Compass version 3.0 released

KPR has released Compass version 3.0, which offers better compatibility with speech recognition input. Get your free trial and take the guesswork out of assistive technology assessments.

Compass version 3.0 released
We’ve updated Compass, KPR’s software for access assessments. If you’ve had any difficulties using speech recognition with Compass in the past, give this new version a try. And if you’ve never tried Compass before, now is a great time!

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How to measure performance when typing with Morse code

Morse code is an intriguing access option for people who use switches. Here’s how to measure performance when typing with Morse, to see how well it’s working for you and how it compares to other access methods.

How to measure performance when typing with Morse code. Screenshot shows inset of iPad Morse keyboard and the Word test from Compass software.

Morse code can be an effective way to type using only one or two switches. For some people who need switch-based access due to physical impairments, Morse might work as well or better than methods such as switch scanning. Reports of typing speed with Morse in the literature are encouraging but sparse. And in the end, what matters most is how well it works for a given individual. To address that, we need to measure typing performance with Morse.

How do we do that, in a way that’s accurate, straightforward, and time-efficient? We’re going to use KPR’s Compass software for access assessment to measure our Morse typing speed and accuracy. This post describes how to do this and shows you how it went the first time I used Morse code.

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Learn Morse code with the Morse Typing Trainer

The Morse Typing Trainer is a website that helps you learn Morse code. It helped me learn the letter codes in about 30 minutes. This post shows you how to use the Morse Typing Trainer and gives you an idea of what it does and does not do.

Learn Morse code with the Morse Typing Trainer. Screenshot showing the code for E: a dash used as a pupil in an Eyeball.

The introduction of Morse code text entry for iOS and Android has lowered the barrier for trying Morse code as an access method for people who use switches. In earlier posts, I’ve described how to set up Morse code on the iPad and reviewed the typing speeds that have been reported for experienced Morse users. But what’s a good way to learn Morse code in the first place? And how long does it take? The Morse Typing Trainer is a new resource to make this fairly easy and fun.

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Morse code for access: what do we know?

Morse code has been used in assistive technology since at least the 1970’s to support typing using one or two switches. This post summarizes what we know about typing performance for Morse code users with physical disabilities, and how it compares to other switch-based text entry methods.

The Morse code keyboard for the Gboard app, showing dot and dash keys.
Morse code can be an effective way to type using only one or two switches. It’s been around for decades as an assistive technology (AT) that can be used by people with high-level spinal cord injuries (often with a sip/puff switch), severe cerebral palsy, or other conditions that cause significant physical impairments.

This post was inspired by a question sent to the RESNA AT-FORUM listserv by Craig Wadsworth of the Illinois AT Program and Debra and Thomas King, long-time advocates of Morse code. They are trying to gather info from people who are using Morse or have helped someone use it, in order to build a firmer knowledge base about using Morse effectively.

Their question got me thinking about what we really know about the viability of Morse relative to other switch-based methods such as switch scanning.

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Visualizing text entry data: which design do you prefer?

We’re working on some new ways to visualize the text entry data within AT-node, and we need your feedback! Take a look at some designs and let us know what you think.

Visualizing text entry data: your feedback needed
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Compass: now available at Westminster Technologies

KPR’s Compass software for access assessment is now available at Westminster Technologies, a complete provider of assistive technology solutions.

Compass software is now available at Westminster Technologies
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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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