Text Talker Grid Set Promotes Natural and Efficient Text Communication

Communications devices for quadriplegics continue to advance thanks to new Grid Sets available for Grid 3 software. Text Talker is not a typical text-to-speech keyboard. It features advanced augmentative and alternative (AAC) capabilities which promote natural and efficient text communication. Featuring patented chat history technology, Text Talker can remember everything an individual says and allows words to be spoken again when the user begins to type a keyword. Text Talker also allows users to easily switch between conversations, save and retrieve messages, utilize temporarily stored phrases and save message drafts.

Another popular feature of Text Talker is its message banking capability. This advanced augmentative and alternative (AAC) feature allows individuals with speech capability to capture their voice and recall it as needed. Text Talker also allows users to quickly speak pre-stored phrases without typing.

ASI’s mission is to incorporate quadriplegic assistive technologies designed to promote independence in all of the products we offer. Contact us today for a free trial of Text Talker.

How Environmental Control Units for Disabled Individuals Benefit Patients in Hospital Settings

More and more occupational and physical therapists are realizing the benefit of utilizing environmental control units for disabled individuals in hospital settings.  An environmental control unit (ECU) is a type of adaptive equipment for quadriplegics and individuals with various types of disabilities.  It allows patients, especially those with spinal cord injuries, to gain control of their surroundings and experience independence.  Incorporating an ECU in hospital settings can significantly benefit both the patient and care staff.  Not all hospitals are equipped with an ECU.  Hospital staff and therapists who have worked with ECU’s report the following advantages:

  • Ability for patients to control their surroundings
  • Bed control
  • Television control
  • Ability to make phone calls
  • Ability to play games and access the Internet

ASI has installed our signature autonoME in spinal cord injury units throughout the country.  The autonoME is both an ECU and communications device for quadriplegics, which means it also helps individuals communicate in addition to controlling their environment.

The autonoME can be equipped with various input methods to accommodate the needs of a wide range of individuals.  Touch screen, voice activation, sip ‘n puff, head tracking and eye gaze can all be used to control the autonoME. In many cases, patients who have used an ECU in hospital settings will also purchase one when they transition home. Perhaps the biggest advantage of incorporating an ECU in hospital settings is that the patient will have already learned how to use the unit when they return home.

There are countless benefits of an ECU.  Hospital based physical and occupational therapists are turning to this type of quadriplegic assistive technologies to help their patients adapt to their injury or disease and ultimately gain independence.

Want to learn more? Contact ASI today for a complimentary demonstration

Grid 3.0.30 is Now Available

Be sure to keep your Grid 3 software up to date to ensure your unit is equipped with the latest and greatest features.  The Grid 3.0.30 update includes:

  • Merged Quick Write and Write commands to make editing easier
  • A new, simpler Write command
  • Cells now remember the predictions when you return to a grid thanks to the new ‘Last suggested’ option for populating prediction cells in Word lists.
  • Brazilian Portuguese is now supported
  • Improved chat history and editing
  • Faster saving
  • Enhanced Dropbox capabilities – it no longer requires attention when waking a device from standby
  • Grid 3 Tobii calibrations now persist across sessions
  • Improved EyeTech camera usability
  • Eye gaze monitor no longer displays the face rather than an empty cell when a camera is not configured
  • Prediction cells no longer go blank after completing a word when using a Word list
  • Suggested words appear faster

Update today!!!

Grid 3.0.30 is now available in Early Access

Be sure to keep your Grid3 software up to date.  Each update offers new features and fixes designed to enhance the performance and function of your autonoME and/or Grid Pad device.  Grid 3.0.30 includes:

  • Merging of the Quick Write and Write commands to make editing easier.
  • Incorporation of a new ‘Last suggested’ option for populating prediction cells when using Word lists. Cells now remember the predictions.
  • Additional language support to include Brazilian Portuguese
  • Enhancements and performance upgrades for chat history, editing and faster saving
  • Dropbox no longer requires attention when waking a device from standby
  • Grid 3 Tobii calibrations have been corrected
  • Improved EyeTech camera
  • The eye gaze monitor now shows an empty cell when a camera is not configured
  • Prediction cells no longer go blank after completing a word using a Word list
  • Suggested words now appear faster

Grid 3 software is the perfect planform to use in environmental control units for disabled individuals.  In fact, the autonoME – powered by Grid 3 software – is one of the most sought after packages for quadriplegics.  Assistive technologies continue to evolve, and the autonoME with Grid 3 software is designed to keep you ahead of this ever-changing curve.

Attending ATIA? If So, We Would Love to Meet You!

Attending ATIA
ASI’s Brice Green will be presenting a session alongside our good friend Neil Hansen from Smartbox at the 2018 Assistive Technology Industry (ATIA) conference held on January 30th – February 3rd at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida:

Combining Environmental Control with Speech Generation to Achieve Maximum Independence
Thursday, February 1st
11:00am
Exhibit Hall Theater
Session Code: ATIF-22
Strand: Assistive Technology for Improved Function

Brice would love to meet you and give you a live demonstration of the autonoME. If you cannot make the seminar but will be in Orlando during this time, just let us know and we will schedule a time for you and Brice to connect.

We look forward to seeing you at ATIA!

Why is an Environmental Control Unit So Important?

Imagine suddenly not being able to walk, talk, type on a keyboard, open your window shades, turn on a fan or tune your television to your favorite television show.  For thousands of quadriplegics and individuals with a spinal cord injury or debilitating disease, this nightmare has become a harsh reality.  Dealing with the physical aspects of a disability is difficult enough.  Discovering you no longer have the ability to do simple things – things we all take for granted –

Is one of the most devastating aspects of a spinal cord injury or debilitating disease.  Often, especially in the case of quadriplegics, depression and despair quickly takes over.  However, there is hope.  Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) provides custom environmental control units to quadriplegics and individuals facing debilitating diseases.

What is an Environmental Control Unit?

Environmental control units allow users to control items such as their lights, phone, bed, television, doors, thermostat, ceiling fans and computer.  An environmental control unit is a special type of computerized device which allows individuals to control their surroundings.

What is a Custom Environmental Control Unit?

A spinal cord injury, disability or disease affect each person in a different way.  Some may retain some movement in their fingers, while others may only have the ability to move their eyes. A custom environmental control unit is one with features designed to accommodate the needs of each specific individual. ASI’s autonoME takes this one step further in that it is a custom environmental control unit with augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) capabilities.  So, not only can an individual control their environment, the autonoME’s AAC features allow them to communicate as well.

Restoring independence is probably one of the most – if not the most – important part of helping quadriplegics come to terms with their spinal cord injury or disease. A custom environmental control unit not only helps the individual, but also gives their caregiver(s) a sense of peace as well.

Our next article will discuss the various input methods that can be incorporated into a custom environmental control unit.

 

ASI’s Brice Green Selected to Present at the 2018 Assistive Technology Industry Conference (ATIA)

Our own Brice Green has been selected to present at the ATIA 2018 conference in Orlando, Florida held January 21st – February 3rd, 2018.  Green will be presenting a session titled, Combining Environmental Control with Speech Generation to Achieve Maximum Independence.  According to Green:

“Effectively combining environmental control with speech generation can be challenging, especially when the patient is required to use multiple devices, platforms and software. The autonoME, developed by Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI), is unique in that it combines both an environmental control unit (ECU) and speech generating device (SGD) into one complete package. This allows once mobile and verbal individuals now faced with losing their independence the ability to control their environment and generate speech using one single interface. The autonoME’s advanced augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) offers versatility and features which can be customized to meet the specific needs of each patient.  Most importantly, it is powered by the easy to learn and user friendly Grid 3 software. The efficacy of the autonoME has been quite impressive in both residential and hospital settings.”

We are excited to have the opportunity to discuss in-depth how this technology can benefit quadriplegics, and individuals with debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and progress forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Special thank you to Smartbox who invited us to apply to speak at this conference.  Neil Hanson, Commercial Director of Smartbox, will be flying in from the UK to join us for the presentation.

If you are planning to attend ATIA 2018, please let us know.  We will be happy to schedule a personalized live demonstration of the autonoME for you!

Parachuting, Anyone?

As you probably already know, everyone here at ASI are huge advocates of independence. We’ve built our business on and dedicated our lives to helping quadriplegics achieve independence in their lives. Perhaps this is why stories like the one below touch our hearts:

Check this out:

Talk about independence – whoa!!!  This group of paraplegics and quadriplegics had the opportunity to go indoor skydiving thanks to the Determined2Heal Foundation.  From the looks of things, everyone had a blast! How many of you are brave enough to try it?

Seeing individuals who are quadriplegics due to spinal cord injury or debilitating diseases such as MS and ALS enjoy the freedom of flying is truly incredible. We, too, work every day to improve the lives of quadriplegics.  There is nothing more gratifying than walking into the home of a quadriplegic and installing a custom environmental control unit designed to give them the freedom to control their surroundings.  Or, knowing that our signature autonoME environmental control unit/speech generating device is being used in hospitals and Veteran’s Administration Spinal Cord Injury Units across the United States to help quadriplegics become more independent.

Do you or a loved one have an inspiring story of independence to share?  If so, send us a quick e-mail or give us a call.  We would love to feature you on our website and even possibly write a press release or story about your adventure!

WordPower 60 – Proven Success with AAC

If you are looking for a proven alternative augmentative communication (AAC) grid set for your automoME (environmental control unit/speech generating device) or Grid Pad, look no further! WordPower 60 is now available and it is absolutely awesome.  WordPower 60 was created as a result of the incredible response to last year’s release of WordPower 100.  While both are ideal AAC models, WordPower 60 is designed to be more accessible for people requiring larger or fewer cells.  It also includes many accessible apps allowing users to send e-mails, browse the Internet, send SMS messages, listen to music, participate in chats and more.

Let’s take a look at some of WordPower 60’s most attractive features:

  1. Most used core vocabulary is displayed at the top of the page
  2. Core verb displays dynamic links to category
  3. Word prediction
  4. Category grids incorporate core vocabulary
  5. Apps galore
  6. Grids for environmental control

WordPower 60 uses an evidence-based core vocabulary designed to make developing sentences quick and easy.  WordPower 60 is ideal for quadriplegics and individuals with spinal cord injuries because its larger cells better accommodate motor and visual difficulties. It is also popular with children and those at earlier stages of language development.

The regular addition of innovative grid sets like WordPower 60 is yet another reason why ASI products are powered by Grid 3 software. It is easy to add WordPower 60 to your autonoME or Grid Pad.  Simply update your Grid 3 software to version 3.0.24 (or later) and navigate to the “Add Grid Set” menu. WordPower 60 is found under symbol communication.

Have you tried either WordPower 100 or WordPower 60 specifically for AAC?  If so, drop us a quick line and let us know what you think!

ASI’s autonoME Makes History at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) had the opportunity to install our autonoME environmental control units/speech generating devices in three specialty rooms at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. KSTP TV- 5 in St. Paul, Minnesota covered the story, as it is the only pediatric hospital in the state outfitted with this type of technology.  The young man featured in the news story below uses the autonoME outfitted with sip ‘n puff to lower the shade in his room and operates his television with voice control.  Check it out:

Watch KSTP-TV 5 News Story:

ASI was proud to be part of this project designed to help improve the quality of life and promote the independence of quadriplegics at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.   We look forward to installing autonoME’s in even more hospitals throughout the country!