On My Command: Laptop Provides Lifeline for Man Paralyzed by ALSBy Quintero, Alyssa; Quest, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 51-52
Publication Date: May/June 2008
Article describes a customized system devised by a man with amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to enable him to communicate, drive his wheelchair, and control his environment from his laptop computer. The inventor of the system, who cannot speak and is paralyzed except for minimal facial movement, sends commands to the computer via a fiber-optics switch mounted on his eyeglasses and activated by raising an eyebrow. The laptop uses EZ Keys XP adaptive software, enabling operation of any Windows program, including the Internet. Via EZ Keys text-to-speech capabilities, spoken words are generated by the speech synthesizer Natural Voices. A Sierra Wireless AirCard is used to access the Internet and e-mail when traveling; the phone card fits into the laptop’s PC card slot and connects to the Internet via the cellular data network of the cell phone provider. Enabled by the EZ Keys environmental control options, a U-Control III universal remote, connected to the laptop through a USB port, is used to control all appliances, such as the user’s TV, DVD player, and door opener. In addition, the inventor is able to drive his electric wheelchair through a modified USB digital input/output module that communicates the laptop’s commands to the wheelchair’s computer.
Assistive Products Discussed: EZ KEYS
AT&T NATURAL VOICES TEXT-TO-SPEECH DESKTOP SDK
Published by: Muscular Dystrophy Association (Website:http://www.mdausa.org)
Link to text: http://www.mdaquest-digital.com/mdaquest/20080506/?pg=51