Switch Access for Android

Switch Access lets you interact with your Android device using one or more switches instead of the touch screen. Designed for people with motor impairments–  such as cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis –Switch Access is a series of indirect selection techniques specifically for assistive technology users.

Rapid access to digital devices and the Internet is something many people take for granted. The partial or total loss of function of a body part can seriously impede physical interactions with a touch screen or keyboard. For people with a motor impairment it can be difficult or even impossible to interact with a phone or tablet via standard methods.

Oliver collaborated with the Android Accessibility engineering team to design Switch Access for Android. At its core Switch Access allows a user to easily choose items from a selection set. The net effect is that apps, games, and the Internet are openly accessible to users with motor impairments.

Making Android accessible For Everyone

Android users (or a primary caregiver) can connect an external peripheral, known as an adaptive switch, to a tablet or smartphone. The adaptive switch features one or more hardware buttons. Using Switch Access for Android, a user can bypass the touchscreen to navigate and interact with the entire operating system simply by tapping a button.

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The Blue2 Bluetooth Switch is a typical adaptive switch peripheral.

If a user does not have access to an adaptive switch, perhaps due to the cost or availability of this kind of specialised hardware, that's no problem. A standard low-cost keyboard or cheap off-the-shelf peripheral can be used instead. By enabling Switch Access functionality through low-cost and readily-available hardware peripherals, individuals with low-income in developing countries can also benefit from the functionality. In turn, access to information, education, entertainment, and communication is more broadly available to individuals with limited economic resources and impaired motor ability.

Want to learn more? Watch the announcement at Google IO 2017 here.

Rage Donate

It feels painful when someone in a position of power challenges your belief in decency or equality, or when someone promises to make life difficult for you or the ones you love. For many, the experience can be rage-inducing.

Rage Donate harnesses the power of that anger to deliver real change. If certain words and actions make your blood boil, push a button and donate to a cause which directly benefits those under threat. With Rage Donate by getting mad you help others get even.

Oliver gathered a team of creatives from across the tech world to collaborate on Rage Donate. The site was designed and rapidly launched in just four days after the 2016 US Presidential Election. In the days after Rage Donate launched it was featured on TechCrunch, Mashable, Boing Boing, Fast Company, and NPR and inspired articles on the trend of 'rage donating' from the BBC and GQ amongst others.

Translation Cards

Designed for humanitarian response, Translation Cards is an app for Android devices that allows for tap-and-play audio translations, even in the most remote bandwidth-constrained locations.

Each card contains an audio translation, optional text translation, and works across multiple languages. Any organisation can rapidly create a deck of cards catered to their own specific use cases.

Translation Cards is a collaboration between Google.org, ThoughtWorks, Mercy Corps, and UNHCR Innovation. In 2016 the app received an award for innovation at the United Nations Humanitarian Summit.

Translation Cards is available on the Google Play Store for free. The app comes bundled with a default deck designed by UNHCR Innovation for humanitarian refugee crisis response in Europe.

Public Alerts for Google

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast of the United States, flooding cities, displacing thousands of people, and causing billions of dollars worth of damage. It is the costliest natural disaster, and one of the deadliest hurricanes, in U.S. history.

In 2015, Oliver worked with the Crisis Response team at Google to launch a set of improvements to weather forecasts and Public Alerts in Google Search, specifically around tracking storms during hurricane season. Now, when you search the web for information about particular storms or tornadoes, you may see:

  • A map showing your location in relation to the oncoming storm
  • Visualizations of its forecasted track, wind severity and arrival time, courtesy of NOAA
  • Concise instructions for preparing and staying safe, customized for the estimated intensity of the storm and its arrival time relative to your location, from FEMA and ready.gov

The safety recommendations you receive will be tailored to reflect the current status of the event and your context. For example, if you search for a specific storm when it’s still several days away, you may see a map of the developing weather event and a recommendation to start preparing an emergency kit. If the storm is only hours away from your location, you might receive a reminder to start charging your phone in case power goes out. And if you search when the storm is nearby, you'll get the most urgent information, like how to avoid injury from fast-moving water or flying debris.

Not every storm is as devastating as Katrina was, but they all have the potential to cause damage, disrupt lives, and uproot communities. By providing useful, accurate, early-warning information, we want to do our part to help people prepare. More information won’t stop natural disasters from occurring, but it can go a long way to keeping people safe, and in some cases, could even save lives.

Before I Die at Body Worlds

Two poignant explorations of life and death collided when the team behind Gunther Von Hagens’ Body Worlds incorporated Candy Chang’s Before I Die project at their exhibition in Times Square, New York.

A profound reminder of our own mortality and that we should savor and enjoy our lives before we all reach our inevitable destinies.
— Leslie Scocca Croft

Oliver worked with Candy and the team at Civic Center to create an interactive installation at Discovery Times Square. The installation featured a dedicated iPad app and projection system, allowing visitors to create their own submissions and explore the hopes, dreams, and wishes of others.

Urban Omnibus

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The Architecture League of New York’s Urban Omnibus is a project dedicated to the culture of city-making. Through articles, essays, and events the Urban Omnibus explores perspectives in architecture, art, policy, and activism.

Oliver worked with the team at Civic Center to reconstruct the Urban Omnibus logo. The outcome rendered the eponymous ‘UO’ in negative space as a minimal, geometric structure.

60 Second Scoop

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During his time in New Orleans, Oliver found himself caught in Hurricane Isaac. As a result he decided to create a phone number that would read the latest emergency and disaster response information to callers.

In disaster and emergency situations, landlines and cell phones are an under-used but ubiquitous resource for distributing important information. 60 Second Scoop grabs the latest updates from a Twitter feed containing disaster response information and reads them to you.

Oliver collaborated with Earl Carlson to create the first deployable prototype of 60 Second Scoop. Call the number and you’ll hear a 60 second message containing information such as power outages, shelter updates, Red Cross stations, water and ice locations.