IdeasX is a system developed to disrupt the current state of assistive technology for individuals with severe motor disabilities. Leveraging IoT technology and software, IdeasX aims to provide a robust method of connecting individuals via wireless sensors to a plethora of devices: from desktops running industry standard assistive software to wireless enabled iRobots fostering participation in gym classes.Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is highly important that you do it. -Gandhi
Understanding the objectives of IdeasX requires a background on the problems similar assistive technology is attempting to solve, and the current solution set developed by industry. Once this is understood, I’ll jump into how IdeasX is different, and why the differentiation from existing solutions is important.
The purpose of this technology is actually pretty simple: to provide an avenue for individuals with nearly zero vocal capabilities and an extremely limited range of motion to interact with world. Fundamentally, this technology is an interpreter except instead of translating languages we are translating a diminished range of motion into something a computer can understand.
This type of technology is not new and has been around for decades. Unfortunately, it is rather cost prohibitive, archaic, and clunky due to a lack of market competition. The U.S. market for assistive technology (targeted towards individuals with severe motor disabilities and/or on the autistic spectrum) is currently dominated by two entities: Don Johnston and AbleNet.
Don Johnson develops software designed to be maneuverable with limited user inputs for computers and mobile devices . Remember, these are individuals which do not have the ability to navigate the digital realm with a mouse and keyboard; therefore, the software has to be usable with as little input diversity as one to two keystrokes. Don Johnson only sells a single hardware product called the Switch Interface Pro 6 (I like to call it SWIP6) which retails around 100 US dollars.Switch Interface Pro 5.0. The confusing bit is the SWIP6 doesn’t have six inputs.
The SWIP6 is basically a glorified USB keyboard with 5 jacks used to connect sensors that the user to activate. When a sensor is activated, the SWIP6 sends a keystroke to the computer which when loaded with Don Johnston software is enough for a decent user experience. The sensors can range from something as complex as a blink activated switch to a simple button.Example setup of SWIP6 with various types of sensors. Note, you can see the five mono jacks on the bottom of the SWIP6. That is also my computer <3.
AbleNet sells hardware. They produce sensors which can used with the SWIP6, and therefore Don Johnson software, but also other devices which the sensors can directly plug into and manipulate. Combined with the SWIP6, the goods they sell can do some pretty amazing things.
Here are few other products in their line up.Various AbleNet pressure activated sensors (switches). Top left, simple wired pushbutton switch. Top right, PowerLink 4 mechanism which can be controlled by external sensors. Bottom left, 900MHz wireless pushbutton switch. Button right, BLE wireless pushbutton switch.AbleNet pneumatically activated switches. These sensors are activated by blowing into the tube.
As you can see from the samples of AbleNet’s product line above, despite being produced for a wicked good cause, the sensors are rather ehhh…retro in their style, functionality, and pricing? $230 will give you the Jelly Beamer wireless pushbutton switch. If you would like to use the wireless switch with Don Johnson’s software, you’ll still need the SWIP6 which is another $100. You want to use this switch with a cellphone? If you have an Iphone you can purchase the switch adapter for $190. Don’t have an Iphone? Well, you’re out of luck, but they do offer a BLE capable switch for $185. AbleNet has some great ideas, but I feel their products are bit...Read more »