An assistive switch is an input-output device that allows the individuals with physical disabilities user to independently activate assistive technology devices and switch-enabled devices such as an iPhone. Choosing the right assistive switch can have many factors, including preference, dexterity, and whether the user is looking for the tool for when they are out and about or while laying in bed before sleeping. The proper switch will open up a world of access to communication devices, environmental controls, computer software, and mobile devices.
Here are 7 common assistive switches that unlock a world of independence for individuals with physical disabilities:
Image Source - (Quickie Wheelchairs)
The most common power chair driving control and assistive switch is a joystick, which is mounted on the end of the armrest.
The joystick can activate four different devices depending on the direction the switch is moved. For example, if the user moves the switch to the left it will activate one device, moving it backward will activate another and so forth. When connected to tecla-e, momentarily holding the joystick in different directions will allow you to quickly switch between blBluetoothnabled smart devices. For example, lightly pressing the joystick forward will give you hands-free access to your smartphone, pressing right will give access to your tablet, pressing down will turn on or off your Philips Hue light and pressing left will give access to your Smart TV.
2. Buddy Button
The Buddy Button by Ablenet is a wired switch featuring a round activation surface used to send commands to your Tecla. It provides an auditory "click" and tactile feedback to inform you that the button has been pressed.
The Buddy Button is great for controlling devices with hand, arm, or head movement. Multiple Buddy Buttons can be used to customize your control of your device even further. Just watch Tecla user Christopher Hills to get inspired!
3. Chin Switch
A Chin Switch can be positioned anywhere around the neck, and it's flexible plastic tubing can be tailored to the user. Moving your head down onto the contact surface will activate the switch. Perfect for those with limited directional head movement. Nodding motion is necessary to use the device. The Ablenet Chin Switch provides an auditory "click" and tactile feedback.
The Ablenet Micro Light Switch features a small activation surface and only requires a light touch to activate. The Micro Light Switch provides both auditory "click" and tactile feedback upon activation.
The Micro Light Switch is perfect for use for those with limited hand or finger movement, or for use with slight shoulder or neck motion.
Read about Tecla user Maggie to see how the Micro Light Switch works for her!
The Ablenet Pillow Switch features a soft foam activation surface. Like our other switches the Pillow Switch provides an auditory "click" and tactile feedback.
This switch is perfect for use in bed or on a wheelchair. The Pillow Switch can be used with hands, arms, shoulders or head. Go hands free with this switch by Ablenet.
The Self Calibrating Auditory Tone Infrared (SCATIR) Switch is a momentary contact optical switch with auditory feedback that works by detecting a beam of reflected pulsed infrared light. The SCATIR Switch can be controlled with an eye blink, eyebrow movement, finger movement, head movement, and facial muscle movement. Recommended for users who have difficulty activating push-button switches.
The Ablenet Sip-and-Puff Switch is activated with either a "sip" or a "puff" of the mouth with the included small mouth piece. Perfect for those with little to no neck movement, or addition to other switches for customized control.
You can find all of the switches available through Tecla by clicking here!