You might be hearing more and more about Switch Control these days.
Apple’s accessibility feature was recently covered by BuzzFeed, where one of Tecla’s first users, Christopher Hills, was highlighted as a great example of someone who uses Switch Control. And more recently, CNN profiled another Tecla user, Todd Stabelfeldt, who runs his software business all from his iPhone.
Both Christopher and Todd have full access to their Apple smart devices, all while living with cerebral palsy and quadriplegia respectively. So where does Tecla come in to all of this? A question we often receive and one we’re happy to answer.
Let’s start with Switch Control first. What is it?
Switch Control (which we first wrote about last year) is a powerful accessibility feature built by Apple that allows someone who uses adaptive switches (like buttons or Bluetooth-enabled switches) to access an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. With Switch Control and their assistive switch, they can control most of the basic functions of their iOS device – either with the switch, by tapping the screen or by using the FaceTime camera.
So why Tecla?
Tecla comes in when someone wants more in-depth capabilities of their apps and of their smart device as a whole – to essentially be able to control all of it. With Switch Control and a simple adaptive switch alone, you can’t necessarily do this.
But with Tecla, you have the ability to control more (if not all) of your phone. You also have the flexibility to set up your entire phone system in whichever way suits you best. This means you can use just one switch or six switches. Or maybe just a joystick. The choice is yours. With multiple switch options, you can assign different functions to different switches. So with Tecla, there is a lot more flexibility in your setup than just with a simple switch device and Switch Control.
Now let’s go even further. Here are the features of Tecla that, when combined with assistive switches and Switch Control, provide a truly fulfilling phone experience.
1. Portability and mounting options
Other Bluetooth-enabled switch devices on the market may not be portable and their switches are built directly in. This means that putting the switch device in a backpack, for example, would not be feasible since it could get activated by mistake. With Tecla, you can mount it inside your wheelchair, on a desk or near a bed. And since you have the flexibility to use whichever switches you prefer in whatever manner you prefer, you are never limited to where you can go with Tecla.
2. Always on and connected
Other assistive devices that use Bluetooth to connect to Switch Control behave like a keyboard, and will go to sleep if you don’t use them for a period of time. Tecla maintains its Bluetooth connection and always stays on. So even if the iPad hasn’t heard from Tecla in a while and wants to go to sleep, Tecla will say to it, “no I’m still here,” and they won’t disconnect. That’s why with Tecla, when you press a switch, you’re always connected to your smart device – no matter how much time has passed from the last time you used it.
3. Multiple switches
Tecla can accommodate one switch, all the way up to six switches. Being portable, this means that you can use it from your wheelchair during the day, to your bed at night – with the same switch or different ones. So when people use the built-in functionality of their wheelchair to access Switch Control and their iPhone, for bedtime use, they would need another assistive device. But with Tecla, you can continue to use your smart device effortlessly from wherever you are with the same switches.
4. Built-in features
Tecla already has features which are built in to the hardware, like shortcuts for the home screen and Siri. These features mean you have easier access to your iOS device and they cut down on the number of switches needed to make them happen.
The bottom line is that Tecla has a ton of features (long-lasting battery, it’s always on and connected to Bluetooth, it can accommodate up to six switches, etc.) whereas other assistive devices on the market are very fixed. With Tecla, you have a ton of flexibility to have your unique needs met. And once it’s set up, there really is minimal input required from that point on. Just relax and enjoy all the benefits of your Apple smart device in the way that suits you best.