In 2010, Henry Evanssaw a robot on TV. It was a PR2, from the robotics company Willow Garage, and Georgia Tech robotics professor Charlie Kemp was demonstrating how the PR2 was able to locate a person and bring them a bottle of medicine. For most of the people watching that day, the PR2 was little more than a novelty. But for Evans, the robot had the potential to be life changing. “I imagined PR2 as my body surrogate,” Evans says. “I imagined using it as a way to once again manipulate my physical environment after years of just lying in bed.”
Eight years earlier, at the age of 40, Henry was working as a CFO in Silicon Valley when he suffered a strokelike attack caused by a birth defect, and overnight, became a nonspeaking person with quadriplegia. “One day I was a 6’4”, 200 Lb. executive,” Evans wrote on his blog in 2006. “I had always been fiercely independent, probably to a fault. With one stroke I became completely dependent for everything…. Every single thing I want done, I have to ask someone else to do, and depend on them to do it.” Evans is able to move his eyes, head, and neck, and slightly move his left thumb. He can control a computer cursor using head movements and an onscreen keyboard to type at about 15 words per minute, which is how he communicated with IEEE Spectrum for this story.
Henry Evans shaves with the assistance of a PR2 robot in 2012.Georgia Tech
After getting in contact with Kemp at Georgia Tech, and in partnership with Willow Garage, Evans and his wife Jane began collaborating with the roboticists on a project called Robots for Humanity. The goal was to find ways of extending independence for people with disabilities, helping them and, just as importantly, their caregivers live better and more fulfilling lives. The PR2 was the first of many assistive technologies developed through Robots for Humanity, and Henry was eventually able to use the robot to (among other things) help himself shave and scratch his own itch for the first time in a decade.
“Robots are something that was always science fiction for me,” Jane Evans told me. “When I first began this journey with Henry, it never entered my mind that I’d have a robot in my house. But I told Henry, ‘I’m ready to take this adventure with you.’ Everybody needs a purpose in life. Henry lost that purpose when he became trapped in his body, and to see him embrace a new purpose—that gave my husband his life back.”
Even simple tasks like repositioning a blanket require a caregiver, but Henry can use Stretch to move it on his own.Peter Adams
Henry stresses that an assistive device must not only increase the independence of the disabled person but also make the caregiver’s life easier. “Caregivers are super busy and have no interest in (and often no aptitude for) technology,” he explains. “So if it isn’t dead simple to set up and it doesn’t save them a meaningful amount of time, it very simply won’t get used.”
While the PR2 had a lot of potential, it was too big, too expensive, and too technical for regular real-world use. “It cost $400,000,” Jane recalls. “It weighed 400 pounds. It could destroy our house if it ran into things! But I realized that the PR2 is like the first computers—and if this is what it takes to learn how to help somebody, it’s worth it.”
For Henry and Jane, the PR2 was a research project rather than a helpful tool. It was the same for Kemp at Georgia Tech—a robot as impractical as the PR2 could never have a direct impact outside of a research context. And Kemp had bigger ambitions. “Right from the beginning, we were trying to take our robots out to real homes and interact with real people,” he says. To do that with a PR2 required the assistance of a team of experienced roboticists and a truck with a powered lift gate. Eight years into the Robots for Humanity project, they still didn’t have a robot that was practical enough for people like Henry and Jane to actually use. “I found that incredibly frustrating,” Kemp recalls.
In 2016, Kemp started working on the design of a new robot. The robot would leverage years of advances in hardware and computing power to do many of the things that the PR2 could do, but in a way that was simple, safe, and affordable. Kemp found a kindred spirit in Aaron Edsinger, who like Kemp had earned a Ph.D. at MIT under Rodney Brooks. Edsinger then cofounded a robotics startup that was acquired by Google in 2013. “I’d become frustrated with the complexity of the robots being built to do manipulation in home environments and around people,” says Edsinger. “[Kemp’s idea] solved a lot of problems in an elegant way.” In 2017, Kemp and Edsinger founded Hello Robot to make their vision real.
Stretch is a relatively small robot that one person can easily move, but it has enough range of motion to reach from the floor to countertop height.Hello Robot
The robot that Kemp and Edsinger designed is called Stretch. It’s small and lightweight, easily movable by one person. And with a commercial price of US $20,000, Stretch is a tiny fraction of the cost of a PR2. The lower cost is due to Stretch’s simplicity—it has a single arm, with just enough degrees of freedom to allow it to move up and down and extend and retract, along with a wrist joint that bends back and forth. The gripper on the end of the arm is based on a popular (and inexpensive) assistive grasping tool that Kemp found on Amazon. Sensing is focused on functional requirements, with basic obstacle avoidance for the base along with a depth camera on a pan-and-tilt head at the top of the robot. Stretch is also capable of performing basic tasks autonomously, like grasping objects and moving from room to room.
This minimalist approach to mobile manipulation has benefits beyond keeping Stretch affordable. Robots can be difficult to manually control, and each additional joint adds extra complexity. Even for non-disabled users, directing a robot with many different degrees of freedom using a keyboard or a game pad can be tedious, and requires substantial experience to do well. Stretch’s simplicity can make it a more practical tool than robots with more sensors or degrees of freedom, especially for novice users, or for users with impairments that may limit how they’re able to interact with the robot.
A Stretch robot under Henry Evans’s control helps his wife, Jane, with meal prep and cleanup. Vy Nguyen/Hello Robot
“The most important thing for Stretch to be doing for a patient is to give meaning to their life,” explains Jane Evans. “That translates into contributing to certain activities that make the house run, so that they don’t feel worthless. Stretch can relieve some of the caregiver burden so that the caregiver can spend more time with the patient.” Henry is acutely aware of this burden, which is why his focus with Stretch is on “mundane, repetitive tasks that otherwise take caregiver time.”
Vy Nguyen [left] is an occupational therapist at Hello Robot who has been working extensively with both Henry and Jane to develop useful applications for Stretch in their home.Peter Adams
Vy Nguyen is an occupational therapist who has been working with Hello Robot to integrate Stretch into a caregiving role. With a $2.5 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health and in partnership with Wendy Rogers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Maya Cakmak at the University of Washington, Nguyen is helping to find ways that Stretch can be useful in the Evans’s daily lives.
To scratch an itch on his head, Henry uses a hairbrush that has been modified with a soft sleeve to make it easier for the robot to grasp it. Vy Nguyen/Hello Robot
There are many tasks that can be frustrating for the patient to depend on the caregiver for, says Nguyen. Several times an hour, Henry suffers from itches that he cannot scratch, and which he describes as debilitating. Rather than having to ask Jane for help, Henry can instead have Stretch pick up a scratching tool and use the robot to scratch those itches himself. While this may seem like a relatively small thing, it’s hugely meaningful for Henry, improving his quality of life while reducing his reliance on family and caregivers. “Stretch can bridge the gap between the things that Henry did before his stroke and the things he aspires to do now by enabling him to accomplish his everyday activities and personal goals in a different and adaptable way via a robot,” Nguyen explains. “Stretch becomes an extension of Henry himself.”
This is a unique property of a mobile robot that makes it especially valuable for people with disabilities: Stretch gives Henry his own agency in the world, which opens up possibilities that go far beyond traditional occupational therapy. “The researchers are very creative and have found several uses for Stretch that I never would have imagined,” Henry notes. Through Stretch, Henry has been able to play poker with his friends without having to rely on a teammate to handle his cards. He can send recipes to a printer, retrieve them, and bring them to Jane in the kitchen as she cooks. He can help Jane deliver meals, clear dishes away for her, and even transport a basket of laundry to the laundry room. Simple tasks like these are perhaps the most meaningful, Jane says. “How do you make that person feel like what they’re contributing is important and worthwhile? I saw Stretch being able to tap into that. That’s huge.”
Using Stretch to manipulate cards, Henry can play games with friends and family without having to be on a team with someone else.Vy Nguyen/Hello Robot
One day, Henry used Stretch to give Jane a rose. Before that, she says, “Every time he would pick flowers for me, I’m thanking Henry along with the caregiver. But when Henry handed me the rose through Stretch, there was no one else to thank but him. And the joy in his face when he handed me that rose was unbelievable.”
Henry has also been able to use Stretch to interact with his three-year-old granddaughter, who isn’t quite old enough to understand his disability and previously saw him, says Jane, as something like a piece of furniture. Through Stretch, Henry has been able to play little games of basketball and bowling with his granddaughter, who calls him “Papa Wheelie.” “She knows it’s Henry,” says Nguyen, “and the robot helped her see him as a person who can play with and have fun with her in a very cool way.”
Through Stretch, Henry can engage with his granddaughter at her home, with Jane looking on.Vy Nguyen/Hello Robot
The person working the hardest to transform Stretch into a practical tool is Henry. That means “pushing the robot to its limits to see all it can do,” he says. While Stretch is physically capable of doing many things (and Henry has extended those capabilities by designing custom accessories for the robot), one of the biggest challenges for the user is finding the right way to tell the robot exactly how to do what you want it to do.
The graphical user interface that Henry developed to control Stretch uses multiple camera views and large onscreen buttons to make it easier for Henry to do tasks like feeding himself.Julian Mehu/Hello Robot
Henry collaborated with the researchers to develop his own graphical user interface to make manual control of Stretch easier, with multiple camera views and large onscreen buttons. But Stretch’s potential for partially or fully autonomous operation is ultimately what will make the robot most successful. The robot relies on “a very particular kind of autonomy, called assistive autonomy,” Jane explains. “That is, Henry is in control of the robot, but the robot is making it easier for Henry to do what he wants to do.” Picking up his scratching tool, for example, is tedious and time consuming under manual control, because the robot has to be moved into exactly the right position to grasp the tool. Assistive autonomy gives Henry higher-level control, so that he can direct Stretch to move into the right position on its own. Stretch now has a menu of prerecorded movement subroutines that Henry can choose from. “I can train the robot to perform a series of movements quickly, but I’m still in complete control of what those movements are,” he says.
Henry adds that getting the robot’s assistive autonomy to a point where it’s functional and easy to use is the biggest challenge right now. Stretch can autonomously navigate through the house, and the arm and gripper can be controlled reliably as well. But more work needs to be done on providing simple interfaces (like voice control), and on making sure that the robot is easy to turn on and doesn’t shut itself off unexpectedly. It is, after all, still research hardware. Once the challenges with autonomy, interfaces, and reliability are addressed, Henry says, “the conversation will turn to cost issues.”
Henry Evans uses a Stretch robot to feed himself scrambled eggs.Vy Nguyen/Hello Robot
A $20,000 price tag for a robot is substantial, and the question is whether Stretch can become useful enough to justify its cost for people with cognitive and physical impairments. “We’re going to keep iterating to make Stretch more affordable,” says Hello Robot’s Charlie Kemp. “We want to make robots for the home that can be used by everyone, and we know that affordability is a requirement for most homes.”
But even at its current price, if Stretch is able to reduce the need for a human caregiver in some situations, the robot will start to pay for itself. Human care is very expensive—the nationwide average is over $5,000 per month for a home health aide, which is simply unaffordable for many people, and a robot that could reduce the need for human care by a few hours a week would pay for itself within just a few years. And this isn’t taking into account the value of care given by relatives. Even for the Evanses, who do have a hired caregiver, much of Henry’s daily care falls to Jane. This is a common situation for families to find themselves in, and it’s also where Stretch can be especially helpful: by allowing people like Henry to manage more of their own needs without having to rely exclusively on someone else’s help.
Henry Evans uses his custom graphical user interface to control the Stretch robot to pick up a towel, place the towel in a laundry basket, and then tow the laundry basket to the laundry room.Vy Nguyen/Hello Robot
Stretch does still have some significant limitations. The robot can lift only about 2 kilograms, so it can’t manipulate Henry’s body or limbs, for example. It also has no way of going up and down stairs, is not designed to go outside, and still requires a lot of technical intervention. And no matter how capable Stretch (or robots like Stretch) become, Jane Evans is sure they will never be able to replace human caregivers, nor would she want them to. “It’s the look in the eye from one person to another,” she says. “It’s the words that come out of you, the emotions. The human touch is so important. That understanding, that compassion—a robot cannot replace that.”
Stretch may still be a long way from becoming a consumer product, but there’s certainly interest in it, says Nguyen. “I’ve spoken with other people who have paralysis, and they would like a Stretch to promote their independence and reduce the amount of assistance they frequently ask their caregivers to provide.” Perhaps we should judge an assistive robot’s usefulness not by the tasks it can perform for a patient, but rather on what the robot represents for that patient, and for their family and caregivers. Henry and Jane’s experience shows that even a robot with limited capabilities can have an enormous impact on the user. As robots get more capable, that impact will only increase.
“I definitely see robots like Stretch being in people’s homes,” says Jane. “When, is the question? I don’t feel like it’s eons away. I think we are getting close.” Helpful home robots can’t come soon enough, as Jane reminds us: “We are all going to be there one day, in some way, shape, or form.” Human society is aging rapidly. Most of us will eventually need some assistance with activities of daily living, and before then, we’ll be assisting our friends and family. Robots have the potential to ease that burden for everyone.
And for Henry Evans, Stretch is already making a difference. “They say the last thing to die is hope,” Henry says. “For the severely disabled, for whom miraculous medical breakthroughs don’t seem feasible in our lifetimes, robots are the best hope for significant independence.”
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Blue-Collar Workers Are the New Social Media Stars
It was another busy day for the crew of the Rest-Ashoar, a lobster fishing boat that works the waters off the rocky coast of Winter Harbor, Maine. The captain, Jacob Knowles, had gotten up at 3 a.m. on a brisk October morning and took his vessel 10 miles into the ocean.
Using a hydraulic hauler, buoys and ropes, Mr. Knowles, Keith Potter (the stern man) and Coty White (the third man) hauled up 400 wire traps over the next 10 hours. They pulled legal-size lobsters — at least 3.25 inches but not over 5 inches, from its eye to the back of its shell — from each baited cage and tossed back the smaller ones. As the boat listed in the rolling waves, they heaved the empty traps back overboard.
Even while doing the grueling work of commercial fishermen, the crew was engaged in another job: filming a video.
Over the past two years, Mr. Knowles, 30, has amassed a large audience on social media by sharing snippets of his workday with his 2.5 million followers on TikTok and nearly 400,000 followers on Instagram. Wearing an orange Grundens rubber fishing bib and a matching coat, he stands on the deck and, in a Down East accent, gives tutorials about, say, lobster reproductivity, or how to remove barnacles from the shells of crabs.
In September, the Rest-Ashoar added a fourth crew member: Griffin Buckwalter, 20, a videographer. On fishing trips, he often sits in the cabin, editing footage on a laptop.
Mr. Knowles is one of several people in what are considered blue-collar jobs who use social media to offer a window into their lives. Their videos are about as far as you can get from the “get ready with me” makeup videos that are a TikTok staple, resembling instead a social media version of “Dirty Jobs,” the long-running show on the Discovery Channel. In some cases, as with Mr. Knowles, these hard-working influencers have signed sponsorship deals with brands, giving them an additional source of income.
Another popular online figure who works outdoors is Adam Perry, a tree trimmer in England, who has racked up 245,000 followers on Instagram by posting videos of himself scaling trees with a chain saw and tying knots with names like double Portuguese bowline and clove hitch. There is also Hannah Jackson, who herds sheep in the rolling hills of Cumbria, England, and goes by theredshepherdess on TikTok, where she has 100,000 followers. A recent post introduced her new herding dog, Mick.
Ms. Jackson, 31, said her feed appeals to “people who are in a little more of a townie setting.” “Probably because I explain farming in a really easy way,” she said. “People feel quite comfortable that they can ask questions and not feel stupid.”
With her red hair and cheeky humor, Ms. Jackson is a striking presence, and she has parlayed her online success into a memoir that was a best seller in England. She has also appeared on the BBC show “Countryfile” and signed sponsorship deals with Can-Am, which makes off-road vehicles, and other companies.
“It really helps support the farm,” she said of the money she earns through posting.
The audience for these creators includes people who do their jobs from their desks. Michael Williams, who runs A Continuous Lean, the men’s style site turned newsletter, said he follows the social media accounts of a mechanic, an electrician and a long-haul truck driver.
He said he especially liked the posts of Robert Allen, a pilot with nearly 400,000 TikTok followers whose videos spotlight a niche of the aviation industry. Mr. Allen, known online as CaptainBob, is a founder of Nomadic Aviation, a company that ferries planes around the world when they are sold, brought in for maintenance or converted from commercial airliners into cargo jets.
“He’s in all these weird places in the world, doing a cargo conversion,” Mr. Williams said. “If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s very compelling.”
The lobsterman, the shepherd and the pilot have little in common with the young fashion and lifestyle creators who rose to prominence more than a decade ago. These earlier online influencers built their followings by showcasing their personal style or by offering beauty, decorating or parenting tips. The savviest among them turned online fame into cash through brand partnerships.
“When we think of influencers, we think of a blond woman wearing a two-piece outfit, holding a designer purse and posed on a hotel balcony,” said Alice Marwick, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose research focuses on social media.
That’s largely because Instagram was suited to promoting aspirational lifestyle content when it arrived as a photo sharing app in 2010. “It has an aesthetic quality that lends itself to beauty, lifestyle, travel, food — these very curated, highly visual areas,” Professor Marwick said.
A parallel strain of social media fame centered on male YouTubers like Jake Paul and MrBeast, who relied on spectacle, quick-cut editing and bluster to build large followings, especially among young men.
When TikTok took off, its short-form videos were rawer, more unfiltered, and people could go viral just because they were able to say interesting things to the smartphone camera or had an unusual lifestyle. “That’s where we’re getting these blue-collar influencers,” Professor Marwick said. “We know these jobs exist, but we don’t really know what it’s like behind the scenes.”
Ms. Jackson said that, while growing up, she didn’t know farming was something you could do for a living without being born into it, and she had no female role models. She frequently hears from women from all walks of life who thank her for showing her day-to-day life. “It’s women in general being a bit more brave and trying things society thinks they shouldn’t,” Ms. Jackson said.
Authenticity seems to be another draw. The blue-collar creators don’t live in content houses in Los Angeles, their feeds aren’t (yet) cluttered with sponsored posts, and they don’t appear to be using social media as a springboard to internet fame, given that they have dedicated years to working a trade.
Mr. Allen’s videos often feature a package of peanut M&Ms somewhere in the pilot’s cabin. He calls the candy his good luck charm and makes sure he stocks up before embarking on any international flights. Reached by video call in London, Mr. Allen, 57, laughed at the suggestion that he was being paid by Mars, the candy’s maker.
“M&M’s should be paying me,” he said, adding, “I think they’re unaware.”
His route to TikTok fame was unlikely. He was an investor in a company that makes bug repellents, including a bedbug killer that debuted around the time the pandemic hit and hotels closed. To help sell the product, he said, he studied up on social media marketing and joined TikTok.
“Nobody cared about these bedbug products, but they were asking me, ‘Where are you flying?’ ‘What do you do?’ ‘Show more of the airplane,’” Mr. Allen recalled. “There are a lot of people interested in aviation, apparently. I really had no idea.”
Many of his followers, he said, are people who, for various reasons, are unable to hop on a plane and see the world. And they see him as a regular guy. “I’m eating terrible,” Mr. Allen said. “I’m not getting the proper rest. I’m getting my catering from convenience stores. There’s guys like truckers that can relate to that.”
Mr. Allen’s account has also become an inspiration for some young aviators — not least because pilots and crew members working for commercial airlines are barred by their employers from posting the sort of revealing content that he shares.
When he recently delivered a plane to Sanford, Fla., Mr. Allen was greeted like a celebrity by Drew Cripe, 21, a pilot working toward his airline transportation license.
“When you’re, like me, still trying to build hours to get to the airlines, you know about the pay, you know about the daily flying of Point A to Point B, but you never get to see the behind the scenes,” Mr. Cripe said. “Bob is well known around my flight school because he provides such an insight into that airliner world.”
It helps that the Kentucky-born Mr. Allen is a natural on camera, with a smooth drawl and a love for aviation that comes through in his videos.
Joe Seppi, the long-haul trucker Mr. Williams follows, has found social media fame, has a curmudgeonly personality and dry humor that bonds him with his fans. Standing beside his rig along a busy freeway, the big-bearded, ball-cap-wearing Mr. Seppi will grumble about having to drive an automatic instead of manual transmission or some other workplace issue, then parry with followers who leave comments.
Despite his job and remote location, Mr. Knowles, whose family has been in the lobster business for generations, is something of an online veteran. He said he started posting videos to YouTube about his hunting and fishing adventures in northern Maine as a teenager. Three months ago, he signed with Greenlight Group, a talent management company.
“We monitor creators who are homespun and blue-collar, like Jacob,” said Doug Landers, a founder of the agency. The firm also represents Gabriel Feitosa, a dog groomer with 2.3 million TikTok followers, and Jordan Howlett (known as Jordan the Stallion), who has amassed 11 million followers on TikTok with videos about the fast-food restaurants where he once worked.
Mr. Landers said that he has been brokering brand partnerships for Mr. Knowles and helping him expand his “narrative bubble” beyond the deck of the Rest-Ashoar.
Sitting in the cluttered gang room of the Winter Harbor Coop, the office shack for fishermen, Mr. Knowles was wearing a black heavyweight hoodie by American Giant — his first significant brand partnership. He has also recently signed deals with BetterHelp, a mental health platform; CapCut, a maker of graphic design tools; and AG1, a nutritional supplement.
He recalled how he stumbled into viral fame in 2020 after posting a TikTok video explaining the meaning of “egger” — an egg-laden female lobster that, when caught by a fisherman, is given a V-notch in its tale in an effort toward keeping fisheries sustainable.
“After she has a V-notch, she’s illegal to keep for the rest of her life,” Mr. Knowles said. “When I posted that one, it went mega-viral.”
He and his wife have three young children, so he has welcomed the money from sponsorship deals, he said. Besides, his TikTok sideline makes the monotony of long days on the water pass more quickly. “We’re out there for 10 hours with nothing to do except talk,” he said.
These days, the captain and his crew dream up ideas for TikTok. Their videos have become more goofy and semi-scripted as their following has grown. When Mr. White joined the boat as the third man, he attempted to roll on a log drifting in the frigid ocean for his initiation video.
Indeed, Mr. Knowles seems on the precipice of something few, if any, lobstermen have ever faced. If more brand deals come about, and if his following continues to grow, he may soon earn more for his posts than for his catches. He would become a kind of actor, then, playing the role of a rugged Maine lobsterman. And that would be fine by him.
“It’s hard on your body, hard on your back,” Mr. Knowles said of lobstering. “I love it, and I probably will always do it, but I’d like to get to the point where I’m doing it for fun. Not so I have to wake up at 3 a.m. and go do it.”
Christianity vs Judaism Explained: Key Differences and Similarities
Judaism and Christianity are both monotheistic religions that are among the oldest and largest faiths in the world. Even with those similarities between Judaism and Christianity, these two belief systems are more different than they are alike. To better understand how these faiths differ, review some key differences in Judaism vs. Christianity.
The Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible is a central religious text in Judaism and Christianity alike. However, the two religions do not interpret the Old Testament in the same ways.
- Christians view the Old Testament as the first part of a story, which is completed in the New Testament through the Salvation of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
- In Judaism, the central message of the Old Testament focuses on how God called Abraham to lead and set an example of obedience to the word of God.
The New Testament of the Bible is integral to Christianity but is not part of Judaism at all. It focuses on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Torah represents the first part of the Jewish Bible. It is made up of the first five books of the Old Testament. Because the Old Testament is part of Christianity, Jews and Christians alike accept these books.
- Jews believe that the Torah specifies God’s instructions for how Jews should live. They believe that the Torah was dictated to Moses directly by God.
- These five books are simply considered part of the Old Testament in Christianity. They aren’t any more or less significant than the rest of the Old Testament.
Judaism and Christianity do not share common beliefs about the nature of God as a divine being.
- In Christianity, God is viewed as a Holy Trinity, consisting of the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that Jesus became man.
- Judaism is based on the concept of the Oneness of God as a sole divine being.
In both Judaism and Christianity, Jerusalem is viewed as a sacred place of great religious significance.
- The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the most sacred site in Judaism, largely due to the temples that once stood there. Jewish people face Jerusalem when they pray.
- Jerusalem is important in Christianity because of its role in the life of Jesus. It is where he lived and ministered as well as where he was crucified and resurrected.
The most recognizable symbol of Judaism is the Star of David. The most recognizable symbol of Christianity is the cross.
There are a few similarities Between Judaism and Christianity. Key aspects of faith shared by both religions include:
- monotheism (belief in a single God)
- the Old Testament of Hebrew Bible
- the 10 Commandments
The chart below provides a quick overview of the key similarities between Christianity and Judaism. In the table below, the “X” symbol indicates that the listed item is part of a particular religion, while the “-” sign indicates that it is not.
|Jesus as Messiah||–||X|
|God became man||–||X|
|Monotheistic (one God)||X||X|
|The 10 Commandments||X||X|
|Significance of Jerusalem||X||X|
|Star of David symbol||X||–|
Now that you understand the key differences between Judaism and Christianity as well as some of the similarities between these faiths, take the time to learn more about their basic beliefs, as well as those of other major religions. Start by exploring the five major world religions and their basic beliefs. Then, focus on learning the 5 pillars of Islam.
Sendwave, popular Money Mobile Service used by many Kenyans in US, accused of impropriety, ordered to refund $1.5 M and pay $1.5M in penalty
The US government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken action against Chime Inc. for what it calls “deceiving consumers about the speed and cost of remittance transfers through its mobile app, Sendwave.”
The Bureau says Chime also illegally forced consumers to waive their legal rights, failed to provide consumers with legally required disclosures and receipts, and failed to properly investigate consumer disputes and errors. The CFPB is ordering Chime to refund affected consumers nearly $1.5 million in fees and pay a $1.5 million penalty into the CFPB’s victims relief fund.
“Sendwave put illegal fine print into their contracts and tricked people who were sending money to their family overseas,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB is carefully watching companies launching mobile payment transfer apps seeking to gain an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors.”
Chime (doing business as Sendwave) is a nonbank fintech company incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Boston. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of WorldRemit, which had total revenues of nearly $400 million in 2021. Through the Sendwave app, consumers are able to send money internationally, primarily to countries in Africa and Asia. Recipients receive the remittance transfers by delivery to a mobile wallet, bank account, or in-person cash pick-up.
Americans typically send remittances to family or other loved ones living abroad. These remittance transfers total in the billions of dollars, and are considered essential services to deliver resources to families in foreign countries.
The CFPB found that Chime violated the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the CFPB’s Remittance Transfer Rule. Specifically, Chime:
- Forced consumers to waive their legal protections: Sendwave users were required to sign a “remittance services agreement,” which protected Chime from being responsible for losses the consumer incurred through use of the Sendwave app. As part of that remittance services agreement, Chime also limited its liability for damages to $1,000. Both of these provisions illegally restricted consumer rights afforded under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
- Made false promises about the speed and cost of remittance transfers: Chime’s marketing on social media platforms deceptively told consumers that Sendwave remittance transfers would be delivered “instantly,” in “30 seconds,” or “within seconds.” In many cases, these transfers took much longer. Chime also misrepresented to consumers how much it would cost to send money from the United States to Nigeria, telling consumers those transfers would incur “no fees” when in fact consumers were charged fees.
- Failed to provide required disclosures: Chime did not accurately disclose the date by which funds would become available to certain recipients, and also failed to accurately represent the exchange rates to the correct decimal as required by law.
- Failed to track, investigate, and resolve errors: Chime did not have proper policies and procedures in place to find and track remittance transfer errors, nor did the company conduct proper investigations upon notification of errors.
- Failed to provide receipts in a timely manner: The Remittance Transfer Rule requires a provider offering remittance transfers solely through a mobile app to provide the consumer with a receipt within one business day of payment. The company would instead wait until funds were electronically delivered to the recipient before providing a receipt, which sometimes took more than a business day.
Since the beginning of 2022, the CFPB has taken numerous actions against other remittance providers, including Choice Money, Servicio UniTeller, and Moneygram. The CFPB has also proposed a new rule that would require nonbank companies, including those providing remittance transfers, to submit their terms and conditions to the CFPB to be included in a public registry.
Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions violating consumer financial laws, including engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. The CFPB found that Chime violated the CFPA’s prohibition on deceptive acts and practices by misrepresenting to consumers the speed and cost of its remittance transfers. Chime also violated the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the Remittance Transfer Rule by failing to comply with error resolution requirements, provide required information in disclosures in a timely manner, and maintain required policies and procedures.
The CFPB’s order requires Chime to:
- Refund fees to affected consumers: Chime must refund certain charges to consumers who sent remittance transfers from the United States to Nigeria during the time Chime was deceptively marketing its transfers as fee-free. Chime must also refund any fees consumers paid when the Sendwave app promised delivery by a certain date and then failed to deliver the funds to the designated recipient by that date.
- Pay $1.5 million into the CFPB victims relief fund: Chime is required to pay a $1.5 million penalty, which will be deposited into the CFPB victims relief fund.
The CFPB has more information on money transfers on its website, including what a consumer’s rights are when sending money abroad. Consumers can submit complaints about financial products or services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).
Employees of companies who they believe their company has violated federal consumer financial laws are encouraged to send information about what they know to email@example.com.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.
What the CFPB is
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, often simply called the CFPB, is a U.S. government agency. Prior to the CFPB’s founding, responsibilities for consumer protections fell to seven government agencies. The CFPB consolidated those responsibilities under one director, appointed by the president of the United States.
The CFPB employs more than 1,500 people in five divisions: Consumer Education and External Affairs; Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending; Research, Monitoring and Regulations; Legal; and Operations.
Its regular activities include protecting against unfair, deceptive or abusive acts, and efforts to enforce existing consumer financial protection laws. Through the complaint process and financial education, the CFPB does great work to protect Americans from bad actors in a broad range of sectors in the financial industry.
A brief history of the CFPB
The Obama administration pointed to weak and scattered financial-regulatory agencies as part of the cause of the Great Recession. In a speech promoting the CFPB, President Obama explained that regulators either didn’t have the authority or didn’t act to prevent the chain of events that led to a near economic collapse during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Congress created the CFPB to fix those problems.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was charged with the task of launching the agency. And former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray became the bureau’s first director.
The CFPB is not without its detractors. Republicans and conservative groups have argued that the agency is an example of government overreach and that its powers should be limited. When President Trump took office, the CFPB landed in the headlines as the president and other Republicans made a concerted effort to minimize the bureau’s powers.
After a high-profile dispute over the top office at the CFPB, Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney, a well-known critic of the organization, as its acting director. Mulvaney continued in this role until Kathleen Kraninger was appointed director in December 2018. In 2022, Rohit Chopra was appointed director.
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