IndieGo Device Converts Any Wheelchair Into a Power Chair

Indiego image of open source wheelchair conversion

via indieGo Device Converts Any Wheelchair Into a Power Chair — The Mighty

Megan Zahneis, author at The Mighty, writes about an indieGo project involving equipment that can conversion any wheelchair into a power chair. This project is creating an open source power add on which converts any wheelchair to a power chair.

The initiative is  being developed and funded with the  Center for Discovery, Hurleyville Maker Lab and a grant from Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities.  shared on The Mighty Blog or on the Center for Discovery website.

Another cool new innovation supporting the needs of individuals with disabilities. It is proposed to be available in 2017.

So many wonderful innovations!

Carol

Posted in Accessibility, Adaptive Music, Google, Mobility Impairment, Special Needs | Leave a comment

Reveal, A Wareable Band the Records Physiological Responses to Anxiety

tumblr_inline_o7n188MLIb1u9sg6e_540

Awake Labs, is developing an electronic band that to help children on the Autism Spectrum. Currently an Indiegogo project, wearable measures and tracks anxiety to understand behavior and predict behavior meltdowns. Called Reveal, this project is projected for commercialization in early 2017.

Here is more about this exciting innovation:

Reveal is targeted the individuals with Autism but has implications for other individuals who may have behavioral challenges due to stress and anxiety. The wearable will provide information to caretakers as well as the user.

An exciting innovation to assist with self regulation! Think of the children this might help identify sensory or behavioral strategies!

More for your OT mTool Kit.

Carol

 

Posted in Apps for OT's, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Autism, Emotions, Mental Health, Occupational Therapy, Special education, Wearable technology | Leave a comment

Guided Access and Switch Recipes

The Assistive Technology Daily shares updated information from Ian Bean on new features in iOS 9 for switch access. Many upgrades of accessibility features are available within iOS 9 as posted by the AT Daily folks.

Guided Access and Switch Recipes These two features available as standard in iPads and iPhones (iOS9 onwards) can make all kinds of things easier for all types of users. You can try them even if you don’t own a switch. This PDF download can help you get set-up straight away: iOS Switch Recipes for Beginners.1.…

via One Switch – iOS: Easier Switch Access — The Assistive Technology Daily

H/T to Assistive Technology Daily for their continual curation of all things AT and for the resources of Ian Bean, a switch access guru. Ian Bean has wonderful resources on his website ( Ian Bean Special Education Needs ICT and Computing ) to support switch  users and those that support them.

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Styluses are Available for Mobile Devices Presently?

 What styluses are available these day?

Questions about styluses are often posted. Styluses have come and gone  with some reappearing after reorganization of some of the vendors. Here is a review of some favorite styluses for big and little fingers that are currently available and the links to the vendors.

Styluses for Little Fingers

Styluses for kids are unique due to the durability and grasp affordances. Accuracy with positioning the stylus in various positions is also important if used to promote progression of a more mature grasp. Here is what I have found currently available:

  1. Cosmonaut Stylus – (25.00) Remains an expensive stylus, but found to be a durable, weighted tool for students to use. Probably not good for sensory seeking chewers who like the feel of the rubber tip.

cosmonaut stylus

2. Kensington Gummi – (9.99) A small rubber tipped stylus for small hands. Available in different colors.

Kensington Gummi stylus

3. Infinite Aluminum Easy Grip – (6.95) – Stylus with aluminum shaft for easy gripping. Although I don’t own this stylus, similar styluses provided weight for additional proprioceptive feedback for those sensory seeking students.

Infinite aluminum stylus

4. Suck UK Stylus – (10.36) – Another chunky stylus that can work for small hands.

SUCK stylus

5. No. 2 Pencil stylus – (19.99 for pack of 2) – Similar to the Suck Stylus, this stubby stylus has replacement tips.

No. 2 pencil stylus       No. 2 pencil stylus replacement tips

6. Kamor Stylus – (4.99) – Has a mesh tip and a chubby shaft for small, young hands to grasp. I have not used this stylus yet (it is on its way…), but looks promising and at a low cost.

Kamor stylus

Unfortunately the Dano Stylus, a popular stylus of OT’s is no longer available. On an occasion, it can be found on sale from a 3rd party on Amazon, although you may pay dearly for it ( 36.20 – 1 available on Amazon on 7/4/2016 – Dano Stylus )

Styluses for Big Hands

Here are a few styluses for more mature users who are looking for accuracy and control:

  1. Lyntec TrueGlide Stylus – (9.99) This is one of my favorite generic styluses due to its mesh tip which I find is more accurate positioned in a variety of angles for ease of use and input.

Lyntec mesh stylus

2. Adonit Jot Mini – (19.99) Offers refined written input using a tip with a disk for connectivity with use of an iPad. Disk tip replacements are available.

Adonit Mini stylus

3. Elago Stylus– (13.99) This three sided stylus provides a slimmer shaft but a comfortable grip. Replacement tips are available.

Elago stylus

5. The Pencil Grip Ergonomic Stylus – (18.14) This weighted stylus with The Grip applied can be used with right or left hand.

The Pencil Grip ERgo Stylus

Adaptive Styluses

These unique styluses are adapted for individuals with grasping and strength challenges.

1. Caduceus iFaraday Stylus –  (22-25.00) Fortunately this stylus is back on the market for purchase. It is one of a kind with a bendable shaft that is extremely light weight that can be adapted to many hands and wrist for positioning purposes. I recommend adding the SALT tip ( mesh tip) for best accuracy with use with minimal pressure and from different angles. This is an incredible, adaptive stylus! Replacement tips are available.

Caduceus stylus

2. Stylus-R-Us Telescoping Stylus – ( check website for pricing). Telescoping Styluses as well as other styluses are available at Stylus R US. These styluses are somewhat pricey but very accurate and well made. Contact the developer if you are looking for something unique for an individual with a disability.

Stylus the Big Screen Jr. pic

3. Sixth Digit – (29.00) – This Sixth Digit device can be used for tablet input as well as for many pointing tasks. Adjustable, tip replacements available Clever.Sixth digit stylus device

4. Hand Pointer from RJ Cooper – (29.00) – This adaptive stylus has a great strapping system to secure the stylus to a hand in multiple positions.

 RJ cooper handpointer stylus pic

Note : Mouth pointer styluses are listed in the equipment menu on OT’s with Apps Blog.

Certainly there are many more styluses, however the above styluses are recommended from experience with use of almost all of them.

What stylus do you recommend for your mobile device tool kit?

Carol – OT’s with Apps

Posted in Accessibility, Accessories, Android, Assistive Technology, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mobility Impairment, Occupational Therapy, Physical Disability Tool, Stylus | 1 Comment

Converting Hard Copy Text to Digital Format

scanning

I can’t tell you how often I talk with clients about methods of converting hard copy text/papers to digital format for purposes of accessing information using text to speech, completing forms or for organizational reasons. Whatever the reason there are many ways of completing this task using portable devices such as portable scanners, scanning mice or  a mobile device with a camera and apps.  So what might be some good choices?

Using a Mobile Device with a Camera.

One of the most frequently used methods of scanning documents and converting it to electronic format is with the use of a mobile device with a camera. There are a couple of options when using your mobile device: use your camera or use a scanning app.

a. Using your camera to make a digital copy can work when all you need is a copy and quality of the image is not a concern. Taking a picture and storing it in your photo album, emailing it or saving it in a document can work. Lighting and positioning  can cause shadows and a product that may not be centered or flat. If all you need to to view it at a later time, that can work!

b. If a more professional copy is needed to share with a client,  employer or business purpose, use of a OCR Scanning app is recommended. You will still use the camera of your mobile device, but with a scanning app that will literally scan it using OCR- optical character recognition which detects the letters/word and symbols of the image and save it in a format that is readable or editable. The most typical formats are doc., txt or PDF formats that creates readable and editable text document documents.  When using a scanning app, most apps allow cropping, dimming or brightening and some editing capabilities. The scanning process reducing lighting and shadowing problems and allows cropping the scanned image or document to a standard size document creating a professional and cleaner copy. Scanning apps allow you to save the scanned document in a chosen format, and share the document via email, cloud service (dependent on the app) or for use in another app. This method allows easy storing, sharing and retrieval at a later time.

Scanning apps are plentiful for iOS and Android with a variety of features and paired or connected services. Here are a few of my favorite OCR apps:

OCR scanner apps for iOS:

Scanner Pro app by Readdle  (3.99 for iPhone, iPad) Exports to email, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneNote, OneDrive, iCloud, Evernote.

Readiris App ( 14.99 for iPad only) Compatible with VoiceOver.. Exports to email, Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.

Text Grabber (free; iPhone, iPad) Compatible with VoiceOver.. Exports via email, Evernote, Twitter or Facebook

OCR scanning apps for Android:

CamScanner app (1.99); Exports via email, Evernote, OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive.

Genius Scan (free/6.99); Exports via email, Evernote, Dropbox or Box.

Scanbot app (free) ; Exports via email, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox or Box

Portable handheld scanners.

These portable document scanners are small and can be easily carried in a case or back pack. The following portable scanners are rated well and can be easily transported:

Doxie Portable Scanner (  129.00 ). Portable OCR scanner about the size of a paper towel roll and weighing about 1.7 pounds. Scan  Syncs with PC, MAC and iPad using an SD card. No computer required.

Doxie One

Doxie Go Plus (178.00). Portable OCR scanner same as above however longer battery life and higher DPI.

Scanning Mouse.

A scanning mouse can be a portable solution used almost any where to scan in a document when connected to a laptop or

Iris Executive Scanning Mouse 2 (77.00). Move the mouse over a document with scanning feature to input text information and convert to a digital format. Works with Window, Mac. Here is how it works:

There are a number of portable options to convert hard copy text to digital format, allowing individuals access to electronic documents for reading, writing or to organize files. Mobile devices and apps provide an easy method of managing documents for a variety of purposes by individuals with disabilities. With the availability of mobile devices, low cost apps can provide an inexpensive method of converting hard copy to electronic format. Other portable devices also are available to aid managing documents.

More for your OT eTool Kit.

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology

 

 

 

Posted in Accessibility, Accessories, Android, App Reviews, Apps for OT's, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Cause and Effect apps, iPad, iPhone, OCR, Organization, Reading, Scanning, Text to Speech | 2 Comments

AWARE App – Creating Location Services Indoors

The AWARE app image

We are all familiar with GPS systems and most likely use it regularly to assist with locating businesses, homes and other attractions by address or GPS guides us to an address  or location, an essential tool for those of us who travel to and between new destinations. I travel regularly to new client residences or business and I am truly lost when my data plan has lost connection causing the GPS to fail in mapping the route to my destination.

For individuals with disabilities, GPS services are an important tool for their outdoor mobility. What about when they have reached their destination and it is a large complex with many floors with a building or many different  buildings to choose from? It is hard for me sometimes in large buildings or complexes to navigate to the correct room or floor with vision!  Whether an individual with low vision, blindness, intellectual, perceptual or no challenges, we all may have experienced situations where having an indoor guide system would be helpful to reach a destination efficiently and independently.

Check out AWARE app and services created by Sensible Innovations. This exciting and innovative new app and location service provides step by step guidance for indoor venues for individuals with visual impairments. Using the AWARE app (free) and iBeacons, directions for inside venues can be relayed via one way Bluetooth to and individual’s mobile device with the AWARE app. See the AWARE app in action in the YouTube below to gain more information on the app and the system:

Created by Sensible Innovations, this app requires their AWARE app , available for iOS and Android (free).

AWARE app pic 2AWARE app pics

The app requires iBeacons, programed and located strategically  in the venues to provide the user feedback and guidance about locations within the building or area. Think of the possibilities for individuals when iBeacons are located in public places.

Aware app pic3

A recent client with visual impairment  employed at a large convention center experienced difficulty with orientation and navigation, requiring assistance from others to get from one location to another within their work day.  Another client previously had significant perceptual challenges causing difficulty navigating a college campus as a new student. Both clients might benefit from guidance using AWARE app  for greater independence and reduced anxiety in their navigation at a new location. What a great innovation!

It will be exciting to see this service be available in the community and allow greater independence for individuals with disabilities in their navigation in and outside of their destinations!

For more information visit the Sensible Innovations website: ( http://www.sensible-innovations.com/#!aware-app/d45j6   )

More for your OT mTool Kit!

Carol

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, Android, App Reviews, Apps for OT's, Assistive Technology, Environmental Control, Intellectual Disability, Low Vision/ Blindness, Maps, Mobile Device Use, Occupational Therapy, Special Needs, Uncategorized, Wearable technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Web Based Keyboarding Instruction for Students

It is too late for end of the school home programming recommendations, but here are some good web based keyboarding resources from Ask a Tech Teacher for student practice with appropriate progress for gaining keyboarding skills. Pass them or share them out, or add them to your keyboarding book mark for recommendations for next school year.

Teaching kids keyboarding isn’t about finding the perfect online website or downloaded software and setting students lose on a year-long self-directed journey of progressive lessons hoping their speed and accuracy improves. That might work for adults, but it’s a prescription for boredom and failure with K-8 students. They require a mixture of activities, only one…

via 3 Online Keyboarding Programs Students Will Choose — Ask a Tech Teacher

H/T to Jacqui Murray for providing these resources on her Ask a Tech Teacher website. She provides excellent resources and practical information on educational technology.

Carol

Posted in Assistive Technology, Keyboarding, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment