New Assistive Technology: Tongue-Controlled Computer Mouse, Eye-Control Tech, and a Chair That Can Help Prevent Pressure Sores

I’m always on the lookout for great new assistive technology that can help us thrive. Here are three examples that recently caught my eye.

‘Mouse for Your Mouth’ Debuts at CES 2024

New assistive technology, including the MouthPad, a "mouse for your mouth".

Photo Credit: Augmental

Using a smartphone, tablet, or computer can be difficult or impossible for someone living with paralysis. Now, a new device lets you operate these devices using only your tongue.

MouthPad, which debuted in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2024), transforms the concept of the computer mouse or trackpad into a Bluetooth-enabled device that rests like a retainer on the roof of your mouth. By sliding or pressing your tongue, or even creating reverse pressure in your mouth with a “sip” gesture, you can direct your cursor to perform standard operations like click, click-and-drag, and a right-click. The device also features a pressure sensor and a motion sensor, so that head movement and other gestures can be used for input.

The MouthPad is custom fit and has a plug-and-play design that allows connecting via Bluetooth. It works with all operating systems. It’s invisible, compatible with voice control, easy to carry, easy to learn, and requires no setup.

According creator Augmental, comfort was a top priority in its design. Plus, the MouthPad is slim enough that you can speak while wearing it, which means you can use voice recognition software. 

The Mouthpad is still in development, but you can join a waitlist to purchase one when it’s ready. 

Athena Eye-Control Technology Now Available to Developers

Athena, an AI software company, has launched a Software Development Kit for its eye-control user interface for smartphones. This means that third-party developers can now seamlessly integrate the eye-control technology into their own applications.

Launched earlier thi­s year, Athena’s eye-control application for iOS devices requires no special hardware or calibration. The technology allows people to control their iPhones using simple eye gestures. It strives to redefine accessibility and enhance digital experiences for people with varying abilities.

With Athena’s assistive technology, individuals can easily navigate mobile applications and engage with digital content using their eyes. It eliminates the need for physical touch, empowering users to interact hands-free and reducing the barriers faced by individuals with motor impairments or disabilities.

Eye control is simple and intuitive to operate, according to Athena. Its system can identify eye movements such as looking up, down, left, and right, enabling users to easily navigate through menus and screens. Reading Detection can track when, where, and how fast a person is reading and automatically scroll the content accordingly, providing a natural and engaging reading experience.

Now, developers can integrate Athena’s eye control technology into their own applications to unlock further benefits for their users.

For example, a mobile application could become more accessible by allowing individuals to navigate through menus, scroll, select options, and interact with content using eye movements.

“We are thrilled to now offer Athena’s eye control technology to developers,” says Blake Francis, CEO of Athena. “The number one feedback that we’ve received from our users is that they want Athena’s capabilities built into the apps they already use. By offering our technology as an SDK, we aim to empower developers to build innovative and inclusive experiences for their users.”

Developers interested in integrating eye control technology into their applications can now access the Athena Software Development Kit on the website, which provides comprehensive documentation and support to facilitate seamless integration.

The kit is free to use and test. However, if a developer wants to use it for commercial purposes, they are required to sign an agreement with Athena first.

Source: AT Today

The Tri-Chair

The Tri-Chair, from Channel Healthcare, is billed as “A unique modular linked chair frame offering unparalleled flexibility” and “the latest evolution of specialist posture and pressure care management seating”. There are three models, each of which is designed to adapt to the user’s body shape to ensure they are always sitting in an ergonomically sound posture with optimal support. This results in increased comfort, enhanced function, and reduced pain, all of which can help with mobility.

Each of the three chair models offers dynamic positioning, seat height, seat depth, seat width and arm height adjustability. Key to the Tri-Chair design is the unique modular frame shared by all three chairs. However, differences between them offer users a choice of design and configuration options. 

Tri-Chair One is best suited for:

  • Adults requiring comfort and moderate postural support when seated
  • Ambulatory and semi-ambulatory users who may require assistance when getting in or out of the chair
  • People required to sit with their feet on the floor as opposed to resting their feet on an elevated footplate

According to the company, people with complex sitting postures would be better suited to either the Tri-Chair Two or Tri-Chair Three.

Tri-Chair Two and Three are best suited for:

  • People requiring comfort and a medium to high (Tri-Chair two) or very high (Tri-Chair Three) degree of postural support when seated
  • People with complex sitting postures and requiring high level-pressure care management
  • Adults with unconventional body shape, including scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis, and contractures
  • People who have experienced a stroke
  • People living with Cerebral Palsy

Each model comes with a variety of accessories such as lap belts and pelvic positioners. 

For more information, submit an inquiry here.
Source: Channel Healthcare

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