Support products for motor impairment

Support products to improve social integration

This section includes the products that help in the displacement, in the manipulation of objects, in the control of the environment and in the improvement of communication.

Support for comunication

The developments to achieve augmentative and alternative communication (SAC) have a long tradition. They are necessary in situations in which speech is affected and/or in which the cognitive state leads to a decline in their functions. There are products that are functional by themselves and others are softwares for computers and tablets.

Comunicators

They are portable devices such as the Attainment Talker and VoicePal from Adaptivation Inc., the ChatBox from Minspeak, the Go Talk from Attainment Co., Lingo from AbleNet, Logan from ProxTalker, the Smart family from AMDi, Tobii, the LightWriter communicator, or QuickTalker from AbleNet. Many use pictograms and are indicated for primary education levels or for people with impaired cognitive abilities.

  • QuicTalker, for example, has the particularity that it can be installable in any type of computer software, using augmentative systems of communication or through literary skills. It is one of the most affordable in the market.
  • LigthWriter is the type of communicator that would be minimally recommended for people in the higher education environment.
  • SICLA - Communicator System of Alternative Languages, of Fundación Telefónica, ASPACEHU (ASPACE distributes the software free of charge) and others which may be helpful for people with motor and literary problems who cannot access the PC through traditional means and who can not understand written conventional languages.
  • Plaphoons allows to communicate through pictograms and/or writing. You can record set phrases and synthesize new ones in real time.
  • AssistiveWare launched Proloquo4Text in 2013, a text communicator with prediction of words and phrases for mobile devices with Apple's IOS operating system. Includes a history of written phrases, includes several languages and voices. It facilitates communication with people with speech difficulties.
  • Other communicators for iOS Ablah from MaizApps, Alexicom AAC from Alexicom Tech., DIME from Dime Technology for all, e-Mintza SymWriter from Widgit, Boardmaker, ShowMe. The accessibility site of Apple has a good list of new applications https://www.apple.com/accessibility/resources/macosx.html
  • The Grid is the type of communicator that dynamically allows to handle symbols, text, has speech synthesis and allows to manage the computer.
  • Tobii Dynavox also has dynamic communicators with voice synthesis and PC management in the style of The Grid. It also includes the possibility of managing other external devices to the PC via infrared. This company also has other types of communicators adapted to the level of user performance in terms of augmentative and alternative communication systems.

Communication softwares

In the higher education environment, perhaps the most useful system is that of computer programs in a PC and allow its management by the versatility of the device.

Support for mobility

Access to devices in general

  • There are positioning arms and fixing systems. They help to place and maintain fixed devices so that they are within the reach of the user. Articulated arms and trays are the usual products of this category.

Environment control systems

  • In this subsection we find devices that allow programming and controlling the operation of other devices, often wirelessly. The related term Domotics is used. There are automatism and control devices, remote controls and on/off modules.

Special wheelchairs

  • Some wheelchairs are designed with special functions, such as those that help raise the body and keep sitting, useful in laboratory practices where work tables are higher.

  • Other products are used to allow wheelchairs to be transported, such as stairlift caterpillars that are attached to wheelchairs and allow to go down and up stairs if they are not adapted with lifting mechanisms.

 

Support products for learning

Devices and bearing supports for the management of multimedia technologies, for the management of audiovisual and video information.

Access to reading

  • Lecterns that facilitate the handling of bibliographic information..

  • Forearm supports for the desk. Interesting for people with loss of strength in the arms who cannot keep them in the air or it takes a lot of effort, when they go to work in front of the computer installed on a desk.

Class tracking

  • Adapted furniture.
  • For taking notes: Voice recorders. Dictation of voice (software).
  • For accessing information and communication: Alternative and augmentative communication systems.
  • To conduct examinations using support products and adapted to them.

Access to Virtual Learning Platforms

  • Design of accessible environments. Simulation of dangerous environments.

 

Assistive products for access to the computer

Help for the keyboard

  • Special keyboards have been developed. They allow different configurations with customized templates and with casings that prevent the involuntary pressing of several keys at the same time. Synapse Intellikeys Adaptive is an example of this type of keyboards. It is programmable, valid for Mac and Windows environment. And it can be applied to a wide range of difficulties, visual, physical, cognitive.
  • In addition, metal casings are available to prevent undesired keystrokes until the finger is inserted into the slot. They also allow resing on the keyboard without pressing any specific key.

Help for the mouse

  • This sub-section includes push buttons and switches that replace the conventional mouse used in computers. There are multiple shapes, colors and activable in various ways, by pressure, blow, joystick type trackball, others with almost imperceptible movements of the body, eyes, mouth, etc... Also included are the interfaces that allow combining several types of switches, mouse of:
    • Pulsadores Bjoy Clic, el de Jelly Beam, de Specs, de Logitech, o el IntegraMouse,
    • Buttons Bjoy Clic, Jelly Beam, Specs, Logitech, or IntegraMouse,
    • OPM-300 mouth,
    • N-ABLER ball, the Optimax ball mouse,
    • SmartNav head,
    • Joystick OPM-200,
    • Chin HelpiClick,
    • Visual Mytobii,
  • Vivaposi and Elo touch monitor are examples among many. Some are touchpad type that allow with slight movements of the fingers to handle the mouse pointer, like the TouchPad SmartCat of Adesso.

Voice recognition programs

  • Sometimes you choose software to dictate your voice to the computer. These are programs that have made a lot of progress in the recognition of the voice but that still involve some training for a good recognition. We have examples like Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which is maintained and improved every day.

Management programs/replacement of the mouse and/or keyboard

In cases where the motor rest is very limited, the support products have evolved through projects in our national scope. Examples like Iriscom, HeadDev and HeadMouse.

  • IIriscom - Control of the computer with the eyes driven by the association of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ADELA.
  • In the same line Tobii has various eye-tracking products, or eye tracking to manage the mouse.
  • HeadDev - Facial mouse from the University of the Balearic Islands (free software + standard USB webcam)
  • HeadMouse - Facial mouse from the Robotics Group of the University of Lleida (free software + standard USB webcam). To manage the PC mouse with the head movements. Through artificial vision mechanisms, the movements of the user's head become the mouse’s movements on the screen. Currently you can program macros of key sequences and commands to execute programs, files and web pages. It can be downloaded for free at the address of Indra https://www.tecnologiasaccesibles.com/en/catedras/headmouse
  • Apple includes in its products, features such as Multi-Touch, Slow Keys, Mouse Keys and Sticky Keys that allow to replace the classic mouse. In addition you can automate certain actions with a programmer, Automator, to reduce several steps to a single click.

In other cases, it has been decided to develop computer programs that replace the keyboard and the mouse, such as: VirtualKeyboard, Keeble, Click n Type or Wivik to name a few.

  • VirtualKeyboard is a virtual keyboard solution that allows you to write texts using any device capable of controlling the cursor on the screen (mouse, joystick, touchpad). Designed for people with reduced mobility or problems with the use of conventional keyboards, the VirtualKeyboard integrates perfectly with the HeadMouse. Predicts the next word, learns from the user and is able to save up to 40% of the pulsations needed to write a text. It also includes five dictionaries that incorporate the most common words in the languages: Spanish, English, French and Italian. It is free and can be downloaded at Indra https://www.tecnologiasaccesibles.com/en/content/virtualkeyboard
  • Keeble is a virtual keyboard that allows people with motor and/or vision impairment to improve their writing through IOS devices. Developed by AssistiveWare, it has auditory feedback while writing and predicting texts, as well as the possibility of customizing the layout in the keyboard template, changing colors, etc.
  • Click n Type is another type of virtual keyboard that allows you to perform all the functions of a standard keyboard, by clicking with the mouse or with a mouse emulator. It incorporates a word predictor. It is recommended to use with monitors over 21 ". Wivik is another example of virtual keyboard in the style of Click n Type.
  • Point n Click, is indicated for people who use head mouse or for those who use another type of mouse but who have difficulty activating button functions, due to lack of precision or involuntary movements.