Monday, April 18, 2011

Tutorial Eight: Assistive technology

What is assistive technology?
According to Access IT (2011) "Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible"(para.1).

 Assistive technology includes mobility devices like walkers and wheelchairs. It also intails hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities so they can accessing computers or other forms of technical devices.

This week we had the pleasure of having some guest speakers come into talk about assistive technology/digital devices. It was really interesting and the fun thing about it was that we got a hands on practicle session looking at all the many types of assisstive technology there are today.

I will be looking at the jelly bean switch.

The Jelly Bean is a robust switch that can be used with most battery operated games, computers and electrical appliances. They come in 4 different coloured tops to choose from ranging from Red, blue, green and yellow. The base plate can easily be mounted to many structures. 

Diameter: 63 mm 
Activating force: centre 100g, outside edges 50g 
Connector: 3.5 mm mono plug
Lead: 1.8M

The cost for a single jelly bean switch is around $107.64. Not exactly cheap eh!

·  Features
·  tactile and audible feedback to the user
·  activation no matter where pressed
·  easy to mount flange base to use with most types of mounting system

The jelly bean switch is considered a standard in the industry and allows you to meet the widest variety of student needs and is recommended for students who can access a smaller target area.

The jelly bean switch promotes independence and assists people who may experience little movement in their hands. They can use it with just the slightest touch of an elbow, finger, and palm of hand and for individuals with no upper limb functions they can use a foot. 

AccessIT (2011) What is assistive technology? Retrieved April 19 2011 from

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