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Device Review

Welcome to the Assistive Technology Device Review

In this section, a list of assistive technology device reviews, both hardware and software, are split up into AT categories (i.e. Electronic Cognitive Devices, Computer Access, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication). The selection of appropriate assistive technology (AT) devices is critical to matching the technology to the individual given the activity and environment. This increases utilization and decreases likelihood for abandonment. In order to facilitate this process, a mechanism was developed and implemented for reviewing technology and sharing information. The process is based on the work of Batavia and Hammer which includes reviewing the devices based on seventeen factors, a list of both indications and contraindications as well as a device summary. Though each of the factors may not directly apply to each device, they provide a framework for analyzing each assistive technology device in a consistent manner.

Feel free to contact Telina Caudill (Telina.Caudill@va.gov) or Evi Klein (Eve.Klein@va.gov) if you want to submit a review of your own.  We’re always looking for new reviews as to download the template, please click here.

Device Reviews for Electronic Cognitive Devices

External aids, once referred to as assistive technology for cognition (ATC) and now electronic cognitive devices (ECD) are tools or devices that either reduce the cognitive demands of a task or transform the task or environment to match the users’ abilities. The use of ECDs has been widely considered useful interventions for people with cognitive impairments after TBI in the clinical arena. The increasingly popular portable electronic devices (e.g., smartphones and smart pads) along with applications (apps) have transformed how people now engage in daily life activities, and the Prosthetic Clinical Management Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs has established clinical practice recommendations for electronic cognitive devices (see below for hyperlink to document). In addition, compensatory devices, such as memory books and electronic paging systems, are used both to improve particular cognitive functions and to compensate for specific deficits.
  1. Breathe2Relax (2017)
  2. TalkPath Therapy by The Aphasia Company (2017)
  3. Sony SmartWatch 3 by Sony (2017)
  4. Be My Eyes by Be My Eyes (2016)
  5. Virtual Hope Box Application by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (2015)
  6. Pimlical Advanced Calendar/PIM app by Pimlico Software, Inc. (2015)
  7. The MedCenter Talking One-Month Medication Organizer and Reminder by MedCenter Systems (2015)
  8. Cadex 12 Alarm Medication Reminder and Alert Watch By e-pill (2015)
  9. WatchMinder by WatchMinder (2015)
  10. Organizer To-Do: All-In-One Grocery, Task & Calendar Manager by Yadahome (2013)
  11. VoiceCue by Attainment Company Inc. (2013)
  12. Pocket Endeavor Suite by AbleLink Technologies (2012)
  13. Apple iPad 2 by Apple (2011)
  14. Livescribe Pulse by Livescribe (2010)
  15. Apple iPod Touch by Apple (2010)

Device Reviews for Computer Access

Assistive Computer Access is any piece of equipment that is customized to make life easier for a person who has a disability. People with disabilities face a variety of challenges in terms of providing computer input, interpreting output and reading documentation. For persons with disabilities, the keyboard, mouse, and monitor are of prime concern so adaptive hardware and software have been developed to provide alternatives.

Screen reader programs such as JAWS are designed to allow individuals with visual impairments use the computer. They convert the text and icons to speech so one can use a computer without needing to see the monitor. Accessible computer equipment and PC access aids can make it easier for computer users to use word processing programs, surf the Internet, and send email, but they can also help non-computer users handle many non-computer tasks.

Examples of Assistive Computer Access include:

  • Optical character recognition (OCR) software systems are used to scan printed materials directly into the PC to accommodate many types of disabilities
  • Screen readers are software programs that provide either speech or Braille output, and are commonly employed by persons who are blind or visually impaired
  • Non-assistive computer programs like electronic mail and instant messaging empower individuals with hearing-related impairments to communicate over the Internet
  • Magnification software enlarges text and graphics displayed on PC monitors. Magnification programs are widely used by persons with poor vision or who have difficulty reading
     

Common keyboard input modifications include:

  • Adapted keyboards
  • On-screen keyboards
  • Alternative communication programs
  • Voice recognition
     

Alternative input devices allow individuals to control their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or pointing device. Examples include:

  • Sip-and-puff systems - activated by inhaling or exhaling
  • Joysticks - manipulated by hand, feet, chin, etc. and used to control the cursor on screen
  • Trackballs - movable balls on top of a base that can be used to move the cursor on screen
  • Wands and sticks - worn on the head, held in the mouth or strapped to the chin and used to press keys on the keyboard
  • Alternative keyboards - featuring larger- or smaller-than-standard keys or keyboards, alternative key configurations, and keyboards for use with one hand
  • Electronic pointing devices - used to control the cursor on the screen without use of hands. Devices used include ultrasound, infrared beams, eye movements, nerve signals, or brain waves
  • Touch screens - allow direct selection or activation of the computer by touching the screen, making it easier to select an option directly rather than through a mouse movement or keyboard. Touch screens are either built into the computer monitor or can be added onto a computer monitor

  1. PhotoMath App (2017)
  2. X-keys XK-24 USB Keypad by P.I. Engineering (2017)
  3. Quha Zono by Quha (2017)
  4. Notability by Ginger Labs, Inc. (2017)
  5. Neo N2 Smartpen with Neo Notes App by Neo Smartpen (2016)
  6. Microsoft Surface by Microsoft (2016)
  7. Quicktionary Text-to-Speech Reading Pen by WizCom Technologies (2016)
  8. Livescribe 3 Smartpen by Livescribe (2016)
  9. PC Eye Go by Tobii (2015)
  10. Dasher by The Dasher Project (2015)
  11. Brainfingers - Hands-Free Computer Control by Brain Actuated Technologies (2014)
  12. iOS 7 Switch Control by Apple (2013)
  13. Livescribe Sky 8GB Wifi Smartpen by Livescribe (2013)
  14. knfb Reading Mobile software (v.6.4.4) on Nokia N86 8MP by knfb Reading Technology (2013)
  15. Pillboxie App by Pillboxie (2012)
  16. GINGER by Ginger Software (2012)
  17. SCATIR Switch by Ablenet Technology (2012)
  18. Inspiration by Inspiration Software, Inc. (2011)
  19. WordQ by Quillsoft (2011)
  20. MS Windows 7 Speech Recognition (2011)
  21. Apple iPad by Apple (2010)
  22. Read & Write Gold 9 by Texthelp Systems (2010)
  23. Kurzweil 3000 by Kurzweil Education (2010)

Device Reviews for Augmentative and Alternative Communications

  1. Pointello by Talk To Me Technologies (2017)
  2. Lightwriter SL40 Connect by Tobii Dynavox (2016)
  3. Model Talker by Nemours Speech Research Laboratory (2015)
  4. Tobii Dynavox I-12 by Tobii Dynavox (2015)
  5. Verbally by Intuary (2014)
  6. MegaBee Electronic Hand-held Writing Tablet by MegaBee (2014)
  7. Safe Laser System by Invotek (2012)
  8. NeuroSwitch G5 Liberator by Control Bionics (2011)
  9. PredictAble App Version 1.1 by Therapy Box Limited (2011)
  10. Lingraphica and SmallTalk AAC devices by The Aphasia Company (2011)
  11. Chat PC Silk + by Saltillo Corporation (2011)
  12. Proloquo2Go by AssistiveWare (2010)
  13. DynaWrite by DynaVox (2010)
  14. DynaVox Xpress by DynaVox (2010)

Device Reviews for Environmental Control Units

  1. Google Home by Google (2017)
  2. Amazon Echo/Echo Dot by Amazon (2017)
  3. Amazon Echo by Amazon (2016)
  4. Autonome by Accessibility Services, Inc. (2016)
  5. Insteon Hub Pro & Insteon+ App for iOS by Insteon (2016)
  6. RECESS by Convergence Concepts (2015)
  7. PageBot for Kindle by Origin Instruments (2014)
  8. ComPilot by Phonak Inc. (2013)
  9. Vocally 3-Voice Activated Telephone Dialer (2013)
  10. Primo! by Possum (2011)
  11. Powerhouse Roommate Plus by Saje Technology (2011)
  12. Quartet Technology, Inc. ECU Product Line (2010)

Device Reviews for Adaptive Sports and Recreational Technologies

  1. Apple TV by Apple (2015)
  2. One Handed Ergonomic Palm Game Controller by Broaden Horizons (2013)
  3. UP Band by Jawbone (2012)
  4. Mount N Mover by Bluesky Designs (2011)
  5. Top End Force-2 Handcycle by Invacare (2011)

Device Reviews for Mobility Assistive Equipment

  1. Ekso GT by Ekso Bionics, Inc. (2017)
  2. SmartDrive MX2 by Max Mobility (2017)
  3. Box Wheelchair by Box Wheelchair (2016)
  4. Ride Designs Liquid Cushion by Ride Designs (2015)
  5. Pride Quantum Q6 Edge HD by Quantum (2014)
  6. Spinergy ZX-1 Power Add-On by Spinergy (2014)
  7. Xsensor Pressure Imaging System by Xsensor Technology Corporation (2014)
  8. Permobil M300 Corpus 3G Midwheel Drive Power Wheelchair by Permobil (2012)

Device Review for Adaptive Driving

  1. Advanced Electronic Vehicle Interface Technology 2.0 by Electronic Mobility Controls (2012)

References:

Batavia, A.I. & Hammer, G.S. (1990).  Toward the development of consumer-based criteria for the evaluation of assistive devices. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 27(4), 425-436.


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