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LipSync

An assistive tech which allows quadriplegics to use touchscreen mobile devices using a mouth-operated joystick with sip and puff controls

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Touchscreen devices have become a staple piece of technology in this day and age. Most people cannot get through the day without using their smartphone. It keeps us connected. It keeps us organized. It is an integral part of our social lives. For people in wheelchairs whom experience difficulties with fine upper body motor control, the usage of mobile devices can be very challenging. Statistics show there are over 1 million people in the United States and Canada that have very limited or no use of their hands, making touchscreen devices very difficult or impossible to use.

The "LipSync" is an assistive technology device which is being developed to allow quadriplegics and other people with limited hand use the ability to use touchscreen mobile devices by manipulation of a mouth-operated joystick with integrated sip and puff controls. We are releasing all of our work open-source, to make the Lipsync a solution that can be made at the community level for less than $300.

OVERVIEW

In 2016, upwards of 1.6 billion people in the world are using smartphones. Smartphones are becoming a staple piece of technology for many citizens in North America and around the World. Smartphones and touchscreen devices enable users to navigate around their city better, to communicate with others more freely, and to operate applications which can promote happy and productive lives. Currently, there exist a limited number of practical devices for quadriplegics to use touchscreen devices - this is where we step in.

The LipSync is an electronic device which allows quadriplegics the ability to use compatible touchscreen and computer devices without the use of their hands. The user is able to manipulate a cursor on their device screen using a mouth-operated joystick with integrated sip and puff controls to simulate the actions of "tap" and hitting the back button, respectively. With longer sips and longer puffs, additional secondary features are enabled including a "tap and drag", "long tap and drag" and the possibility of more specialized functions as per the user's needs.

The LipSync is design specifically for portable devices, it does not require AC power, but it will work with any device including desktop and laptop computers that support mice through a universal serial bus (USB) or the Bluetooth connection.

The LipSync is an open-source hardware project where all of our 3D printer files, component lists and microcontroller code are made public. In the spirit of accessibility, our housing can be 3D printed, the electronic components are readily available and the assembly is as straightforward as possible.

The LipSync was envisioned as a holistic solution that takes in to consideration not only the interface but how the system is to be mounted on the user’s wheelchair. The actual electronics of the device is on part of the implementation. There are no standardized methods to which wheelchairs are designed. Wheelchair manufacturers can use round or square tubing. They often also use tubing which is not compatible with other manufacturers so that customers must buy accessories from them. As a result, there is not a standard location or clamping mechanism to mount assistive technology on the chair.

Wheelchairs are also customized to the user, including the height, width and seating position of the user. The seating on the wheelchairs are customized to minimize the incidents of pressure sores. As a result, the mounting system for assistive technology such as the LipSync also has to be customized. In addition to the instructions to assemble a LipSync, we have included instructions on how to mount a LipSync. A combination of off-theshelf and custom 3D printed components are provided in order to help makers create a fully integrated and customized solution for the user.

Now the maker community and disability community can meet, collaborate and work together constructing a LipSync over a period not much longer than a weekend. We hope these new relationships will continue spurring innovation within the maker community.

There are 3 main aspects we will be addressing in our project:

  1. Developing an easy to build, but robust electronics assembly that novice to experienced makers can build;
  2. Developing a device housing which can be 3D printed by makers either at home or at dedicated facilities;
  3. Creating mounting options for a variety of wheelchairs with 3D printed parts and/or commercially available components.

SMARTPHONES AND ACCESSIBILITY

Smartphones, by their very nature, are intended to be used while on the go. Traditional assistive technology designs for the desktop and laptop computer are not portable in nature, so they cannot be easily applied to smartphones. While single and dual input systems exist for smartphones, they are slow and frustrating to use for users with more capabilities of movement. Single and dual input switches are appropriate for users that can only make one or two movements consistently. The LipSync is...

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LipSync_STL_v2.2b.zip

Contains all 3D printing files in STL format and print settings text file

Zip Archive - 995.73 kB - 05/18/2017 at 17:26

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LipSync_Assembly_Manual_v1.31.pdf

Instructions for assembling a LipSync

Adobe Portable Document Format - 4.37 MB - 05/10/2017 at 03:07

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LipSync Startup Guide v1.22.pdf

Startup guide for setting up and using a LipSync

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.63 MB - 05/01/2017 at 15:38

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LipSync_Firmware.ino

LipSync Firmware Version Version 2.5 ( 2 Mar 2017 )

ino - 43.06 kB - 03/11/2017 at 07:14

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LipSync_Interface_Board_Schematic_v2.5.pdf

Fifth schematic revision in PDF format

Adobe Portable Document Format - 84.76 kB - 02/25/2017 at 01:06

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View all 38 components

  • Our Time at the Bay Area Maker Faire

    Chad3 days ago 0 comments

    Over the weekend, we had a great time in San Francisco at the Bay Area Maker Faire.20170520_161641

    Above: Director of Development, Chad Leaman, speaking near our booth.

    Below: Manager of Research & Development, Harry Lew, assisting interested makers.

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    It’s always a fascinating experience at a Maker Faire, and this was the largest gathering of makers. There’s a little bit of something there for everyone. It’s kind of like a hybrid science fair/art exhibit, but it’s just on another level.

    Our purpose there was to get makers involved in the LipSync project and the Makers Making Change initiative. What an event like the Maker Faire really allows us to do is engage with makers and hobbyists who have the skills — say, 3D printing — but aren’t already in our demographic.

    We had over 300 people sign up, and had made contact with local maker spaces and institutions who were interested in hosting events in the future.

    It was also interesting in the sense that we got to see a lot of inspiring projects. The six booths around us were all technology and disability-related, working on similar goals. One such group was a group of students from UC Berkeley who hosted a TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers) event, where makers pair with people with disabilities to create solutions. (Sound familiar?).

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    Above: Jennifer and Chris, sister and brother. Chris trying out his new LipSync. (story below).

    Below: A nurse at Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre trying out their new LipSync.

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    As usual on these trips, we got to do some work outside of the Maker Faire. We got to see the Google head office. We also were able to deliver a few LipSyncs to local hospitals and people.

    One of our deliveries was to man named Chris (pictured above), in San Jose. His sister, Jennifer, actually lives around here, and came to the BCTECH Summit back in January to check out the LipSync for her brother, and facetimed him the device. Now, I was able to deliver it to him, and she flew down for the event.

    We have a whole bunch of exciting events coming up. First, we have the Makers Making Change and Telus Day of Giving LipSync Buildathon which will take place on Friday, June 2nd and Saturday the 3rd at the Innovation Centre at Telus Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia. This event coincides with National AccessAbility Week and is part of the Telus Day of Giving.

    Speaking of Maker Faires, we’ll be at two local ones. We’ll be at the Sunshine Coast Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, and at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 10th and 11th.

  • Meet the Maker — Ivan

    Chad05/18/2017 at 18:50 0 comments

    DSCN0219

    Ivan, one of our engineers, hard at work.

    When Ivan, a UBC Engineering student, was looking for a job last May, the most important thing for him was making a positive impact, in some way.

    “It’s above the salary, easily,” Ivan explains.

    That’s when he came across the Neil Squire Society’s job posting for mechanical engineering interns to work on the LipSync.

    The purpose of the project appealed to him, with the technological landscape largely shifting to smartphones and similar devices, which are difficult if not impossible to use by people who don’t have the use of their hands.

    “It seems like [for] a lot of that technology, [accessibility] is an afterthought for a lot of companies and infrastructure,” Ivan notes. “I don’t want disabled people to be left in the dust, so to speak.

    “I believe in trying to affect positive change and I thought the LipSync project would be an excellent opportunity to do so.”

    When he got the job, he soon found a workplace that he truly enjoyed coming to everyday. Having been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, a flexible schedule really helps him.

    “Everyone from management to accounting to the occupational therapists to the information technologies people, they are all very pleasant and easy to work with. I would never work in a place where the people are cold, unappreciative, and demeaning — the Neil Squire Society is the complete opposite and I love it.”

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    Ivan helping students build LipSyncs at the Burnaby South Secondary Buildathon.

    Initially hired for the Summer of 2016, Ivan had found a good fit with the Society and stayed on. He became one of the initial members of the Makers Making Change team, which continues their work and outreach on the LipSync, and developing other open source assistive technologies.

    During his time on the team, he has been able to learn and develop a wide range of skills. While he studied mechanical engineering, he has found himself working a lot more on the electronics and software side of things — skillsets more typical of electrical engineering and computer science.

    “It’s not what I studied, per se,” he explains. “[But] I really enjoy [it].”

    He now sees that area as his specialty.

    Having graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Applied Science this month, and with status as an Engineer-In-Training, Ivan continues to work hard as the team works toward their goal of having 150 LipSyncs ready before moving on to the next phase of the project.

  • It's about more than just tapping the screen: Features of the LipSync

    Chad05/17/2017 at 16:24 0 comments

    We’ve talked a lot about the LipSync being a sip and puff system, so for example, you puff on the tube and it taps the screen. But you do a lot more with your phone than just tap the screen — sometimes you swipe the screen left and right, sometimes you’re scrolling up and down, sometimes you just need to hit the back button.

    With the LipSync, we’ve built in a few different functions to mimic those hand gestures with a sip and puff device.

    Omar testing out LipSync

    Omar trying the latest iteration of the LipSync.

    For example, on your mobile device, if you need to tap and drag (say you need to input a pattern into the security lock screen, or simply scroll a small distance down a page), you do a medium-length puff while moving the mouthpiece cursor. If you need to do a quick scroll (instead of having to move the cursor up and down constantly to go down, you can just use this feature to skip down 2/3rds of the screen), you can do a medium-length sip, for about three seconds.

    Hitting the back button is as easy as a quick sip. If you begin to experience cursor drift, you can resolve the issue by doing a long puff (about five seconds) to do a home position reset.

    If you were to use a LipSync on a desktop computer, many of the functions are quite similar, but instead accommodate a more mouse-based platform (as opposed to a smartphone that’s designed to be navigated with your fingers). A medium-length puff will click and drag, while a short sip will operate as a right click.

    And keep in mind that these features will be refined in further user testing. As with everything we’ve done, some of these features will be as easy to use and intuitive as we intended when we designed them, others may need to be altered.

    It has to be accessible in the manner that there’s not a steep learning curve — that might turn off first-time users. It’s got to feel natural after a little bit of use, and that’s what we’re refining.

    PS To read more on the functions of a LipSync and how to get it started, read our LipSync Start-Up Guide. Much of the info we’ve talked about here is on page 8.

  • Comcast Makes A LipSync

    Chad05/16/2017 at 18:27 0 comments

    We are excited to tell you about the first “homebuilt” LipSync — the first one made outside of our initiatives.

    Jason and Scott, of Comcast, show off the LipSync device they built.

    Above: Jason and Scott, of Comcast, show off the LipSync device they built

    Below: The first "homebuilt" LipSync, up close and personal

    Home built lipsync

    While we’ve had makers build LipSyncs under our careful watch as part of our makeathons and similar initiatives, this is the first time makers had built a LipSync on their own.

    Scott, who works at Comcast in Philadelphia to make their products accessible, had found our Hackaday page and became interested in the LipSync. As part of one of Comcast’s lab weeks — an initiative allowing “employees to spark innovation by working on projects of their own choosing” — Scott decided he would build one.

    In a team with his co-worker Jason, Scott built it over the course of the week, using our instructions and videos as a guide. Along the way they documented their build and sent us extensive feedback on our instructions, which will greatly benefit the next makers who decide to build a LipSync on their own.

    Once they built the LipSync, they connected it to a Comcast web based interface that allowed them to use it to control a television. One of the things that had intrigued Scott about the project was the potential for ways to make television more accessible for people with low hand dexterity.

    PS Back in April, we were at the American Occupational Therapist Association (AOTA) Annual Conference.

    We weren’t sure how we would be received by the occupational therapists. There is huge interest, we discovered. Over 500 people signed up — we have got a notebook filled with pages of names. We found that occupational therapists related to the concept of “making,” with some who had been in the business for over 30 to 40 years relating to having to take woodworking classes and the like to create their own solutions, in the absence of products on the market at the time.

    As well, in addition to meeting our friends at Comcast and seeing the new LipSync in person, we dropped off six of our own LipSyncs to local spinal cord rehab facilities, disability centres, and assistive technology resource centres. Here’s a picture of Inglis House, a Philadelphia-based long-term care community that serves 252 residents “with severe neurodegenerative physical disabilities resulting in paraplegia and quadriplegia,” and their new LipSync:

    Inglis House staff with lipsync

  • Omar's Story

    Chad05/11/2017 at 18:25 0 comments

    One of our main projects over the last few weeks has been getting out 150 LipSyncs to new users. Today, I want to introduce you to someone who has benefitted from one of the LipSyncs that we have shipped out. Meet Omar, who lives in Vancouver, BC.

    Omar

    In September of 2010, Omar was travelling with a friend in Northern Iraq. On one particularly hot day, he decided to go for a swim. He dove into the water, hit a rock, and broke his neck at the C5 vertebrae.

    “I was like, my life was totally over,” he explains. “I jumped motorcycles, I went to the gym every day, I was just a very active person, and all that just stopped.”

    After the accident, Omar fell into a depression that lasted for five years.

    “I never got out, never met with people, I just decided to be inside — absolutely inside. I didn’t want anything for five years.”

    In addition to the accident, Omar lived in fear on a daily basis. Many of his friends and family in Iraq were being kidnapped and killed.

    “I was in Iraq. I lived in war, it was dangerous. Without mentioning the accident, life was not easy. I was afraid my brother would get kidnapped,” he says.

    In October of 2015, Omar and his family immigrated to Canada. But he didn’t truly start living his life again until he checked in to the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre three weeks after he had landed in Canada.

    At first he was resistant to their equipment and power wheelchair — he didn’t want to use it. But soon, he had an epiphany.

    “[This is a] way to start again, there’s so many resources to feel alive again,” he says. “Then I was like, ‘I want to live.’”

    And before long, he found a new passion — painting. He had signed up for an art class where he learned that he could do it.

    “I always loved art,” he explains. “I never dared to try it. Years ago, I signed up for art school, but then I got my accident.

    “After a while, I thought there was no way physically [. . .] to do painting before I went to GF Strong.”

    It came naturally to Omar.

    “That was the first time I tried painting all my life,” he explains. “I found out I really like it.”

    Omar now lives on his own, though still close to his family. It’s an independence he could only dream of before.

    “I want independence,” he notes. “I live on my own. That was the dream, that was like a job for me.”

    Omar testing out LipSync

    When we called Omar to see if he wanted to test out the LipSync, he said yes. Initially, he saw it as helping us with our research — something he never declines, as he wants to make a difference — rather than the impact it could have on his own life.

    But as soon as he tried it, he felt an immediate connection.

    “[It’s] so easy to use,” he says.

    “It felt very natural,” Omar explains, saying the movement of the mouthpiece and the sip and puff controls were easy to understand. “If I wanted to design something, it’d be exactly like this.”

    Now, he’s using it to pursue his dreams, saying the LipSync is “absolutely” life changing. Having applied to a Communication design program at BCIT and Emily Carr University, he needed to take a Business English course at BCIT to upgrade his English.

    For his exam, he brought his LipSync.

    “I’m a quadriplegic, and I did an exam [by] myself,” he explains. “Usually, in my case, there’s a scriber or someone assisting me. For me, I did it on my own with this device.”

    He didn’t just pass the course either. He excelled.

  • Luer Lock Mouthpiece

    Chad05/04/2017 at 17:45 0 comments

    One of the things you might have noticed in recent updates — and something we haven’t discussed — is that the LipSync mouthpiece looks quite a bit different than it did a few months ago. Why? With a new joystick apparatus, it required a new mouthpiece. As a positive side effect, the new mouthpiece is cheaper, easier to put together, and in our opinion, looks quite a bit slicker with the LipSync design.DSCN0032

    Above: A LipSync with the new mouthpiece. (The clear cone-shaped device at the front of the device is the mouthpiece).

    Below: Neil Squire Society client Lorraine testing a LipSync with the older mouthpiece. (The older mouthpiece has a blue 3D printed base and a "cigar tip" to sip and puff visible).

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    For the new mouthpiece, we’re using off the shelf materials. It’s two pieces — a mouthpiece and a filter. It’s essentially a tapered tube with a luer lock — which are conventionally used for syringes and syringe-lines in hospitals and research institutions to make accurate measurements — on one end. The pieces are about a dollar each, and as such, are easily replaceable (if say someone else wants to use the same LipSync, you could get a new mouthpiece). The best thing about is that it is medical grade and foodsafe.

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    An assembled joystick apparatus with the mouthpiece up close and personal.

    Our original mouthpiece — which consisted of a “cigar tip” and 3D printed materials — was designed to be built off of a manifold, which was needed when we were using the PS2 joystick because it had a post down the middle. In the original design, we needed to attach something on that post that would both hold the mouthpiece and that would provide a cavity for the sip and puff airstream to go to the centre of the device.

    We also needed to put in a tube in the original design, so that the sip and puff system never contacted the 3D printed parts, as 3D printed materials are not completely foodsafe — they’re porous, which means that bacteria can get in the material, it grows, and you can’t sterilize it because it’s embedded in the material.

    The products we bought to create the new mouthpiece, however, are created out of injection moulded acrylic plastic, which means that it is created under such immense pressure that doesn’t allow for surface defects or cavities, thus preventing the sip and puff system from ever contacting the 3D printed parts. The result is foodsafe and completely sterile.

    One bonus is that it is now a lot easier to assemble the mouthpiece. The old design had you print components, cut the tube, glue the tube to the inside the 3D printed part and mouthpiece, and assemble. Now, you just turn the filter on, do a ¾ turn, and turn the mouthpiece on.

  • LipSync Buildathon - Burnaby School District

    Chad04/27/2017 at 14:29 0 comments

    This appears also on our new project website, http://www.makersmakingchange.com/event/burnaby-school-district-make-a-thon/

    On Tuesday April 25, we went to school. But we weren’t writing tests, and while we did give a few speeches, the most important thing is what the students did. Over the course of one school day, a group of about 50 students at Burnaby South Secondary — featuring students from the Burnaby School District’s Career Education Computer Networking Technician Program — spent the day with us and a few volunteer engineers from UBC, and built LipSyncs.

    And we had two people go out the door with a newly-built Lipsync, all ready to go.

    Above: Students working diligently on the soldering process at the beginning of the day.
    Below: The final collection of LipSyncs built (minus the two that went home with Jim and Terry).

    When I started the day, I had told the crowd of students that we had brought enough kits for 25 LipSyncs to be built — I’d would have been happy if we walked out with 15. So it was a pleasant surprise when the final count was done and 22 were built. And the majority of those are ready to ship out to people in need. Some of the others need just minor tweaks that our engineers can easily fix.

    It was a win-win-win for everyone in the room. The students got to apply what they were learning in the classroom into something that is not only practical, but helps people. From our end, we have a growing list of people who need LipSyncs, and we need to get them built.

    And for Jim — who was a team captain at our Access Makeathon — and Terry, who came in to talk to the students, it meant going home with one. It was also great for the students to see the direct impact their work had. Both Terry and Jim began using the LipSync and showed the students how it enabled them to access their laptops and cell phones.

    Above: Jim using his LipSync. (The students who built his are the two on the left).
    Below: Terry navigating his phone with his new LipSync mounted to his wheelchair.

    This time, we had split the students into different tables focusing on different parts of the building process. From our experience at previous Buildathons, we learned that the FSR joysticks are quite delicate and easy to break — it was the barrier preventing more LipSyncs from being operational in previous builds. So we some students who were more experienced start on the joysticks. It meant that joysticks weren’t the last part built necessarily, when the builder is tired, when the soldering iron is hot.

    And it was it wasn’t just the high success rate that I was happy with, but the speed and enthusiasm the students had.

    Above: Angela, a student, working on a joystick.
    Below: James, a student builder, posing with his built LipSync. “This is the best day I ever had at school. I wish I could do this everyday.”

    Angela, who had spent a few days with us building a LipSync in November and had given us helpful feedback on our instructions, was one of the student builders. The instructions were a lot easier to follow than when she had initially built one.

    The manual is a lot easier to understand than before,” she explained. “It’s straightforward, it’s got pictures — you know what you’re supposed to be looking at.

    She began the day working on the FSR joystick. When she was with us last, we were using a different joystick.

    My first one took a while,” she said of building an FSR joystick. “But the second one was a lot faster, specifically because I worked with someone else, and we figured out what our strengths and weaknesses are.”

    It was a nice break from studying for exams.

    “It’s a stress reliever, because I’ve been stressed out about school lately,” she explained. “So getting to do this, and knowing it’s good for the community, and knowing that I’m contributing to the community, and helping the people who need this stuff is really encouraging.”

    For Angela, who is heading...

    Read more »

  • The Force Sensitive Resistor Joystick

    Chad04/18/2017 at 21:21 0 comments

    Remember how after we had scrapped the PS2 joystick, we had narrowed our joystick options down to two? Well, we’ve chosen the one to move forward with.

    Above: A picture of the joystick module with the mouthpiece attached.
    Below: The bottom half of the joystick with the Force Sensitive Resistors (FSRs).

    We’ve decided to go with the Force Sensitive Resistor (FSR) based joystick, which rather than using a manufactured joystick (like a medical one, or a PS2 or PSP one), relies on four FSRs to control movement.

    We had also contemplated using the PSP joystick. However, its design caused several problems. One such problem was that it was translational, rather than rotational as most joysticks are. If you think of a typical joystick — think of the PS2 joystick, if you play video games — the joystick can be twirled all-around, not just on a linear basis like the PSP one. For one, this would extend the length of the joystick apparatus, and in addition, caused the joystick to get jammed.

    The FSRs, on the other hand, are thin. They are relatively inexpensive, at about $10 per resistor (you need four). When all is said and done, this “homemade” joystick will probably cost between $40 and $50. While it is not as cheap as the $2 PS2 joysticks we were initially contemplating, these are much more accurate, much more reliable, and much more stable. The quality is more akin to $300 medical joysticks — the FSR joystick is the perfect blend of cost-effectiveness and quality. The FSR joystick design is also significantly shorter than our previous design, taking more than a full inch off the length of the device.

    However, there are still some bugs to be worked out, as we work to freeze the design.

    The redesigned front chamber, made to limit joystick movement.

    One of the problems with the FSR joystick is that, on some of our test builds, it has a tendency to drift when you push it too far in one direction — the cursor will continue to move slowly after you let go of the joystick. However, this only seems to be an issue when you take the joystick as far as it can go — to its max. We’ve made a redesigned front chamber (pictured above), which is designed specifically to limit such movement. We are also working on a software calibration solution.

    As well, the joystick currently makes too much noise. When moving it, you can hear clicking sounds and squeaking — which would be quite annoying to the user. We’re working on a few solutions to this. We are currently experimenting with a number of different types of springs. Another solution is filing down the rubber feet (the white tube-like structures), which have a tendency of sticking to the FSRs.

  • The Joystick Debate

    Chad01/04/2017 at 02:07 0 comments

    In the last days of 2016, the LipSync team is working hard to “freeze” the design ahead of the Access Makeathon on January 27th.

    There’s one thing, though, that we’re still trying to nail down — the joystick.

    Playstation 2 joystick

    The original joystick we intended to use — the PS2 (PlayStation 2) thumb joystick (two of them side-by-side in the picture — one with thumb-pad, one without).

    Back in July, we were planning on using the PS2 (PlayStation 2) thumb joystick. Before testing, it had seemed like a great option, as they were adaptable, durable, and cheap (you could find one for $2).

    Our user-testing showed that the range of motion needed to move the joystick was too much for people with neck injuries — the PS2 joystick wasn’t sensitive enough. While previously developed technologies like the Jouse were sensitive enough to require little movement, ours required a lot of head movement.

    While we did try some solutions to increase the sensitivity, it became clear that the PS2 joystick just wasn’t going to work. While it was an affordable option, pain is an unacceptable cost for the user.

    So we’ve come up with some other options.

    joystick-prototype-using-a-psp

    A joystick prototype using a PSP (PlayStation Portable) joystick. In this picture, the mouthpiece is attached.

    The first of these options doesn’t stray far from the original idea of repurposing PlayStation joysticks — this time we’re using a PSP (PlayStation Portable) joystick.

    While the PS2 joystick had too much slop, the PSP joystick is much more sensitive. The pressure is controlled by springs attached to the screws. In that area, (where you see pink in the photo — it’s hard to see), there’s a 3D printed ball placed in there that makes the motion more smooth, more finite than the PSP itself.

    However, this prototype is not without problems. As you can see from the picture, this does make the LipSync a lot bigger — a bigger head chamber would be needed, which is not an ideal solution. As well, the ball which makes motion a lot smoother does create some difficulties. It’s hard to get the ball smooth. Though we used wax to help the end product, every printer is different and it can be different printing round shapes that are smooth.

    This prototype doesn’t actually use a joystick, but instead, uses pressure sensors. The mouthpiece is not pictured here.

    This prototype doesn’t actually use a joystick, but instead, uses pressure sensors. The mouthpiece is not pictured here.

    Our other idea takes things in a bit of a different direction. The other joystick prototype doesn’t even use a joystick. Instead, it controls movement through four pressure sensors — four sensitive resistors (seen in the picture attached to wires).

    This is closer to the system that the FLipMouse used. This device requires a much smaller range of motion. The pressure sensors are 3D printed, and thus lower the cost.

    However, that does lead to one problem. Because the pressure sensor is printed, the printing has to be precise. They are quite small, and even small printing mistakes or inaccurate placement could change the amount of force needed.

    We will keep you updated on the final joystick.

  • LipSync Housing Design

    Charles G10/10/2016 at 04:17 0 comments

    We started the LipSync housing design using ABS filament. ABS was chosen for it's strength and temperature threshold. PLA can warp in hot environments, such as the inside of a vehicle on a hot day; therefore it was avoided. Here is one of our original ABS designs:

    One issue we came across is each 3D printer model and slicing software package prints geometry at slightly different sizes, especially internal diameters. We approached this nuance by creating a hole template which we printed with our available printers and software packages:

    We measured the printed holes with a caliper and compared them to the nominal sizes. As you can see in the graph below, the relationship between the nominal diameter and the printed diameter is linear. This allowed us to derive simple equations to size holes accordingly and create a tolerance among different printers.

    Because the LipSync will be used in hospitals, we wanted to create a housing design which would block harmful electromagnetic interference (EMI) signals. We explored materials and came across a new filament on the market, conductive graphene. The print quality was superb and the conductivity was very high; exactly what we wanted to create a Faraday cage around the LipSync electronics:

    Unfortunately, the filament was very expensive and it jammed the 3D printer extruder on multiple occasions; not open-source friendly. We explored other options and came across conductive ABS. The print quality was almost as good, it was easy to use, and the price was right; we found a winner:

    The conductivity was substantially less than conductive graphene, at 300K Ohms across the rear housing; however, this seems to be enough to see the results we're looking for. We'll know more after a professional EMI test.

    We designed the housing to be elegant, streamlined, functional, and fun to build. With complex geometry, threading, and an integrated mounting point, the LipSync housing should meet many of your 3D printing desires. Enjoy!

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Mark Brady Ingle wrote 05/09/2017 at 20:53 point

Hello team!  Are the current instructions online the most current?  I have enough parts to get started so I wanted to make sure. 

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Chad wrote 05/11/2017 at 20:20 point

Hi Mark, we have added the most recent as of now.  Let us know if you got questions with the build and in particular ping @Ivan.Gee if you need in particular details

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eroy wrote 01/02/2017 at 23:34 point

Thank you for this project! I am endlessly disappointed in the cost of assistive technology. To make something like this open source is a gesture rarely seen. 

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Charles G wrote 02/26/2017 at 06:49 point

Thank you for the kind words eroy! Stay tuned in the next couple weeks as we launch a new and improved version of the LipSync at an even lower price point!

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Manuel Z wrote 10/10/2016 at 19:18 point

this is an amazing project! congratulations!!!! 

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Charles G wrote 10/10/2016 at 23:14 point

Thanks, Manuel!

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Sadiq Mohamed wrote 09/22/2016 at 12:02 point

A very worthwhile project. I had a friend with MS who would have benefited from this. Unfortunately he died some years ago. I wish you the best of luck with your testing and look forward to the results.

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Ivan wrote 09/22/2016 at 17:55 point

My condolences about your friend @Sadiq Mohamed . I am glad you believe in our project, we are working our tails off over here so we can start getting makers and users together to start building these and help increase people's quality on life. Just as a side note, our plans are to continue compiling and refining open-source assistive technologies, if you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

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