Access on Main Street

Hooking up a usable world, one mainstream product at a time.

iPad dock will add gesture control

Posted by Jim Tobias 27 December 2010

A dock for the Apple iPad will allow users to sweep and swipe in mid-air, as far away as a foot from the iPad.  No word yet on what gestures will be included, but they will let you control regular apps.  We may also see special apps written for the dock; maybe someone will be smart/kind enough to write apps for people with dexterity limitations, cognitive disabilities, etc. — this is a perfect gadget for adding even more accessibility to the already-stellar iPad.  Not having to hold the iPad will make it easier for dexterity impaired users, and with a camera-equipped iPad, it may facilitate sign language video.  (Not that the combo would recognize ASL — having the iPad in a dock, controllable from a certain distance would make it easier for someone standing back and signing.)

CES 2011: iPad dock with Motion Sensing Controls to Debut – I4U News

New phone designs could help users with disabilities

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 21 December 2010

Nonobject is an offbeat design studio in Palo Alto that’s proposing three new cell phone designs, all of which have accessibility implications. The Rawphisticated, which looks like a crumpled business card, could be refined so that the crumples provide tactile distinctions between keys for blind folks. The Tarati has recessed keys, providing an effect similar to keyguards that have been used for years by people with hand tremor or some other types of dexterity disabilities. And the CuN5 reminds us of T.V. Raman’s touchpad design, which would define the 5 key as anywhere a blind user touches the screen.

Gizmodo: Reformatting the phone

You must remember this…

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 23 September 2010

And the iPad jumps into the world of brainwaved-powered operation. Currently used for osculatory goals, but other applications could be developed, either to allow people with little or no dexterity to run apps or to serve as a biofeedback trainer.

Dvice: iPad kissing game improves your ‘Jedi mind tricks for dating’ skills

You go, gel

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 17 September 2010

Bödysöf is a new shower gadget that removes the need for squeezing bottles of bath gel. Instead, it lets you pull a lever to dispense gel into the stream of your shower. Looks pretty friendly for people with arthritis and other dexterity impairments. Available in chrome for $140 or plastic for $80; umlauts sold separately.

Wired: Smart shower-dongle mixes soap with water

Eye control by earphones

Posted by Jim Tobias 6 September 2010

NTT DoCoMo has come up with prototype earphones that can detect eye movements — without a camera — and send commands to phones, media players, etc.  Your eye-rolling teen may just be doing homework.  If this gets commercialized, people with extremely impaired dexterity may have a new, low-cost option for computer input, environmental control, and more.

Eye-controlled earphones let you pick up phone calls with a glance

Arc de triomphe?

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 1 September 2010

Sure, the new Microsoft Arc mouse bends up like a caterpillar for a more ergonomic design–or not. What interests us more is the touch strip that replaces a standard scroll button. Easier on the index (or whichever) finger? Hoping so.

Gizmodo: Microsoft Arc touch mouse has a touchstrip instead of a scrollwheel

Lean, baby, lean

Posted by Jane Berliss-Vincent 30 August 2010

Some folks at the Ithaca College Tots on Bots project have the AoMS philosophy down pat: They’ve taken Wii Balance Boards and builds them into tiny robotic wheelchairs. When a very young child with physical disabilities sits in the chair and leans, the board senses their movement and steers the chair in the corresponding direction. Will this be expanded into wheelchair design for other ages, so that we’ll have Teens that Lean and Geezers on Wiizers?

Engadget: Wii balance board-controlled robot a hit with toddlers in Ithaca

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