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Touch Sleeve Helps Children With Disabilities Use Tablets

The Access4Kids device allows otherwise motor-skill impaired children to use the technology.

Ryan Gerhardt
Ryan Gerhardt on December 14, 2012.

For years, handicapped individuals lacking fine-motor skills have had difficulty interacting with computers and other technology. The creation of tablets and other touch-sensitive devices has created yet another hurdle for disabled adults and children alike.

Georgia Tech researchers, led by Ayanna Howard, hope to have bridged the gap of tablet use for the motor-skill impaired with the creation of Access4Kids.

Access4Kids is a wireless sleeve that uses a sensor system to translate movements into fine-motor controls. The device, which can be worn on a sleeve or the arm of a chair/wheelchair, uses a set of three force-sensitive patches to detect pressure and movement for conversion into control instructions for the tablet.

With a mere swipe or press on one of the patches, those lacking fine-motor skills gain a whole new level of control and access to touch-technology. The researchers hope to develop Access4Kids into a commercial product, allowing for greater accessibility to everyday programs like Facebook and YouTube as well as a new platform for therapy programs for motor skills.

Access4Kids could present an avenue of not only greater accessibility, but also greater contribution from those who may have been limited up to this point in their ability to interact in the digital sphere. With over 200,000 children in U.S. public schools currently excluded from these devices, Access4Kids could be a real breakthrough.

Access4Kids has already gained positive feedback from children and caregivers alike. It was even a finalist for a showcase on such developments, sponsored around the Paralympic games this past summer.

Check out the video below for an explanation and demonstration of the product:

Access4Kids

Photos by Georgia Tech

 

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