rDigital News: Disney, Medical Apps, and Unplugging

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This week in the news was all about closing the gap between the real world and the digital world. While we can see and control the digital world, Disney came up with a new gadget that lets users “feel” what they see on the screen. Toronto-based mobile app developers introduced an app that helps people with speech disabilities communicate with the real world. And for those looking to unplug, Mashable released a list of gadgets to help you get away from your gadgets.

Here is this week’s rDigital News roundup:

Disney lets you touch the digital world

The “magic of Disney” just got a bit more tangible. The latest gadget from Disney’s inventive Imagineers allows users to feel free air sensations in the physical world that correspond to virtual interactions. Inventors see the Interactive Tactile Experiences in Free Air machine, known as “Aireal,” as the next step in connecting with our digital world.  According to the article in Wired magazine, “At a point when motion-sensing technologies like Kinect and Leap Motion are encouraging us to wave our hands in front of our screens like lunatics, Aireal could provide the real, tangible, physical feedback that makes it all feel utterly natural.”

Learn more from Disney Research’s official video on “Aireal: Interactive Tactile Experiences in Free Air”:


Accessibility App

“iPhone 4’s Retina Display v.s. iPhone 3G” by Yutaka Tsutano via Flickr

In the past, victims of stroke or those with speech disabilities struggled to talk to others. Now, there’s an app for that. Created by Toronto-based technology company My Voice Inc., the $99 app available to Apple devices uses pre-programmed phrases and words to allow users to communicate without talking. TalkRocket Go has been downloaded by more than 10,000 people and was recently added to Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program.

Learn more about how this technology is giving a voice to people who have trouble communicating.

Gadgets to help you unplug?

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the number of devices and networks you’re connected with? Any experience must now be tweeted, liked, posted, or shared in someway, but that doesn’t need to be the case. If you’re feeling that your addiction to technology is getting out of hand, Mashable has just the gadgets for you. These handy tools will lock up your cellphone that allows users to, as the slogan for the Blokket says, “goodbye phone, hello world.”

While this story may not be the biggest breaking news, it made us wonder: Do we need more gadgets to unplug? Why is it so hard to step away from our devices?

Shane Hankins, one of the founders of the National Day of Unplugging, shares his thoughts on our addiction to technology:

By: Ishani Nath (@ishaninath


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