The age of touchscreen tablets has been hailed as the beginning of an exciting new phase of computing, redefining our relationships with our gadgets. But this view tends to ignore the disabled, who may not have the ability to use a finger to swipe on the latest iPhone app. Now a new tablet accessory offers a solution for children who need a little extra help to access the world of touchscreens.
Developed by Georgia Tech professor of electrical and computer engineering Ayanna Howard and graduate student Hae Won Park, Access4Kids is a sleeve that connects wirelessly to a tablet and allows a child without full use of their hands to operate a tablet on their own. The sleeve's easy to use force-sensitive resistor three-pad system translates the child's physical movements (whether by hand, wrist, elbow, or head) into distinct gestures usually associated with the finger manipulation of touchscreen devices.
Designed to offer more access to children with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and other neurological disorders, the Access4Kids sleeve can be worn on the arm or mounted to the side of wheelchair, allowing a wide range of physically impaired children to use the device. At present, the development team has no plans to take the sleeve commercial, but Howard said, "the real goal is to make it safe and efficient so someone can make it into a commercial product."
In the meantime, you can see the Access4Kids sleeve in action in the video below.