testing out the stomp interface

Farheen’s testing out the stomp interface of the @ReLabRye AAC device for Ontario Accessibility Innovation Showcase #OntarioAIS. I posted a picture of kamran grinding down some plexiglass for one of the devices in a previous post.

Farheen testing the stomp interface...

Farheen testing the stomp interface…

The AAC (Augmented and Alternative Communication) is something that our undergraduate research assistants have been working on all summer. They started with an open source ACC unit developed by Jim Wroten‘s Morse2Go.org as a replication project (to confirm the best hardware for the implementation) and a platform to develop new input switches, and design a new 3D printed case to integrate the speaker in a single unit. Though the hardware is the best for the code they developed, we decided to search around for what we thought might be a better input method. We settled upon the H4 (4 button huffman code) method developed by Scott Mackenzie and his grad students at York University.

Presently, we’re working to finalize input methods, such as this unique stop interface, to help people realize that input methods can be anything, and that only through observation and careful communication with an individual can needs of that person be understood, and the best possible input device developed with them. I doubt anyone would need a stomp interface, but it does get you thinking!

We have not developed a standalone H4 version based on Jim’s hardware yet, but we should have it done by the end of the summer. The next step will be to port the code over to new open-source hardware with the goal of simplifying the design and cost while increasing the number of languages that this can be used with to any language that can be represented using roman characters.

Ali at the helm, via remote

Ali Remote

Ali Remote

Lab PI Ali Mazalek’s in Georgia where she also runs the Georgia Tech version of SynLab, one of the precursors to the RE/Lab. She comes in remotely to keep everyone on task and see how things are going on. Can’t wait until she’s back in town.

Kamran’s prepping our AAC device for #OntarioAIS

kamran grinding plexiglass

kamran grinding plexiglass

Kamran’s (@KamranWeb) grinding down some plexiglass to fit in the electronics for the RE/Lab’s new alternative and augmented communication (AAC) project. We started with the design Morse2Go developed and have been trying to make a more compact single unit that will allow someone to create text and spoken English/Spanish using just for buttons. Rather than morse code, we’re using H4 input method developed by Scott MacKenzie at York University. More to follow.

innovation.ca talking about our lab director :)

RE/Lab Director with some of his cardboard creations

RE/Lab Director with some of his cardboard creations

Canadian Foundation for Innovation ran a story last week about work started in the EDGE Lab, and continuing in the RE/Lab: More than just a cardboard box: Using this cheap and lightweight material, researchers are helping parents design custom adaptations for their children with special needs. The foundation has funded both labs and has been a great supporter of our work.

Check out the great video they did as well.

The two designs in the images will be presented at the Para PanAm Games Accessibility Showcase.

Getting ready for the ParaPanAm Games

Komal grinding metal

Komal grinding metal

Komal is one of the lab’s summer RA students working on 5 projects to present at the ParaPanAm Games’ Accessible Innovation Showcase. She’s grinding down some aluminum struts to build a frame for Mapping Place, one of our tangible narrative surfaces. All of the RAs are learning to use various traditional fabrication tools (grinders, sanders, drill presses) as well as 3D printers and laser cutters.