Connect with us


Google helps kids to read with Bolo

At a Google for South Africa presentation in Sandton this week, Google announced the local availability of a reading app that works offline and on Android Go. BRYAN TURNER reports.



Google’s newly launched reading app, Bolo, uses the power of voice recognition to help children to read aloud. The app features a simple design that’s easy to navigate, making strong use of iconography to lead users to where they need to be without having to read.

It comes with a personal reading tutor, which sounds identical to the Google Assistant, to help students along their reading journey. The speech-based technology builds on Google’s strong pre-existing speech recognition technology used in Google Assistant. As students speak, the assistant can help them by correcting them and spelling out words when they need help. When they get a line right, they are encouraged to continue.

A major win for this app is that it works offline and on low-cost Android phones, which means readers can use the app at almost any time.

The app was tested in India, where Google collected analytics to assess global expansion possibilities.

Google says 64% of kids who used the app showed an improvement in reading proficiency.

Google’s head of public policy, Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, says over 800,000 children from over 28,000 towns and villages have read 3-million stories so far.

“Bolo is a Hindi word which means ‘to say’,” says Mgwili-Sibanda. “The app has a helpful, AI-powered assistant called Diya, who encourages children to read out loud, just as they naturally do. She also provides customised feedback to encourage children to read well, and helps them when they get stuck.

“My son is turning three this December and he’s using this app. He absolutely loves it when Diya compliments him. Those who know him also know that he’s very stubborn, so when Diya says that he’s wrong he wants to fight with Diya, but Diya always wins.”

The app is locally available for Android and Android Go platforms for free.


Car buyers to start abandoning fuel-power by 2025

Car buyers in the United States and Europe expect electric vehicles to become a viable alternative to fuel-powered cars in the next five years.



A new report outlining consumer expectations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their viability as replacements for traditional fuel-powered cars or internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles suggests a massive shift beginning in 2025.

The conclusion emerges from a report by human behaviour and analytics firm Escalent, entitled The Future of BEV: How to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Consumers. It reveals the intent of many consumers in the United States and Europe to abandon ICE vehicles altogether, citing the improved infrastructure and range of BEVs.

The Future of BEV gives auto and mobility manufacturers a strategic view of the benefits of their products in the eyes of consumers and highlights the areas of opportunity for automakers to push the innovation boundaries of BEVs to spur broad adoption of the technology.

“While most buyers don’t plan to choose BEVs over gasoline-powered cars within the next five years, consumers have told us there is a clear intention to take BEVs seriously in the five years that follow,” says Mark Carpenter, joint managing director of Escalent’s UK office. “However, manufacturers will need to tap into the emotional value of BEVs rather than just the rational and functional aspects to seize on that intent and inspire broader consumer adoption.”

The study demonstrates a significant shift in consumers’ expectations that BEVs will become viable alternatives to—and competitors with—ICE vehicles over the coming decade. Though 70% of Americans plan to buy a gasoline-powered car within the next year, just 37% expect to make that same purchase in five to ten years. Similarly, while 50% of European consumers favour buying vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel in the near-term, that figure drops to just 23% in five to ten years.

At the same time, consumers on both sides of the Atlantic see BEV adoption rising to 36% in Europe and 16% in the US, with respondents also indicating intent to purchase hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars.

Infrastructure clearly continues to be one of the biggest barriers to adoption. While some work is being done in Europe as well as in the US, the data show there is a significant need for some players to take ownership if manufacturers want to move the needle on BEV adoption.

US and European consumers have stark differences in opinion as to which entities they believe are primarily responsible for providing BEV charging stations. American consumers consider carmakers (45%) the primary party responsible, followed by fuel companies, local government/transport authorities, and the national government in fourth. On the other hand, European consumers view the national government (29%) as the primary party responsible for providing BEV infrastructure, followed by carmakers, local government/transport authorities and fuel companies.

For a full copy of the report, visit

Continue Reading


New cell phone to help with dementia and memory loss



A new cell phone that takes simplicity to the extreme is designed to address the unique needs of people with dementia and other forms of memory loss. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone, developed by RAZ Mobility, a provider of mobile assistive technology, was launched this week. The handset is also well-suited for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia, with one in ten people over the age of 65 diagnosed with the disease. The number of people with dementia is expected to increase rapidly as the proportion of the population 65 and older increases. The American Psychiatric Association reports that approximately one percent of the population has an intellectual disability.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone consists of one primary screen, and one screen only. It is always on and includes pictures and names of up to six contacts and a button to call 911. That’s it! There are no applications or settings to cause confusion. No notifications or operating system updates. No distractions. Users can simply tap and hold the picture of the person they wish to call.

Caregivers manage the RAZ Memory Cell Phone through a simple online portal. The portal is used to create and edit the contacts, track the location of the phone/user and select certain options, such as the option to restrict incoming calls to people in the user’s contacts, thereby avoiding unwanted calls such as predatory robocalls.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone can now be ordered at

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 World Wide Worx