At the Independent Living equipment expo Mac and I attended we were very keen to catch up with the latest developments from the guys at Dynamic Controls from NZ.
I have been following their stuff for a while… Liz (Poppy’s mum) brought it to our attention back in 2009.
Mac and I had registered for a mini-seminar with them and, as they were just near the entrance of the expo, had the chance to catch up with them prior to the seminar.
WOW… I am so impressed and excited by their ‘soon to be released’ iPortal.
They currently have an interface with the iPhone/iPad for your powerchair to assist with real-time management of your chair
with the iPortal upgrade
you can use your drive method (be it joystick, switch array etc) to control you iPhone, iPad.
Watching it in action they had the phone in Voice Over mode and were simply using the joystick on the powerchair to move left and right (scan) through the apps then had a select movement (not sure if it was forwards or backwards) to select and open the app.
Mark (from Dynamic Controls) was quite interested to hear Mac is using his two foot switches for Morse Code as they have also added in Morse Code entry as an alternative to linear scanning through the iPhone’s QWERTY keyboard. In their demo it was a left tap of the joystick for ‘dot’ and a right for ‘dash’ and it spoke each letter aloud as they typed them.
Of course, Mac managed to get himself an honourable mention in the seminar as a “morse coder” and potential user. I think the guys were actually pretty chuffed their ‘gut feeling’ and decision to incorporate Morse as an access option was justified.
Check out the video… the really interesting stuff from an iDevice access perspective kicks in around the 1:30 min mark.
So now, I just need to convince them of the need for a bluetooth interface to ‘emulate’ a powerchair so Mac can access his iDevices with a switch array and any other user can do so not only from their powerchair but from any location (lounge/bed/car) they choose.
I admit to having a bit of a soft spot for New Zealand neighbours… they do tend to impress me constantly with their innovation and ability to think outside the square.
I am particularly in love with another NZ invention the YikeBike (and would love to see a wheelchair version… that would be sweet).