Dec 2011

Sailers video blog: Episode 3


My wife and I started a video blog series on Apple technologies, education, and special needs. Episode 3 includes CNN Student News, the BigGrips frame and stand, and an app demo. Watch the video to learn about the information covered and to see me demonstrate one of my new favorite apps.

To receive the next video blog automatically, please subscribe to my blog at http://ericsailers.com/blog.html.

Note that it's best to view the video in 720p HD and full screen mode. You can do this by changing the controls found in the bottom toolbar of the YouTube video.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary BigGrips iPad frame and stand.
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ArtikPix 2.2 adds landscape mode

blogEntryThumbnailArtikPix and ArtikPix - Full version 2.2 were updated prior to the holidays. The major new feature is landscape mode for iPad, which was heavily requested by users. Version 2.2 also adds a feature to the matching activity that involves pressing the Done button after all matches have been made. Users had also requested this feature for enabling more practice at the end of matching, particularly when the configurable option of Hide Matched Cards is turned OFF. If you like these new features in ArtikPix and ArtikPix - Full 2.2, please rate and review the app on iTunes.

On behalf of Eric Sailers and RinnApps, thank you to all ArtikPix users. We appreciate receiving feedback to make ArtikPix a leading speech articulation app. We’re looking forward to working more with users in 2012. Happy Holidays!
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Sailers video blog: Episode 2


My wife and I started a video blog series on Apple technologies, education, and special needs. Episode 2 includes BrainPOP, an iPad stand, and an app demo. Watch the video to learn about the information covered and to see us demonstrate one of our new favorite apps.

To receive the next video blog automatically, please subscribe to my blog at http://ericsailers.com/blog.html.

Note that it's best to view the video in 720p HD and full screen mode. You can do this by changing the controls found in the bottom toolbar of the YouTube video.
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Sailers video blog: Episode 1


My wife and I started a video blog series on Apple technologies, education, and special needs. Episode 1 includes Apple Siri, DS Action (a non-profit organization for Down Syndrome), and an app demo. Watch the video to learn about the information covered and to see us demonstrate one of our new favorite apps.

To receive the next video blog automatically, please subscribe to my blog at http://ericsailers.com/blog.html.

Note that it's best to view the video in 720p HD and full screen mode. You can do this by changing the controls found in the bottom toolbar of the YouTube video.
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New AssistiveWare webinar for Proloquo2Go is now available on iTunes

blogEntryThumbnailAssistiveWare announced their webinar for What’s New in Proloquo2Go 1.7 is now available on iTunes as a free video podcast. Click here or go to iTunes and search for “assistiveware webinars.” You will also be able to view the previous webinars from the July-August series.

Please subscribe to the AssistiveWare Webinar Series on iTunes to stay updated and join in the webinar discussions at the Webinar Forum.

Disclosure: I do work for AssistiveWare and I’m the presenter for this Proloquo2Go webinar series.
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BubCap home button covers


I want to share the BubCap home button covers for iOS devices. A BubCap is like a rigid sticker that is placed over the home button so children (especially children with sensory needs) cannot accidentally exit an app. Although the BubCap protects the home button from children, adults are still able to press it for navigational purposes–though, my wife seemed to have a hard time with this.

The BubCap cover comes in a pack with three different rigidities based on the child’s age and the type of iOS device used. The company suggests that the regular BubCap is for toddlers with iPhone and iPod touch; the BubCap Ultra is for toddlers with iPad or older children with iPhone and iPod touch; finally, the BubCap Max is for older children with iPad. However, my preference is to use the BubCap Ultra on any iOS device. The BubCap Max feels too rigid even for an adult to press.

The BubCap works by peeling off the backing and then placing it on top of your iOS device home button. Once the BubCap has been adhered, let it sit for about 15 minutes before use. Then, you’re ready to go. When you no longer need the BubCap, you can peel it off with you fingernail (applying slow steady pressure) and dispose of it or save it for future use.

As the company website says, BubCaps make a great stocking stuffer and they start at $5 for a 4-pack. BubCaps are well made and a good solution to help children stay within an app.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary 6-pack of BubCaps for demonstration purposes.
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Blue2 Bluetooth Switch by AbleNet

blogEntryThumbnailSince I recently posted about an iPad accessory for physical access, I would like to share another one. I want to discuss the AbleNet Bluetooth switch called Blue2, which provides single or dual switch access to the iPad for individuals with physical disabilities. The Blue2 has a switch interface and two switches built in the same device. The built-in switches are accessible by your hands or feet. You can also plug additional switches in the available right and left ports if you wish to use your own.

Since the switch is Bluetooth enabled, no cords are required for use. You connect and use it wirelessly beginning with the iPad settings. Here are the following steps for setup:
  1. With 2 AA batteries in the device, slide the Power switch to ON
  2. Press and hold the Reset button on the rear part of the device until the red light cycles
  3. On the iPad, open the Settings app, tap General then Bluetooth. Turn Bluetooth ON.
  4. In Bluetooth Settings, choose Dual Pedal to connect it
  5. On the switch, enter in the four digit code using the Mode buttons (note that digits 6-0 require the Shift button plus the Mode button)
  6. Press Enter and you will see the red light flash next to the 1/6 mode button
  7. Finally, press the 5/0 mode button for the Space/Enter function and you will see the red light flash next to it
After the Blue2 switch is connected to the iPad via Bluetooth, you can use it with switch compatible apps. At this moment in time, there are a select number of apps that are compatible, and they are mostly for augmentative communication. The switch compatible apps (that I’m aware of) include the TapSpeak series (Button, Sequence, Choice), Predictable, SoundingBoard (iPhone only), GoTalk Now, Alexicomm AAC, and RJ Cooper apps.

My personal experience with the Blue2 switch has been mostly with the TapSpeak series of apps. At conferences, I have focused on demonstrating the switch with TapSpeak Choice. I used the First page sample board in TapSpeak Choice and began with configuring the in app Settings (the gears button). I selected Scanning Settings and 2 Switch Step scanning. After that, I exited the in app Settings and constructed a message (e.g., “I like dog”) using 2 switch access. In order to construct the message, I had to press the left switch to scan by rows and the right switch to choose a given row or item. Finally, I was able to select the message window to speak the entire message.

There are known limitations at this current time for iPad switch access. First, as I mentioned previously, there are only a select number of switch compatible apps. Second, you cannot use the on-screen keyboard while a switch is connected via Bluetooth. Also, with TapSpeak Choice, you can only utilize one type of access at a time. For example, when 2 Switch step access is enabled, Direct Select touch access is disabled.

Although I discussed Blue2 use with an iPad, it can also be used with switch compatible apps on iPhone and iPod touch. To purchase the Blue2 switch, visit the AbleNet online store. It’s $149.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary Blue2 switch for demonstration purposes.
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Beyond Adaptive iPad Arm Kit

blogEntryThumbnailI would like to share an iPad Arm Kit from a company called Beyond Adaptive. The kit provides an excellent iPad mount for individuals with physical disabilities – even though it can be used by anyone. If someone with a motor impairment (such as an individual with cerebral palsy) wants to access an iPad, the arm kit is a great solution for keeping the device in a stable position.

The kit works by fastening the quick action clamp to an object (e.g., a table), tightening another knob, and placing an iPad (original iPad or iPad 2) in the cradle. As simple as it sounds, it’s that easy to setup.

Since receiving the Beyond Adaptive iPad Arm Kit almost two months ago, I have demonstrated it during various workshops as a high-quality solution for physical access to iPad. When firmly clamped, the kit enables a very sturdy position for the iPad, regardless of where it’s mounted. I attached it to podiums, tabletops, and table legs without any worries of my iPad falling and breaking. I also attached it to wheelchair tray tables for my students with physical disabilities who successfully accessed the iPad independently. It didn’t matter where I clamped the kit or how much pressure was applied to the iPad, the device remained steady. The Beyond Adaptive iPad Arm Kit is wonderful and I highly recommend it for individuals with the need.

The kit pictured above is the Deluxe iPad Arm Kit. The regular price is over $400, but the company is running a special of $351 until the end of 2011. Contact the company for more information and purchasing details.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary iPad Arm Kit for demonstration purposes.
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