Central Coast Assistive Technology Center
of United Cerebral Palsy of San Luis Obispo
Episode 1: Hands-Free Computer Access
Cassandra Province uses her Eyegaze System
In this episode of Curb Cuts, viewers can learn about the many alternatives that allow individuals to access the computer if they are unable to use their hands. The show does not intend to present every option that is available, but merely to highlight a few of the more prominent ones. The options we have chosen to highlight for this episode allow for direct access of the computer. Specifically, this episode demonstrates an eyegaze system (by Cassandra), an infrared head-pointing systems (HeadMouse Extreme), a mouth-operated joystick (QuadJoy), and speech recognition software (Dragon NaturallySpeaking). There are also indirect access alternatives such as switch scanning which we will discuss and demonstrate in future episodes. Listed below are links to a wide range of hands-free computer access technologies. Please note that this links list is not all-inclusive.
Eyegaze from LC Technologies, Inc. (* used by Cassandra in this episode)
Infrared Head-pointing systems:
HeadMouse Extreme from Origin Instruments (* demonstrated in this episode; borrowed from Infogrip)
QuadJoy from SEMCO (* demonstrated in this episode)
Speech recognition software:
Dragon NaturallySpeaking from Nuance (* demonstrated in this episode)
MacSpeech Dictate (speech recognition for the Mac)
Other high-tech hands-free computer alternatives:
Low-tech hands-free computer alternatives:
Many of the devices/software listed above can also be found at the following AT vendor sites:
Cassandra uses the following technology, all of which were featured in this episode:
Read Cassandaís story in her own words:
Snug in a box
By Cassandra Province
Can you imagine being trapped in a snug tight box? Not being able to move and when you can finally move itís not what you want to do!
Wanting to reach out and give someone a hug but only being able to see it and feel it in your mind?
Wanting to run and jump, sing out loud?
Knowing people look at you like you are from outer space, wanting to yell at them, Iím like you, I have a brain, I have feelings, I can hear and see, I can laugh and cry!
I want to speak out loud, give people my thoughts and ideaís. But I cannot! I have to type with my eyes on my computer or sometimes count on someone using my white board to single out each letter for me. It may take me some time to type out my words. But will you please listen to me, my thoughts are important for you to know. And if you take the time to get to know me, I wont need the computer or the white board; youíll be able to read my eyes.
When I see someone hurting, maybe they have fallen and scrapped their knee. I truly wish I could reach down and give it a kiss. Tell them it will be okay.
I may be stuck in this box, some call a wheelchair. I donít want pity; do not feel sorry for me. In some ways I have more then others. The will, to prove to the world I am a person. Treat me as a human take the time to say hi, I donít bite, you may speak to me, I can hear. I have so many obstacles in my way, but that has only helped me learn more about life and how to fight for what I want. Some people take it for granted that they can walk and talk, me I treasure that I can see and breathe and have the ability to use my eyes to talk, my brain to think, my heart to love and care. What more could a person ask for? Some people who can walk and talk donít care, they are dead inside, their spirit has been broken somehow, dead, killed. My spirit is alive, I have a life, we all have a life and we need to live with what we were given and make the best of it. You know that saying, ďis your cup half empty or half full?Ē My cup is half full and I plan on making it overflow. What more can a person ask for? Nothing, they need to give!
Take the time to look into my eyes, they will tell you a lot! It has been said that eyes are the windows to ones soul!
Episode #2 deals with assistive technology for individuals who are blind. Examples include screen reader software like JAWS, a voice-operated PDA, and various talking devices. Gail Kennedy and Greg Benavidez highlight some of the ways in which assistive technology enables them to live as independently as possible.
JAWS (* demonstrated in this episode)
VoiceOver (* built-in screen reader for Mac)
SATOGO (* free screen reader)
Thunder (* free screen reader)
NVDA (* free screen reader)
Open Book (* demonstrated in this episode)
Parrot Voicemate (* demonstrated in this episode; no longer being manufactured)
Various Talking Devices
Colorino Color identifier (* demonstrated in this episode)
Voila labeler (* demonstrated in this episode)
KNFB Reader (* demonstrated in this episode)
Other websites of interest
Episode #3 deals with assistive technology for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Examples include alerting devices for the home, assistive listening devices, and adapted telephones. Beth Houston highlights some of the technology she uses to function independently and safely in her own home.
Assistive Listening Devices
Pocketalker Ultra (* demonstrated in this episode)
Hearing Helper Personal FM system (* demonstrated in this episode)
TV Ears (* demonstrated in this episode)
AlertMaster AM-6000 notification system (* demonstrated in this episode)
California Telephone Access Program (* featured in this episode)
CapTel (* featured in this episode)
Sorenson Video Phone (* featured in this episode)
Communication devices for Deaf/HOH
UbiDuo (* demonstrated in this episode)
iCommunicator (* demonstrated in this episode)
Episode #4 deals with vehicle modifications that enable people with disabilities to drive or ride independently and safely. Join us on a tour of Adaptive Driving Systems, a business that specializes in vehicle modifications. Fernando Ramirez takes viewers on a ride in his adapted van.
Episode #5 deals with assistive technology for individuals with low vision. Brianna Barnett, Dorothy Erinakes, and Thomas Athanasian share how they use technology such as CCTVs and ZoomText screen magnification software to function as independently as possible at home, school, and work.
Zoom (* built-in screen magnifier for Macintosh)
DesktopZoom (*free screen magnifier)
Various large print/talking products
Low vision companies
Low vision organizations
Episode 6: Adaptive Recreation
Episode #6 highlights adaptive recreation opportunities available for people with disabilities living on the Central Coast. Curb Cuts goes kayaking with the Cal Poly Adapted Paddle Program in Morro Bay and cycling with the Cal Poly EyeCycle program along the beautiful backroads of San Luis Obispo. Learn about the SoloQuad kayak, a unique project under development that will enable a person with high-level quadriplegia to operate a kayak independently by way of a hand-operated or sip-and-puff joystick.
Cal Poly Adapted Physical Activity Programs (* featured in this episode)
Avila Beach Wheelchair (* featured in this episode)
Beth Currierís Rancho De Los Animales (therapeutic horseback riding) (Phone: 805-489-4751)
Episode 7 deals with home modifications, particularly as they apply to seniors and individuals with disabilities. We'll introduce you to individuals who benefit from or provide home modifications in our county. During this half hour, you'll get a tour of a custom-built home with universal design features, see how Cal Poly's PolyHouse program transformed the home of one local woman, learn about the free home modification services available from EOC, pick up tips for making a home more accessible for those with low vision, and see a demonstration of a unique remote-controlled door opener.
PolyHouse (* featured in this episode)
EOC Home Repair department for SLO county (* featured in this episode)
Adapting Your Home for Low Vision (* featured in this episode)
Open Sesame door opener (* featured in this episode)
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