A glove that allows people with limited mobility in their hands to use “pan gestures” on touch screens. Talk about “a little goes a long ways”! Here I show you how I used the bottom of my jeans and a metal measuring spoon to make a glove that has been super effective for allowing some people with severely limited mobility in their hands and arms to use iPads. Check out the link for a detailed instructional video on building your own and check out the video above to see my friend Rosie perform a beautiful violin piano duet with me using her glove! If you’ve got the 3 minutes to spare I’d highly recommend watching it to the end. Some real magic is going on!
Here’s me, looking like a total doofus, showing off MidiBeam– a program I wrote for XBox Kinect and Computer that allows you to play music with just the movements of your hand or head. Even cooler than that, it can be modified to become a communication device that can be operated through subtle head or arm movements. While it is a “completed” project, it’s not without its flaws. I wrote MidiBeam with people with orthopedic impairments in mind, but the method I used to “map” the Kinect onto a person’s body is really not that practical/possible for many of my intended users. I’ll put the program as well as my code up as soon as I find the time. If I haven’t done it yet and you want it, email me. Also, I really need to thank Ryan Challinor for “breaking into” the XBox Kinect so I didn’t have to.
Keyboard accessible grid paper I made for a student of mine with cerebral palsy so he could use his Chromebook to line up numbers to do pen and paper arithmetic. It’s really just a grid full of text boxes– nothing more. There are more sophisticated programs out there for other platforms, but sadly if you’re using a Chromebook and DON’T want it to perform calculations for you, it’s all you’ve got. It ain’t pretty but it gets the job done. Just use “Tab” and “Shift Tab” to move between the boxes, type one number per box, and screenshot your answer and refresh when you’re done. There’s a bunch of functionality that could be added but… time. :-/ If you’re interested in fleshing it out for me feel free to get in touch. Find it here.
Minecraft “Hack” (Windows Only– for now…)
Instructions on how to modify Minecraft so it can be played with only your head and two switches. I didn’t so much program this as I did piece it together, but it is rad AF! And also super motivating for teaching switch access for timing sensitive activities like scanning. One of the biggest mistakes I feel we make teaching students alternative access methods to communication devices is using the devices themselves for practice. I’m not saying I’m in a position to truly understand, but just imagine how depressing it must feel to try and say “I’m Hungry” and have it come out as “Fireman” just because you’re learning to use switches. “Gameifying” the access methods allows us to moderate or even altogether eliminate the possibility of failure all the while developing the motoric patterns required to be a successful communicator. That’s what I’m doing with my buddy Drew in this picture of a golden house he built with his toe! Click the link for further instructions.
“Makey Makey” Communicator
Given a budget of $50 I used a Makey Makey to build a communication/cause-and-effect device that uses metal spoons to trigger clips of a DJ set in Ableton or recorded messages. I made it for an adult client who lost access to his communication device years ago and was needing to relearn how to communicate. Granted, that budget does not reflect the cost of my computer nor the program that is shown running, it is a pretty good example of just how much can be done on that shoestring budget that California’s adult caregiving services are running on. Its cardboard construction and open circuitry pose obvious problems for durability and transport, but it has its advantages too. Because it is not locked in hard plastic the spoons can be positioned anywhere to accommodate people with an inconsistent range of movement. Perfect for someone who is looking to build up confidence while having a bit of fun with the near infinite applications of an unbounded interface.