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An Flexible Open Source Sensor Hub for AAC

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A common paradigm for AAC users with complex communication needs involves the use of switch controls. These dedicated AAC devices readily interface with modern smartphone, tablets and environment control units (ECU), which are now equipped with accessibility options. There is however limitation as to how the input signals are calibrated. The calibration may be fixed, or it may be restricted to what is available on the input device.

Recent advances in open source hardware make possible (1) more flexible calibration (2) the incorporation of innovative input sensors as well as (3) the use of output modalities beyond simple ‘clicks’ or specific key codes to encompass also direct mouse controls rather than just moving arrow keys (“directional”, which is an alternative input method for many).

We make available an open source design for a flexible sensing hub that can be quickly configured by an end user or an AAC professional. This hub, named Sensact, has built-in calibration capability based on setting an analog threshold. The output is configurable to iOS, Android, Windows and laptop keys. Sensact adopts a common physical interface, so that different input sensors can be easily tried in a plug-and-play fashion. For added flexibility, the hub has adopted the ‘shield’ concept, which makes it compatible with the Arduino platform so that, beyond what our own configuration software enables, the behaviour of the Sensact hub can also be extended by custom programming.

Author(s):

Yih Lerh Huang    
Bruyère Continuing Care
Canada

Bocar N'Diaye    
Bruyère Continuing Care
Canada

Bruce Braidek    
Bruyère Continuing Care
Canada

 

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