KPR highlights for 2018

2018 was an unusual, fun, and interesting year for Koester Performance Research. Here are some highlights of KPR’s work in the past year.

KPR wishes you a Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! In the spirit of a new year’s energy, I took a look at KPR’s activities in the past year. 2018 was unusual, in that we’ve intentionally not been engaged in a large funded project, in order to leave some space and see what might take shape. One overarching goal this year was to share more of what we’ve learned and developed with the wider world. To that end, we revamped the KPR website, incorporated a blog, and set up new systems for communicating with people who are interested in what we’re doing. It’s still a work in progress, but has been enjoyable and seems useful so far. We also continued research, development, and service work within assistive technology. Read on for a few specific highlights.

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Which hands-free mouse is right for you?

Once you’ve identified a few hands-free mice that seem to meet your needs, how do you find the one that is the best fit?

Hands-free mice: Which is right for you?
Here’s the third in our series on hands-free mice. We’ve looked at 13 considerations for choosing a hands-free mouse, then examined detailed features of 25 available hands-free mice. All that information is useful for narrowing down the choices and identifying a few candidates that might meet your needs. In this post, we look at how to find the “right” solution from among those candidate devices. To support an evidence-based decision, we’ll show you some tools that help collect and organize data while trialling different hands-free mice.

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Your Guide to 25 Hands-free Mice

There are dozens of hands-free mice that are designed for computer users with physical disabilities. This guide presents 6 families and 25 different hands-free mice to help you find those that meet your needs.

Why Hands-free Mice?

A hands-free mouse allows you to perform computer mouse functions without using your hands. If you have a physical limitation that makes it difficult or impossible to use a traditional mouse with your hands, a hands-free mouse can be critical to accessing a computer comfortably and efficiently. The key is to make an informed choice to make sure your hands-free mouse truly meets your needs. In our last post, we described 13 considerations to think about when choosing a hands-free mouse. Here, we examine 25 specific hands-free mice that are available and see how they stack up on those considerations.

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13 considerations for choosing a hands-free mouse

A hands-free mouse can be a great option for computer users with physical disabilities. Here are some key issues to consider when choosing a hands-free mouse.

Hands-free mice: 13 key considerations

What is a hands-free mouse?

A hands-free mouse is a system that allows full control of computer mouse functions without use of the hands. This post was inspired by a question to the QIAT listserv, asking about mouse emulators that could be used by a high school student with quadriplegia. You might benefit from a hands-free mouse if you, like this student, have little to no functional movement of your hands or fingers. You might also benefit from a hands-free mouse if you need to avoid using a regular mouse due to repetitive stress injury or pain, or if you are in a hands-busy environment where your hands just aren’t that available to use a regular mouse.

By choosing the hands-free mouse that best meets your needs, you can have an efficient and comfortable way to control the mouse without using your hands. Read on for some key considerations that will help you make a good choice.

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Better mouse control with Pointing Wizard

Here’s a quick example of how Pointing Wizard helped Linda use her mouse with greater ease and speed. View her mouse control before and after using Pointing Wizard to customize her mouse settings to her specific needs.

Pointing Wizard: for better mouse control

Meet Linda

Linda’s story demonstrates that a simple change to a user’s computer setup can make a big difference. Linda is a woman who had a brain injury a number of years ago. The injury left her with significant physical difficulties in walking, speaking, and using her hands. She uses a Windows computer for all kinds of tasks, with the typical keyboard and mouse.

Although Linda uses a standard mouse, it’s not easy for her, as she often overshoots the target, and bounces back and forth a few times before settling on the button or field that she’s trying to click. Read on to see how KPR’s Pointing Wizard software made it much easier and faster for Linda to control her mouse.

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Scanning Wizard: using auditory scanning

Auditory scanning can be useful to support users who have difficulty seeing or reading. Learn about the auditory scanning feature that we’ve recently added to Scanning Wizard.

The Scan Test practice screen, with an alphabetic layout
We’ve added our first version of auditory scanning to Scanning Wizard, in order to better support users who have difficulty seeing or reading. The Scan Test now includes an Auditory Scan setting, that includes two distinct modes.

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Highlights from the RESNA 2018 Conference

The RESNA 2018 Conference featured three intense days of sharing and networking among leaders in assistive technology. It’s impossible to get to everything, but here we highlight a few things of particular interest.

A photograph promoting the RESNA 2018 conference in Washington DC. Photo shows the National Mall and Washington Monument in the twilight.
I attended RESNA’s 2018 Annual Conference recently, as I do pretty much every year. This year’s was held in Arlington, VA in mid-July. A friend asked me why I invest the time and money to go to the conference. I’ll try to address that in this post, with a focus on the learning and new ideas that the conference inspires.
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Text entry rate data: what can we learn from a histogram?

Continuing our series on examining text entry rate data for people with physical disabilities, we look today in more depth at the statistical distribution of those data. A histogram is a great tool for visualizing a distribution and providing insights into a dataset.

As promised in our previous post, today we’re going to delve more deeply into our dataset of text entry rate across 177 individuals with physical disabilities. (If you haven’t seen the infographic and read about the creation of this dataset already, you might want to read that earlier post first.)
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Text entry rate for people with physical disabilities [Infographic]

We gathered the available data on computer text entry by people with physical disabilities and created this infographic. Results suggest that there is a long way to go to better support computer users with disabilities.

Sajay Arthanat and I continue organizing the available research evidence on text entry rates (typing speeds) for people with disabilities. I shared an overview of the findings in an earlier post. Here, I’ve added two new studies to the dataset and created an infographic describing the distribution of text entry rate across 177 individuals. Continue reading “Text entry rate for people with physical disabilities [Infographic]”

New Compass version 2.5 released

We’ve released Compass version 2.5, which adds Arabic language support.

I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a new Compass version that adds Arabic language support. To choose Arabic language for a Compass test, simply go into the configuration screen for that test, and select Arabic as the Test Language. Screenshot of Compass configuration screen for Sentence test, showing Test Language set to Arabic Continue reading “New Compass version 2.5 released”