Helping State Competition

first_imgRepresentatives from five States and Territory’s came to TFA to discuss State competitions. Wednesday saw Peggy Sanders from the Northern Territory, Phoebe Burgoyne-Scutts from the ACT, Lewis Tuck from Victoria, Mitch Collins from WA and Renee Bryant from SA come to TFA in Canberra to discuss competition development.The aim of the meeting was to create best practice guidelines for State Competitions. It was of benefit to streamline competitions, for other development opportunities.There was also a visit from BMTA’s Matt Hall. BMTA is Australia’s best-run affiliate, and Matt was there for competition analysis. This meeting will help all State-based competitions, and ultimately affiliates.last_img read more

10 months agoSteven Davis pushing to leave Southampton for Rangers return

first_imgSteven Davis pushing to leave Southampton for Rangers returnby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSteven Davis is set to leave Southampton for a return to Rangers.Davis is in the final six months of his contract and Steven Gerrard is keen to bring him back to Ibrox, says the Daily Mail. Gers will try to sign him for a small compensation fee this month.The 33-year-old, who has started just two times this season, is understood to be keen on the idea of returning to Ibrox to gain more regular playing time. The experienced Northern Ireland international is a firm favourite with the Rangers fans having made over 140 appearances for the club during a four-year spell between 2008-12. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

The 5 Best Moments From The 1st Episode Of Ohio State Football’s “Scarlet & Gray Days”

first_imgPromotion for Ohio State's scarlet and gray days.Twitter/@BigTenNetworkThe first episode of Big Ten Network’s Hard Knocks-style documentary series about Ohio State football, Scarlet & Gray Days, premiered tonight, and it promises to be an incredibly fun look inside the defending national champions as we head towards the season. The episode highlighted a few players, including quarterback Cardale Jones, QB-turned-receiver and h-back Braxton Miller, and linebacker Josh Perry. Here are our five favorite moments from the pilot episode.1.) Josh Perry describes his Ronda Rousey-based beef with Cardale Jones:Cardale may have the shirt, but Perry has the photo. We expect this to be a recurring storyline.2.) Braxton Miller gets burgers and hot dogs, while Cardale Jones gets the first class meal:Lesson learned: even former Big Ten Players of the Year have to eat the worse meal if they oversleep before a workout.3.) Big brothers are chosen for Ohio State freshmen:Very cool, and funny look inside the process.4.) Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs trash talks h-back Jalin Marshall:Every year when HBO does Hard Knocks, one of the assistant coaches is a breakout star. For Scarlet & Gray Days, it looks like Coombs will be that guy.5.) Urban Meyer coaches up Braxton Miller at wide receiver:Is there a more intriguing skill position player in the country right now?Overall, very fun first episode from Big Ten Network. This will certainly help us get through these long last few weeks before football officially begins.last_img read more

Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued for BC Peace and Pine Pass

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the B.C. Peace and Pine Pass.The watch says that conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that could produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.  The forecast says Fort St. John could receive 10 to 15 mm or rain.See the full warning below. 10:59 AM PDT Friday 28 June 2019Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for:B.C. North Peace RiverB.C. South Peace RiverConditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Lightning kills and injures Canadians every year. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors!Severe thunderstorm watches are issued when atmospheric conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms that could produce one or more of the following: large hail, damaging winds, torrential rainfall.Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.10:59 AM PDT Friday 28 June 2019Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for: Highway 97 – Pine PassConditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Lightning kills and injures Canadians every year. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors!Severe thunderstorm watches are issued when atmospheric conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms that could produce one or more of the following: large hail, damaging winds, torrential rainfall.Weather in the mountains can change suddenly resulting in hazardous driving conditions.center_img Road conditions are available at www.drivebc.ca.Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.last_img read more

Roger Federer admits he faces real battle against Medvedev

first_imgMiami: Roger Federer admits he faces a real battle to land the 101st title of his career with the in-form Daniil Medvedev next up after Serbian Filip Krajinovic was dispatched 7-5 6-3 on Monday at the ATP and WTA Miami Open. The Swiss superstar produced an excellent all-round performance despite being tested by the world number 103 who belied his lowly ranking by producing some excellent tennis during an exciting first set. Federer, however, stylishly weathered the storm to seal the win – the 52nd of his career in Miami – and set up an intriguing last eight match with the highly-rated Medvedev. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe Russian, who is at a career high ranking of 15, saw off American Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/0), and has won four ATP hard-court titles, including three since last August. Federer beat him twice last year but is already a fan. “He’s clever how he plays the court because he can play it up and down, and he’s unusual when he plays from back,” said the Swiss, who hit 14 aces and won an impressive 74% of points on his first serve. “It’s a bit of a different approach.Thankfully I played him last year twice in Basel and Shanghai and I’m very impressed about his progress. I must say the last year has been unbelievable for him.” Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterKrajinovic struggled with injury last year as problems with his ankle, left foot and hand restricted him to just seven tournaments in the first seven months of 2018. Yet some fierce hitting from the back of the court surprised the predictably pro-Federer crowd and a brilliant run and flick over the net handed him an early break for 3-2. Keeping the pressure on, however, was a different matter as Federer broke straight back before pocketing the opening set. The second set wasn’t as competitive, Federer easing home and finishing with 35 winners compared to the Serbian’s 18. Elsewhere, number 24 seed Grigor Dimitrov was beaten by world number 77 Jordan Thompson in straight sets ensuring the Australian will meet 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson who beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 7-6 (8/6). Simona Halep, meanwhile, got the better of Venus Williams once again as the Romanian made light work of the 38-year-old American to book a place in the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-3 win. “I was pretty strong with my serve and knew where to bother her,” said the reigning French Open champion who will meet China’s Wang Qiang in the last eight. “When I saw I can win easy games with my serve, it gave me great confidence,” she added. Bianca Andreescu, the 18-year-old Canadian sensation who won the title in Indian Wells, was forced to withdraw in the second set of her fourth round match with Anett Kontaveit. Andreescu was 1-6 0-2 down before a shoulder injury ruined her chances of another run to the finals. The Estonian will meet Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei who continued her excellent form with a 6-3, 6-7 (0/7), 6-2 win over Caroline Wozniacki. Petra Kvitova, the world number 3, booked her place in the last eight, beating Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-3 in a match which was held up for one hour and 40 minutes because of rain in South Florida. Kvitova plays Australian Ashleigh Barty for a place in the semi-finals.last_img read more

Blue Ant Media is launching its kids and global ne

Blue Ant Media is launching its kids and global ne

first_imgBlue Ant Media is launching its kids and global networks division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) via new carriage deals for Love Nature and ZooMoo, with Chiara McKee leading it as regional VP.Chiara McKeeAs part of its EMEA launch, Love Nature’s 4K channel has landed on Ooredoo TV’s UHD linear service in Qatar. Along with ZooMoo, Love Nature is also set to appear on MyTV in Nigeria.McKee will lead the company’s EMEA channel distribution sales, operations and marketing from Blue Ant’s London office. She reports to Ward Platt, CEO of Blue Ant Kids & Global Networks.She will oversee Love Nature 4K, Love Nature HD, ZooMoo and the animated live action YouTube gaming channel Arcade Cloud.McKee was previously director for Love Nature International, where she led marketing and brand partnerships for its international linear channels and streaming video platform.Platt said: “Chiara has a proven track record of success with building and growing strong, global brands that resonate with diverse audiences around the world, serving our global channel distribution business very well.“Love Nature and ZooMoo’s expansion into EMEA showcases the demand that nature fans of all ages, all over the world, have for premium natural history content and stunning original programming.”last_img read more

Climate change vanishing ice and erratic rain pat

Climate change vanishing ice and erratic rain pat

first_imgClimate change, vanishing ice and erratic rain patterns are causing the wetlands in two Andean communities to shrink — and that’s a big problem for the communities of Miraflores and Canchayllo. The villagers depend on the puna, a set of alpine ecosystems above 13,000 feet that include grasslands and wetlands to graze sheep, cows, alpacas, llamas and vicuñas — animals that provide them with their livelihoods.Instead of looking for modern solutions to improve access to water, the villagers turned to an old one: centuries-old hydraulic systems that dot the Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve, a state-protected natural area seven hours east of Lima. These ancient systems have been used to help irrigate the reserve’s pastures and provide nutrient-rich soil for hundreds of years.So in 2013, the communities teamed up with scientists from U.S. nonprofit The Mountain Institute (TMI) and reserve authorities to devise plans to revive their historic waterways, including canals, lakes and reservoirs. In addition to providing water, the project also would help mitigate the effects of climate change on the landscape, which has been degraded by grazing, melting glaciers and erratic rainfall.These efforts have earned the project international recognition, including an award in the Water Impact category in the Solution Search: Farming for Biodiversity contest in December 2017, organized by the International Climate Initiative. And this spring it won the St Andrews Prize for the Environment, sponsored by the University of St Andrews in Scotland and ConocoPhillips.Andean communities — often marginalized and impoverished — are struggling to adapt to climate change, says Bryan Mark, a glaciologist with Ohio State University. Since the 1970s, Peru has lost more than 40 percent of its ice surfaces, a critical water source for the capital city of Lima and the rest of the semi-arid coast. This loss caused the wetlands to shrink, leading herders to overgraze what pastures were left. Some villagers are diversifying their livelihood with activities in fields such as tourism, while others have moved to nearby towns and cities.The traditional practices that created and maintained the wetlands were disappearing, says Fernando Quiroz, the biologist in charge of the Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve. “People have been here since pre-Incan times and they have always rotated grazing areas and organized traditional festivities to clean up ditches.” If the ditches are not cleaned regularly, they tend to clog.The ancient water systems the villagers wanted to revive once kept the wetlands verdant in the puna, an otherwise dry region sometimes described as an Andean tundra. When these systems functioned they created bofedales, prairies engineered by ancient Peruvians to retain meltwater and rainfall. In the Miraflores community, a pre-Hispanic reservoir lay empty and abandoned. Its sloped walls, made of big rocks, were still standing, but the channel that fed from it was damaged and almost invisible. In Canchayllo, ancient walls and canals draining from a natural lagoon stood dead and dry, abandoned.Enlisted by TMI, Álex Herrera, an archaeologist from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, explored the area using Google Earth in 2013. He confirmed the presence of ancestral water-management systems. The rock constructions he saw from above were at least 1,200 years old. To Herrera, the existence of wetlands created by the old irrigation systems suggested that water and sediments intentionally were harvested for herding. Herding requires grass, and water makes it grow. Sediment slows down water and makes soil humid longer, meaning better grass and more food for animals.The irrigation systems work by slowing the draining of rainfall and glacial meltwater high in the Andes, acting as a giant colander collecting clay, sandy silt and other soils that promote the growth of flora that alpacas and llamas like to eat, Herrera says.Restoring these hydraulic systems took two years — from 2013 to 2015 — and the participation of the community, the government and scientists from La Molina National Agrarian University. Funding and support came from local authorities, The Mountain Institute, the United Nations Development Programme and the German Ministry for the Environment through the U.N.’s Environment Programme. In some cases, restoration meant cleaning and rehabilitating abandoned wells and canals so they would collect rainfall. In others, the solution was a hybrid: installing PVC pipes alongside the ancient stone system that would carry rainwater to pasture lands.Earlier this year, one of the formerly abandoned canals reportedly carried almost six gallons of water per second during the dry season, which has reduced the impact of grazing livestock on the land and improved the quality of forage. Herders, previously forced to feed their animals in a dwindling ecosystem, now have larger areas available to rotate the grazing of their animals.Once the hydraulic system was restored in the village of Canchayllo and water was released in an area of 800 hectares, in 2016, the flow found its way through old veins naturally carved in the soil where water had once streamed, says anthropologist Jorge Recharte, director of TMI’s Andes program.”You have water filtration and water holes appearing in lower altitudes, not too far away,” Recharte says. “Wetlands reemerged in some areas and these are very important when your animals have offspring during the dry season, because the mothers will have green grass and water for their kin.” Rainfall moves slowly down the soil, grasslands retain more moisture and aquifers and springs in lower altitudes are replenished.Recharte says improved water access in communities such as Miraflores and Canchayllo has a wider impact: “Our hypothesis is that if the punas are well managed and rotated, water will be retained better and filtered better, and springs in lower altitudes will not dry up.”Experts concur that reviving this infrastructure requires maintenance work and effort, and hope that short-term results such as improved pastures will motivate villagers to continue doing so. In the case of abandoned or dry canals, Mark, the Ohio State glaciologist, thinks it’s worthwhile to consider interventions such as extending the canals to active springs or setting up new, smaller reservoirs to feed them.The Peruvian government has recognized the importance of irrigation for agricultural development, launching “Sierra Azul,” a fund of $123 million for projects that include, among other strategies, water harvesting and the revival of ancient hydraulic technologies. This public fund is good news for communities who already are working to improve water management strategies.Around 300 families, or about 1,200 people, in the Nor Yauyos Cocha Landscape Reserve have directly benefited, according to the Mountain Institute. Quiroz, the reserve biologist, hopes the message will reach beyond the Andes.”Sometimes city folk do not understand where they are getting their water and resources,” he said. The work to preserve these resources “is positive for everybody.” Elda L. Cantú is a reporter and a professor of international politics at ESAN University. She writes and reports for Radio Ambulante and has recently moved from Lima, Peru, to Mexico City, where she has joined the staff at the New York Times en Español. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Dangerous cuts to the care packages of former re

Dangerous cuts to the care packages of former re

first_img“Dangerous” cuts to the care packages of former recipients of Independent Living Fund (ILF) support are exposing “false” government promises that they would not lose out when the fund closed say campaigners.One London council Waltham Forest, has admitted cutting the support packages of 28 former ILF-users since the fund closed at the end of June, even though it received nearly one million pounds from the government to maintain support for them and about 40 other former ILF-recipients for the rest of 2015-16.Of the 28 disabled people whose support has been cut in Waltham Forest, disabled campaigners are aware of at least eight who have experienced “really significant” cuts.Last month, Disability News Service (DNS) revealed that another London council, Hounslow, had slashed a disabled woman’s support by 48 hours a week after the fund closed.ILF was run by the Department for Work and Pensions and when it closed on 30 June was helping nearly 17,000 disabled people with the highest support needs to live independently.But the coalition government decided that it should be scrapped, promising instead that nine months’ worth of non-ring-fenced funding would be transferred through the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to councils in England, and to devolved governments in Wales and Scotland.But the transition process has been hit by reports of delays in reassessments for former ILF-users and cuts to their care packages, and government pre-closure statements and pledges appear now to be falling apart.Two days before May’s election, chancellor George Osborne told an ILF-user on a regional television programme that the government would “demand” that councils spent the extra funding they would receive on former ILF-users, even though that money was not ring-fenced.And Esther McVey, at the time the minister for disabled people, said in 2012 that the government believed that “the needs of current users could be met in a more consistent and effective way within a single cohesive system”.Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, which is working with other user-led organisations to research the impact of the ILF closure, said the situation in Waltham Forest “does not look good”.She said: “What is really clear with Waltham Forest is the whole approach has been on the assumption that cuts are inevitable, even though they have got something like [£955,000] in ILF funding [from the government].“They have just gone on the basis that there are going to be huge cuts.”Lazard said individuals had not been given independent advocacy through the assessment process, as they should have been under the new Care Act, while there were concerns about the process itself, and the lack of clear information about how to appeal.She said: “It’s really shoddy and the impact is hugely dangerous.“One of our concerns is that for a lot of ILF-users they have had minimal or no contact with the council and they are not in contact with community organisations. They could effectively be suffering these cuts in silence.”Lazard said that government promises that closing ILF was just a “process issue” and was about “getting rid of an anomaly in the system” were “tantamount to lying”.She said: “It is absolutely false. It used [the closure] to save money. There was no evidence to suggest that there would not be cuts. To hide behind that is adding insult to injury.”Gabriel Pepper (pictured), one of the most prominent campaigners against ILF closure, has seen his support package cut by Waltham Forest from 72 hours to 38 hours a week since ILF closed.Last week, he and other disabled activists held a protest about the cuts outside the council’s offices.He said the cut to his support risked leaving him a “prisoner in my house”, while he feared that his quality of life could “disappear”.He said: “My council at Waltham Forest was given £955,686 to do this, so where is all the money going?“It’s being squandered on pot holes, flower beds outside the town hall, huge salaries for suited executives and fancy painting on shop fronts.”Another former ILF-recipient from Waltham Forest said the way the process had been conducted by the council had been “inhuman, messy”, with “very poor standards of information”, and care packages cut before people’s appeals against those decisions had been heard.She said: “I am coming across people who have been bullied [by the council]. The whole process has been a complete shambles.”She knows three carers who have been told by the council that their relatives would be better off in a care home now ILF has closed.She added: “There is an acceptance of the inevitability that people are going to be institutionalised, which I find really scary.”Neither the Department of Health nor DCLG had commented by noon today (11 September).Waltham Forest council had not replied by noon today to email and telephone messages from DNS asking for answers to a series of questions.last_img read more

Millions of Diet Coke Bottles Are Getting Some Love From HP

first_img Next Article Add to Queue Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Millions of Diet Coke Bottles Are Getting Some Love From HP –shares Image credit: Sonia Recchia | Getty Images Jonathan Vaniancenter_img Register Now » Coca-Cola January 29, 2016 3 min read HP doesn’t just want to dominate the business of selling laptops and home printers. The technology giant also wants to make money printing the logos that decorate your soft drinks and beer cans, too.This week, the personal computer and printer specialist inked a deal with The Coca-Cola Company to print custom designs on Diet Coke bottles for a marketing campaign called IT’S MINE. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.The new campaign, which rolls out on Feb. 1, involves outputting more than a million unique, multi-colored logos on 12-ounce Diet Coke bottles that will presumably make them more attractive to consumers who want to see more color on their beverage containers.“IT’S MINE is about the pursuit of a Diet Coke fan’s ultimate object of desire — Diet Coke,” said Coca-Cola North America senior manager of integrated marketing communications Kate Santore in a statement.Coca-Cola created 36 designs “inspired by the bubbles, fizz, taste and spirit of Diet Coke” in which HP’s printing software was used as a base to randomly generate millions of new graphics, according to the announcement. Those new designs are then printed on the bottles, which Coca-Cola said no two designs will be the same.The new marketing campaign comes at a time when Coca-Cola has seen sales of Diet Coke tumble over the past decade. As consumers have been buying more bottled water in recent months, sales of carbonated soft drinks including “diet” and “light” varieties have fallen amidst health concerns relating to sugars and artificial sweeteners.Meanwhile, HP has had a tough time adjusting to declining customer demand for PCs and printers. In the company’s last earnings report, it said that printer and PC sales have plummeted 14 percent year over year.At an analyst event last fall, HP executives singled out its graphics and packaging printing business as a highlight amid consumer PC and printer sales. HP printed out similar design campaigns for Anheuser-Busch and its Bud Light beer beverage and Nabisco’s Oreo cookie packages.The company’s shares have been steadily declining since it officially split from its data center technology sibling Hewlett Packard Enterprise last November.HP’s shares on its first day trading reached $13.83. As of Thursday, shares have since fallen 30 percent to $9.55. This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazinelast_img read more

Skipping breakfast found to be common among children with unhealthy lifestyle profile

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 7 2019Skipping breakfast was common in an observational study of schoolchildren in Greece, and children who skipped breakfast tended to have an unhealthy lifestyle profile. The Nutrition & Dietetics findings may be useful for developing policies designed to increase breakfast consumption in children.In the study of 177,091 Greek children aged eight to 17 years old, almost one in four schoolchildren (22.4 percent of boys and 23.1 percent of girls) skipped breakfast. Characteristics associated with skipping breakfast were being female, being older, being overweight/obese, having a poorer diet, getting inadequate physical activity, having insufficient sleep, and having increased screen time.After adjustments for several confounding factors, poor dietary habits, insufficient sleep (less than eight hours), and increased screen time (more than two hours) increased the odds for skipping breakfast by 80 percent, 23 percent, and 22.5 percent, respectively.​ Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/nutrition-dietetics/study-examines-which-schoolchildren-are-most-likely-skip-breakfastlast_img read more

Apple looks to return to head of class in education market

In this Oct. 19, 2017, photo, downtown buildings and a tour boat are reflected on the mirror behind an Apple logo during a preview event at an Apple Michigan Avenue store in downtown Chicago. Apple plans to hold at an education-focused event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) Apple is hoping to return to the head of the class in the competition to get high-tech products into U.S. classrooms. Google releases Chrome browser for iPhone, iPad Explore further Citation: Apple looks to return to head of class in education market (2018, March 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-apple-class.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The trend-setting company is expected to provide more details about its renewed emphasis on education Tuesday at a Chicago high school. The curriculum may include a lower-priced iPad and a variety of services tailored for students ranging from kindergarten through high school.Apple is trying to regain ground lost to rivals Google and Microsoft during the past few years.Google has emerged as the education leader in the U.S. market, thanks largely to laptop computers running on its Chrome software. Some of those so-called Chromebooks sell for $200 to $250 while the cheapest iPad currently costs $329.An even-lower priced iPad could help Apple teach Google a lesson. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Armband mimics a persons touch

first_img Tiny speakers, or voice coil actuators, embedded in the armband rise and fall to mimic the sensation of a human touch. Credit: Video/Heather Culbertson Explore further Citation: Armband mimics a person’s touch (2018, July 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-armband-mimics-person.html At USC’s Department of Computer Science, Assistant Professor Heather Culbertson has developed a new haptic armband that mimics the gestures used in social touch, specifically the sensation of a finger moving along the arm. She developed the armband with colleagues from Stanford University, where she worked as a research engineer before joining USC in January.The wearable textile is embedded with tiny speaker actuators that rise and fall to simulate different sensations. Controlled by an algorithm, the movement is timed to create a “haptic illusion” that feels like a real human touch.”Mechanically simulating a long motion, like a finger dragging along the skin, is very difficult to achieve in a small space like a wearable,” said Culbertson, lead author of the study presented at this year’s IEEE Haptics Symposium in San Francisco.”With this device, we’re creating the illusion of lateral side-to-side motion using vertical up-and-down motion. The speakers indent into the skin one at a time to simulate the feeling of continual movement.”Culbertson hopes the sleeve can be an effective therapeutic tool for people with anxiety or individuals at risk of isolation, such as the elderly population. It could also convey directional information for people with visual impairments.”This is a first prototype, but it’s surprisingly effective,” Culbertson said. “When it comes to haptics, people are tough critics—you have to get the sensation just right.”Mimic the human touch—it’s about hapticsHaptics relates to the sense of touch in technology, which is already found in many consumer devices, most notably video games controllers, smartphones and smartwatches. Culbertson specializes in social haptics, an emerging field that seeks to convey or elicit emotions through artificial means.”I’m interested in the social side of robotics, specifically how people use touch to communicate and gather information about the world around them,” she said.Research has shown that touch is deeply connected to emotion, triggering a cascade of chemical responses proven to decrease depression and reduce stress during medical procedures. Despite this, computer-mediated interactions currently lack rich, meaningful touch signals. Heather Culbertson, an assistant professor in computer science, designed a low-cost haptic sleeve device that simulates human touch. Credit: USC Photo/Caitlin Dawson She added: “Shopping or talking to friends and family online are experiences currently limited to your visual and auditory senses. My dream is to create virtual sensations of touch that are indistinct from what you feel in the real world.”Can’t stop the feelingThe majority of electronics offering haptic feedback use vibrations. But for application in a wearable social device, Culbertson and the team wanted to create a more natural sensation.”With vibration, you can create the feeling of motion, but it doesn’t feel like you’re mimicking a human touch—it just feels like buzzing,” she said. “It’s also very hard to isolate vibration, so people just tune it out.”While experimenting with materials for low-cost prototypes, the researchers found that magnets created a surprisingly convincing sensation of touch as they repelled into the skin.Using the same principles, the researchers set to work building a mechanical device using six small, low-cost exciter speakers embedded into a lightweight fabric sleeve. Driven at low frequencies, the speakers output motion instead of vibration or sound found at higher frequencies.During a user study, the researchers found that short pulses with long delays created a “creepy” feeling, akin to something crawling up the skin, while long pulses with short delays created a most realistic sensation.Can the feeling get too realistic? “We haven’t encountered that yet,” Culbertson said.In addition to applications in social devices, Culbertson said this kind of haptic technology could also be embedded in car seats to convey direction and other information to drivers, such as alerts and blind-spot warnings.”The sense of touch is highly underused in current technology,” Culbertson said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.” Imagine a virtual world where someone touches your arm during a conversation and you feel the sensation as though they were with you. Uncovering the secrets of the human body’s perception of touch “We convey so much information through touch,” Culbertson said. “But now [that] we’re spending more and more of our time online, we’re losing that sense of connectedness.” Provided by University of Southern California This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more