AT-node: explore the data on typing with assistive technology

How fast can people with physical disabilities type when using different assistive technologies? Find out with our free AT-node for access website. Use the evidence to enhance your understanding.

I’ve mentioned our free AT-node website in other posts (like this one with a neat infographic), without really demonstrating what it is, so in this post, I want to give you a quick introduction to using the AT-node website.
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Better typing with keyboard assistive technology

Here’s another great example of how a simple change to a user’s computer setup can make a big difference, in this case using keyboard assistive technology. Read on for a summary of this 2018 case study from the University of Bordeaux.

Better typing with keyboard assistive technology. Photo on the left shows original keyboard, with user typing with left hand. Hand is partially curled up, with index and middle fingers extended. Photo on the right shows keyboard with assistive technology to enhance typing: keyguard, angled stand, and forearm rest.
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Typing with a tongue computer interface

It’s possible to type with your tongue using tiny sensors worn in the mouth. This post presents text entry rate results from a recent study, including two people with cervical spinal cord injuries.

Image shows the 18 sensors embedded into the device, which is worn like an orthodontic retainer. Also shows how letters are assigned to each sensor to allow for typing with the tongue.
For about 30 years, researchers have experimented with different ways of typing with your tongue. The Tongue Touch Keypad from the 1990’s used a tiny keyboard embedded in an orthodontic-style retainer. A newer approach continues to use the orthodontic-style retainer, but now embeds inductive sensors that are activated by moving a small magnet attached to the tongue. How well can you type with this sort of tongue computer interface? Read on for results from a recent study.

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Morse code typing for the iPad

Morse code can be a very effective way to type using only two switches. And now you can use it on an iPad, creating some new possibilities for people who are switch users. This post shows you how to set up and use Morse code on the iPad.

A photo of an iPad, showing the Morse code keyboard on the display. Two switches are connected to the iPad using the Tapio switch interface.
Morse code dates back to the early 1830’s, and has been used in assistive technology since at least the 1970’s to support typing using one or two switches. As switch access methods go, it has the potential to be quite fast– one study measured a Morse code typing speed of 12.4 words/minute for a person with a C2 spinal cord injury, using a sip/puff switch for the dots and dashes. Fast forward to 2019, and Morse code is having a bit of a moment. One question that comes up frequently is whether you can use Morse code to type with switches on an iPad — Yes, you can! Read on to learn how.

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Highlights from the ATIA 2019 Conference – Part 2

The ATIA Conference provides great opportunities for learning, sharing, and networking in assistive technology, and the 2019 conference was no exception. Here’s the second of two posts featuring a few of the highlights.

Highlights from ATIA 2019 - Part 2
I was fortunate to attend ATIA’s 2019 Conference recently, held in Orlando, FL, and enjoyed the chance to learn from others and connect with the great folks who work in the assistive technology (AT) field. My first post on ATIA 2019 focused on highlights directly related to mouse access, while this post will highlight some educational sessions that addressed other topics. Keep in mind that with about 400 presentations, 120 exhibitors, and 3000 attendees, this is just one tiny sample representing one person’s ATIA experience. Please share comments about your ATIA experience!

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Highlights from the ATIA 2019 Conference – Part 1

The ATIA Conference provides great opportunities for learning, sharing, and networking in assistive technology, and the 2019 edition was no exception. Here’s the first of two posts featuring a few of the highlights.

Highlights from ATIA 2019 - Part 1
I was fortunate to attend the ATIA 2019 Conference recently, held in Orlando, FL. Yes, it was nice to escape Michigan’s polar vortex and subzero temperatures, but even nicer was the chance to learn from others and connect with the great folks who work in the AT field.

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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 24 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 24 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 24 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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