Alisa Brownlee, ATP, CAPS blog offers recent articles and web information on ALS, assistive technology--augmentative alternative communication (AAC), computer access, and other electronic devices that can impact and improve the quality of life for people with ALS.
Any views or opinions presented on this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ALS Association.
Computer engineering students at The University of
Alabama in Huntsville have designed a tool that could revolutionize new ways of
using electronic devices with just one hand. It's called a Gauntlet Keyboard, a
glove device that functions as a wireless keyboard. Instead of tapping keys on
a keyboard, the user simply touches their thumb to points on their fingers
assigned a letter or other keyboard function. Conductive thread carries the
commands to a matchbox-sized Printed Circuit Board (PCB) affixed to the back of
The PCB transmits it via Bluetooth, whether it's a
computer, a mobile phone, music synthesizer, video game, or military device.
Think of the Gauntlet as a touch screen that works by tapping your fingers to
your thumb on a gloved hand.
Tobii may not be a household brand name yet, but that doesn't make the company's eye-tracking technology any less impressive. At last year's CES we got an opportunity to preview Gaze UI, an interface that allowed us to navigate, zoom, select and scroll on a proprietary Windows 8-enabled laptop with just our pupils and a touchpad; this year, Tobii is introducing the REX, a USB-connected peripheral that adds these features to any Windows 8 PC. The device, slightly larger than a pen, adheres to the base of any PC monitor and can be integrated with other existing controls such as the keyboard, mouse or touchpad. Though this may sound quite similar to the PCEye launched in 2011, it's different in that the REX isn't intended for use as an assistive technology, so you'll still need to keep that mouse and trackpad around. Consumer pricing and availability haven't been announced, but Tobii plans to offer 5,000 units to consumers before the end of 2013; for developers, however, a special edition (seen above) should be available starting today for $995.