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These toy cars are modified for sip-and-puff controls, where one lightly sucks or blows air as an interface.

If you have certain disabilities, use of your hands can be difficult if not impossible. An alternative is an interface known as sip-and-puff, which allows for control of electronics by producing a small air flow with your breath. In the build shown in the videos below, Bob Paradiso integrated this type of command into two types of RC vehicles.

To operate the first vehicle, one simply uses puffs to go forward, while sips make the car go backwards. The second is much more advanced, with a double-puff making the car go forward, a double-sip for backwards, and single puffs and sips to turn left or right.

There are many sip-and-puff controls on the market for various things, but they can be expensive or difficult to customize. What I’m showing here is an extremely affordable, simple to build, and fully customizable sip-and-puff setup used to control two different remote control toys that have very different controls.

You can see Paradiso’s writeup here and check out the code on the project’s GitHub page.

For most of us, our touch-screen smartphones have become an indispensable accessory. Without thinking we tap and swipe our way through our digital existence, the promise of ubiquitous truly portable computing has finally been delivered.

Smartphones present a problem though to some people with physical impairments. A touchscreen requires manual dexterity on a scale we able-bodied people take for granted, but remains a useless glass slab to someone unable to use their arms.

LipSync is a project that aims to address the problem of smartphone usage for one such group, quadriplegic people. It’s a mouth-operated joystick for the phone’s on-screen cursor, with sip-and-puff vacuum control for simulating actions such as screen taps and the back button.

To the smartphone itself, the device appears as a standard Bluetooth pointing device, while at its business end the joystick and pressure sensor both interface to a Bluetooth module through an Arduino Micro. The EAGLE board and schematic files are available on the project’s page linked above, and there is a GitHub repository for the code.

Technology is such a part of our lives these days, and it’s great to see projects like this bridge the usability gaps for everyone.  Needless to say, it’s a perfect candidate for the Assistive Technology round of the Hackaday Prize.



Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Medical hacks, The Hackaday Prize

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