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Archive for the ‘accessibility’ Category

If you have a serious visual impairment, using a computer isn’t easy. [Dhiraj] has a project that allows people fluent in Braille to use that language for input. In addition to having a set position for fingers, the device also reads the key pressed as you type. With some third party software it is possible to even create Word documents, according to [Dhiraj].

You can see the finished product in the video below. This is one of those projects where the idea is the hardest part. Reading six buttons and converting them into characters is fairly simple. Each Braille character uses a cell of six bumps and the buttons mimic those bumps (although laid out for your fingers).

Our thoughts are that it might be nice to have some tactile feedback on the first switch since the intended users probably can’t see the switches. Perhaps the audio sounds a little rough, but that could have been the speakers. Maybe also a dedicated spacebar and an easier way to select letters vs figures without moving your hands might be nice, too. None of that would be hard to fix.

The code was quite simple, though we can see that you might get some false keystrokes. Every 250 milliseconds the Arduino reads the seven input switches (the seventh switch is the letters/figures select). Then a giant if statement decodes the letter. Just stylistically, we would have probably built a number and used it to select from an array, as with 7 switches it would consume just 128 bytes. More importantly though we would probably wait for at least one on to off transition to start the decoding. The switches are active high, so we’d probably write something like this:

unsigned code,oldcode;
code=oldcode=0;
do {
   oldcode=code;
   code=read_button_code();  // get current code
   } while (oldcode<=code);
// process oldcode

If this looks confusing, try a few examples (you can do that online, too). At first, the oldcode is zero so code will never be less than that (note the integers are unsigned). As long as bits keep getting set, code will be greater than or equal to oldcode. However, if any bit goes from 1 to zero then the total magnitude of code must be less than oldcode. That triggers the processing. Of course, you might also want to debounce the switches in read_button_code to make sure you have a stable input, too.

Still, what a great and useful idea it is, and one easy enough to build on the original design. We’ve seen a Braille tablet before. If you have some spare space on your next PCB, you could always replace some community signs.

Central Florida Maker groups use their diverse skills to create an interactive Bumblebee costume in only 3 weeks for a Magic Wheelchair recipient.

Read more on MAKE

The post Watch These Makers Transform a Wheelchair into an Interactive Bumblebee Costume appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

A variety of accessibility devices were on display at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016. Photo by Hep SvadjaWilliam Gerrey and Dr. Joshua Miele made the Blind Arduino Project to help those in the blind community expand their STEM and Maker education.

Read more on MAKE

The post Blind Arduino Project Proves You Don’t Need to See to Build Electronics appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

ZarrarWinsCalifAbu Zubair developed a toy to help his son with fine motor skills. Now this toy is helping many more children with autism.

Read more on MAKE

The post Father Creates an Interactive Toy that Hones Fine Motor Skills for Son with Autism appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

[Hari Wiguna’s] father is ninety years young. He started having trouble pushing the buttons on his TV remote, so [Hari] decided to build a custom remote that just has the buttons his dad needs. Oh, and the buttons are big.

There are few interesting things about this project. [Hari] wanted to maximize battery life, so he went through a good bit of effort to keep the processor asleep and minimize power consumption. The remote is programmable, but [Hari] didn’t have access to his dad’s remotes. His answer was elegant. He used his Android phone to mimic the required remotes and provided a way for the remote to learn from another remote (in this case, the phone).

[Hari] made a series of videos that cover the project from the breadboard to a good-looking plastic case with laser cut overlays. It is a well-thought out and documented Arduino project and a good model for what you can do to make life more accessible to anyone with special needs.

[Hari’s] code is available on Github. We are sure his dad will be happy with the result. It is sometimes easier to think of what we want (like a cool and complex touch screen remote) instead of what the end user will appreciate, but [Hari] nailed it, we think. Of course, back in the day, your remote only had seven buttons, anyway.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, home entertainment hacks

[Hari Wiguna’s] father is ninety years young. He started having trouble pushing the buttons on his TV remote, so [Hari] decided to build a custom remote that just has the buttons his dad needs. Oh, and the buttons are big.

There are few interesting things about this project. [Hari] wanted to maximize battery life, so he went through a good bit of effort to keep the processor asleep and minimize power consumption. The remote is programmable, but [Hari] didn’t have access to his dad’s remotes. His answer was elegant. He used his Android phone to mimic the required remotes and provided a way for the remote to learn from another remote (in this case, the phone).

[Hari] made a series of videos that cover the project from the breadboard to a good-looking plastic case with laser cut overlays. It is a well-thought out and documented Arduino project and a good model for what you can do to make life more accessible to anyone with special needs.

[Hari’s] code is available on Github. We are sure his dad will be happy with the result. It is sometimes easier to think of what we want (like a cool and complex touch screen remote) instead of what the end user will appreciate, but [Hari] nailed it, we think. Of course, back in the day, your remote only had seven buttons, anyway.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, home entertainment hacks
Nov
08

mitosis

Cell biology professor [Mike] has created a way for blind students to decipher microscope slides using 3D prints and the magic of capacitive sensing. His write-up focuses on a slide showing the anaphase stage of mitosis in whitefish blastula, a popular choice for studying cell division. When a student touches a certain area of the print, the capacitive sensor triggers audio playback to tell them what they’re feeling.

[Mike] started by turning a 2D image of a cell into a 3D print. To do this, he made the image black and white, and then inverted the colors so that the 3D print’s topography will correspond correctly. The talking part is handled by an Arduino Duemilanove and a Spikenzie voice shield. The latter has a somewhat limited amount of space, but is more than adequate for the audio labels [Mike] made, which are all less than three seconds long.

A hard copy of the 2D file comes in handy for making sure the cap sensors are in the right places. To make those, [Mike] cut up some floor protector pads and covered the sticky side with copper tape. These are held on the 2D image with double-sided tape. The 3D print sits on top, separated by more furniture pads at the corners. He labeled this scientific sandwich model with a 3D printed Braille label that reads ‘anaphase’. [Mike] has made the referenced STL file along with a few others available at the National Institutes of Health’s 3D print exchange site.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks


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