“For people without disabilities, technology makes it better;
For people with disabilities, technology makes it possible…”
John D. Kemp
Cognitopia exhibited and presented on its innovative platform of self-management applications for individuals with cognitive disabilities at the 2017 Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, Florida last month. ATIA is a gathering of people who research, create, manufacture, and use assistive technology — products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.
In addition to sharing our own developments, being at ATIA gave us an opportunity to check out some of the latest in assistive tech and we wanted to share with you a few of the innovative things that we saw while in Orlando.
GlassOuse resembles a pair of glasses except that instead of lenses there is a narrow plastic housing that extends across the user’s eyebrows. It’s a Bluetooth device that substitutes for a mouse or trackpad and is designed to help individuals with upper extremity limitations perform any function that can be controlled through a computer, tablet or other mobile device.
Once connected wirelessly via Bluetooth, GlassOuse uses microelectromechanical (MEM) sensors that translate small head movements into actions. However you move your head, the onscreen cursor moves in corresponding fashion. A bite switch hangs down like a headset boom microphone and can be used to make mouse clicks. It may be adaptable for use with other switches as well. The coolest thing is that unlike existing handsfree solutions of this kind, it requires no camera or infrared receiver to track head movements. You just pair it up and go.
Retail price: $399
Sunu Band is a smart watch specifically designed for people who are blind or have serious vision impairments. It communicates time with haptic vibrational feedback, but the really cool thing about this device is that it has a sonar port that detects people or objects within its field of view, communicating their proximity through variable vibration as well.
The Sunu Band also connects with Sunu Tag, a beacon device that is used to track and find personal articles using Bluetooth technology, with the band pulsating more frequently the closer it moves towards the tag. As with the Glassouse, the Sunu list price of $249 seems eminently reasonable for the functionality that’s offered.
jDome Bike Around
jDome BikeAround is a wraparound half-dome projector screen that immerses a stationary bicycle in a projected video stream of Google Street View, which can pull up any location the user desires for which Street View is available. The system is designed as a reminiscence and physical exercise solution for individuals with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. When the user peddles, stops, speeds up, turns, or slows down, the Street View responds accordingly.
Retail Price: Not listed, contact the sales department for a quote.
Capti Narrator is a screen reader web application that can be used on any browser-capable computer, table or smart phone. It provides a high quality mobile text-to-speech solution that benefits people with vision impairments and dyslexia, but could be useful for typically-abled individuals as well.
By making the consumption of reading material both eyes- and hands-free, the universally accessible audiobook technology offers a versatile way to consume media that also lets you easily save material and create play lists for later listening. Capti Narrator also provides continuous listening across devices so you can start on one device, like your computer, and pick up where you left off on another one, like your phone.
Retail price: Base product is free, Premium Account $1.99 for one month or $9.99 for six months.
TippyTalk is a cool twist on visual communication via text. Non-verbal users can text with friends, family, or anyone else by selecting personalized images that are meaningful to them, that are then translated into text messages on the receiver’s end.
As is the case for several Cognitopia team members, TippyTalk grew out of personal experience with disability on the part of its developer who has a young daughter who is nonverbal. There’s a free 30 day trial and subsequent monthly subscription pricing at $14.99 after that with yearly discounts.
What’s the Latest at Cognitopia?
Since ATIA, Cognitopia has been on the move, exhibiting and presenting our work on development of self-management applications for individuals with cognitive disabilities at:
- The AT Now! Conference in Salem, OR (Feb 6 – 7: )
and at these other upcoming events:
We hope to see you on our travels! But you can always find us at: http://www.cognitopia.com
Tom Keating, Ph.D. is founder and CEO of Cognitopia, home of the Cognitopia Platform for Self-Determination, emphasizing tools for IEP self-direction, goal management, task analysis, and team coordination. Keating has been focused for the past 20 years on research and development of self-management and community living applications for individuals with cognitive disabilities and has been principal investigator on over 20 federally-funded technology development projects. He is also a Courtesy Research Associate in the Computer and Information Sciences Department of the University of Oregon. Keating’s perspective in all of his work has been strongly influenced by his experience of 31 years as a primary supporter for a brother who experienced autism.