simple way to feel close even when you’re apart.” Care Hub users receive notifications when a family member or friend asks Alexa to call for help, and can use the longstanding Drop-In feature to further support them. You also can call them directly over a landline or mobile phone, or contact emergency services if necessary as well.

“Care Hub is a set of Alexa features that simplify and improve the caregiving experience. The Care

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How Can Impact Investment Become More Accessible? Unreasonable Believes It Found A Solution.

Impact investment has long suffered from the cliché that it is simply the less profitable version of mainstream investing. While there is a range of VC funds investing into impact startups with returns equal to or exceeding those of mainstream VC investments, there is still a clear gap in educating angel investors about the opportunity investing in impact startups can bring.

At the same time impact investing is, as large parts of the investment world, suffering from a diversity problem with only 13% of VC Partners being women according to Atomico and Diversity.VC and little representation of BAME groups.

What could be done to get a broader set of angel investors from diverse backgrounds involved in funding the startups solving some of the world’s largest societal problems?

Unreasonable Group’s CEO Daniel Epstein and their Head of Investment Pratibha Vuppuluri believe

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Oculus Pushes More Accessible VR Experiences With New Accessibility-Focused Virtual Reality Checks For Developers

Oculus, maker of the popular virtual reality headsets, announced in a blog post this week the introduction of accessibility virtual reality checks, or VRCs. The Facebook-owned Oculus said in the post they believe “it is critically important that VR applications become more accessible and inclusive for all people.” The VRCs launched for the company’s Quest and Rift products.

The company described the VRCs as “a set of technical recommendations designed to help developers create more accessible VR software” that focus on various aspects of accessible design: visual, audible, interaction, and more. The goal with these Checks, Oculus said, is to encourage third-party developers to seriously consider making their apps more accessible to every user. VRCs typically are required criteria, but Oculus is instead casting these accessibility Checks as recommendations. “[We] strongly suggest supporting as many of them as possible in your titles,” the company wrote.

In addition to launching

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The Hori Flex takes PC gaming’s most accessible controller and brings it to Nintendo Switch

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Hori Flex controller akin to the Xbox Adaptive Controller

(Image credit: Hori)

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Hori Flex controller akin to the Xbox Adaptive Controller

(Image credit: Hori)

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Hori Flex controller akin to the Xbox Adaptive Controller

(Image credit: Hori)

Japanese accessory manufacturer, Hori, is taking the best parts of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, the fantastic accessibility device for PC and Xbox, and reimagining it for the Nintendo Switch. In one fell swoop Hori is opening up arguably the least accessible console around to a much wider audience.

The HORI Flex (via NintendoLife, sam-eatlab) is a device much like the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) in that it allows for a wide range of external inputs to be plugged into it in order to emulate the included-in-the-box controller button map. For the XAC, that offers inputs matching the Xbox One controller. For the HORI Flex, it’s the full sweep of Nintendo Switch inputs ready to be utilised.

That means the Nintendo Switch is able to be used with a much

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Why emerging tech supports an accessible, inclusive future workplace

Emerging technologies — augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) — will play a crucial role in creating an accessible future of work for individuals with disabilities, according to experts.

Remote work environments amid the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of workplace technology trends. “What should have happened in five years, happened in a couple of months,” Cathy Hackl, a futurist and author of “The Augmented Workforce,” said during a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) webinar Oct. 20. Facilitated by Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the webinar focused on technology and accessibility. The DOL is currently funding Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology, which is focused on laying the groundwork for an accessible future of work led by emerging technologies. 

As employers and employees continue to function during an ongoing crisis, these past few months have provided

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A new analysis reveals that accessible and affordable healthcare could be a key tool for addressing the climate crisis — ScienceDaily

Although the link may not be obvious, healthcare and climate change — two issues that pose major challenges around the world — are in fact more connected than society may realize. So say researchers, who are increasingly proving this to be true.

Case in point: A new study by UC Santa Barbara’s Andy MacDonald found that improving healthcare in rural Indonesia reduced incentives for illegal logging in a nearby national park, averting millions of dollars’ worth of atmospheric carbon emissions.

The analysis, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that deforestation in the national park declined 70% in the 10 years after an affordable health clinic opened in the area. This equates to more than $65 million worth of avoided carbon emissions when translated to the European carbon market, the study reports.

“The results illustrate a strong link between human health and conservation in tropical

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The Citizen Science Lab Expands Facilities to Make STEM More Accessible to Youth

Nonprofit’s new location reinforces mission to expand access to experiences and opportunities in STEM

The Citizen Science Lab today announced plans to expand operations to accommodate growth and provide youth with better access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs by relocating to Centre Avenue in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The nonprofit organization is committed to improving STEM opportunities by providing hands-on, enrichment activities for academic success and youth development. The Citizen Science Lab will officially open its new, state-of-the-art laboratory at the start of the new year.

Centrally located next to ACH Clear Pathways, Miller African Centered Academy, and Pittsburgh Weil Early Childhood Center, the facility expansion reinforces The Citizen Science Lab’s commitment to diversifying opportunities for youth to excel in STEM education. Located in the center of revitalization, the nonprofit’s new laboratory provides an accessible space to connect young people with opportunities to increase STEM

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Polycade plans to launch home console for accessible games

Polycade is launching a home video game system for fans of classic games and accessible casual entertainment. Founder Tyler Bushnell will start an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign next week to raise money.

The system represents a pivot from Bushnell’s 2015 plan to create a new kind of game cabinet that could hang on a wall and take advantage of the revival of arcades such as Barcades. Sadly, many of these are now shuttered due to the pandemic.

Bushnell is the son of Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell. He said in an interview with GamesBeat that he now wants to take this experience into the home with the Polycade 2600, a simple console-like PC loaded with games. Polycade made a number of announcements today.

“Our core thesis is that everyone loves video games, but not everyone’s a gamer,” Bushnell said. “And so when you look at gaming today, and the track that it’s

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