ATFAQ Feature Image Logo

ATFAQ167 – Q1. Sip Puff controlled computers, Q2. Remote Supports in Home, Q3. Keyboard Access on iPad, Q4. Anti-Tremor computer mouse, Q5. Jumbo Braille options, Q6. Wildcard: virus protection for your smartphone

Play

ATFAQ Feature Image Logo

Panelists: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Tracy Castillo, Belva Smith

ATFAQ167 – Q1. Sip Puff controlled computers, Q2. Remote Supports in Home, Q3. Keyboard Access on iPad, Q4. Anti-Tremor computer mouse, Q5. Jumbo Braille options, Q6. Wildcard: virus protection for your smartphone

—– Transcript Starts Here —–

Intro:
I have a question.

Intro:
Huh?

Intro:
Like what?

Intro:
I’ve always wondered.

Intro:
What about? Do you know?

Intro:
I have a question.

Intro:
I’ve always wondered.

Intro:
Like I have a question.

Intro:
I have a question.

Intro:
Oh, I have a question.

Intro:
I have a question.

Intro:
I have a question.

Brian Norton:
Welcome to ATAFQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host, Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easterseals Crossroads. This is a show where we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like to answer it on our show? Send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Call our listener line at 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. The world of assistive technology has questions and we have answers. And now let’s jump into today’s show.

Brian Norton:
Hello and welcome to ATAFQ episode 167. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. And we’re so happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week. We’ve got a great lineup of assistive technology questions for today. But before we jump in, I just want to take a moment, go around our virtual room and introduce the folks who are here with me. The first is Belva. Belva is the Vision Team Lead for our Clinical Assistive Technology Team here at Easterseals Crossroads. Belva, you want to say, hey?

Belva Smith:
Good afternoon, everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Next is Tracy. Tracy is the End Data Program Manager. So Tracy, do you want to say, hey?

Tracy Castillo:
Hello everyone. Thanks for listening.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then we got Josh. Josh is the popular host of Assistive Technology Update, one of our other podcasts here at Easterseals Crossroads, but also the Manager of our Clinical Assistive Technology Team. So Josh, you want to say, hey?

Josh Anderson:
Hi everybody. Thanks for listening.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent. For those that are new with us today, just want to talk to you a bit about how the show works. We receive feedback and come across various assistive technology related questions throughout the week. And we’ve got a few ways for you to be able to get those to us.

Brian Norton:
The first is through our listener line. That is 317-721-7124. Or through an email. It’s tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATAFQ. All great ways to get us your questions.

Brian Norton:
Again, as I mentioned before, we also like to get feedback. So as we go through questions today, if you have any feedback, let us know. You can get us that feedback those same ways, the listener line, email, and Twitter through hashtag ATAFQ.

Brian Norton:
So without further ado, I just want to jump into our questions. We’ve got quite a good lineup I think of questions. So the first one was an email from Joe. This question went, I have a client with muscular dystrophy and she is requesting help with computer access and has very limited movement. She has a power chair that she can maneuver with her thumb, but that’s about it. And they are interested in a sip-and-puff controlled computer system. Do you have any information that I can relay to them?

Brian Norton:
So I’ll just jump out there and mention Origin Instruments. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re a great company. They do a lot of different types of assistive technology, but they have a couple of different sip-and-puff solutions for you. One is called the Breeze. And we use this in our loan library quite often, but it’s the sip-and-puff Breeze. It’s basically a USB computer dongle that has a couple of switch inputs that you can connect to the computer, but then also comes with the sip-and-puff as well, if you, as an access method for that.

Brian Norton:
It is pretty easy. You just simply plug it in. It’s got a tube that’s connected to it. You can get a replacement tube if you need those, depending on who’s using it and how long they’ve used it. But I would mention the sip-and-puff Breeze. Origin Instruments, let me give you their web address so you can look at them. It’s O-R-I-N .com. And on there you can go to sip-and-puff switch solutions, and they’ve got single and multi-user options. And that sip-and-puff switch, the Breeze is the one that we have in our loan library. And it seems to work pretty well for a lot of folks.

Brian Norton:
They’ve got a little bit more sophisticated systems as well, depending on what you’re using it for and what you’re trying to control and how many inputs you need, but Orin, Origin is the name of the company, but their website is orin.com.

Brian Norton:
And I think in a lot of situations with sip-and-puff switches, it can be interesting to try to recommend these, just simply because you got to really look at what that person’s inputs are. And a lot of times, I think to be able to find the right type of solution, a lot of times we’re looking at, we probably need to sit down with somebody, do an evaluation, figure out what they can do and how they can control things consistently. Do they have enough breath and volume in their breath to be able to be able to activate it consistently over a period of time? There are a lot of different solutions that are controlled with sip-and-puff like wheelchairs and other types of things. And obviously you don’t want to get halfway to where you are and be out of breath and not be able to control what you have. And so definitely would want to make sure that it’s recommended by whoever you’re looking for. But again, I’ll just mention that sip/puff Breeze is what it’s called, so.

Tracy Castillo:
And Brian, those are just like switch first, kind of like you use in your mouth for switch access, correct? And so …

Brian Norton:
Well, that’s one, that’s one use, is for computer access. And then you can use it for all sorts of different things. I think they’re built into vehicle controls, wheelchair controls, and other types of things as well.

Tracy Castillo:
Well, you mentioned that people can become out of breath. What was that? And I’ve been on the web right now, trying to remember the name of that device, that, the neuro one that went on people’s arms that could actually detect that movement. Do you guys remember that? I-

Brian Norton:
Do you think it’s the NeuroNode. Is that right?

Josh Anderson:
NeuroNode, was that one.

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah. So was that, be that about the same thing? Thank you.

Brian Norton:
Well, so sip-and-puff switches are using your breath to be able to, so you would puff air, and then you would sip air to be able to control those types of things. I’m not sure exactly how the NeuroNode worked, or if that was just muscle twitches and the other kinds of things that it was measuring. Does anybody know?

Tracy Castillo:
I thought it was like the muscle twitches. Just seemed really cool.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. It needed a very little bit of just kind of muscle reaction, I believe. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s kind of how it worked. And it could be attached pretty much anywhere that you had voluntary movement. I believe there was some calibrating and some other things kind of involved in doing that.

Josh Anderson:
Brian, I know you’re probably looking at that right now. But then, another kind of one, and this is a little bit different. It’s not really the sip/puff. And again, it would completely and totally depend on what the person can do, how much movement they have or control over different muscle movements. But Glassouse, G-L-A-S-S-O-U-S-E is another one. It kind of has almost like a bite switch in there. And I believe you can do some other things kind of in the mouth. So if the person does have that kind of mouth control, it’s another kind of adaptive switch device that may be able to assist an individual.

Josh Anderson:
And you brought up an eval, Brian, which is always a good thing, because sometimes folks will jump to sip/puff, just because maybe they’ve heard about it. They’ve seen it. They know someone else that has it. And there may be other switches, head arrays or other things like that that might be able to help. And even, you can even integrate some controls into the joystick of the wheelchair. I know she’s just using it with just a little bit of thumb movement. So that might not be enough control, but it would give another access point or another access method, which could be really helpful.

Brian Norton:
Right.

Belva Smith:
Tracy and Brian, is the sip-and-puff something that a person could borrow from a lending library such as we have, or is it so personal because of requiring the breath that it’s not something that would be feasible to borrow?

Brian Norton:
So we have a … Tracy, I’ll go ahead and speak on that. We’ve got a couple different options. We have that sip-and-puff Breeze device. And we actually do have swappable plastic, the plastic that comes with it that someone would sip and puff into. So they could borrow that because we can swap those out. So far we haven’t had to order replacements. We have plenty of those.

Brian Norton:
We also have another one. I’ll just mention this one too. If you’re looking for computer access, the Jouse, I think it’s called the Jouse3 is an option where it’s kind of an all-in-one mouse. It comes with a mount that you can mount to your table and kind of then brings that sip-and-puff straw out to you to be able to use.

Brian Norton:
I looked at their website too, and it looks like they’ve got two of them, two different options. They’ve got a Jouse+ and a JouseLite. So something to be able to look at. You can find out more about that one. It’s compusult.at, so a different type of web address, compusult.at. But you can kind of look and see what they might have as well. But all of the ones that we have, we also have the Jouse in our library here in Indiana. And you can borrow that because we do have swappable straw devices at the end, so.

Josh Anderson:
Brian, how do we get a .at web address because I think that should be something?

Brian Norton:
I know. That’s kind of cool. That’s kind of cool. I’m not sure. I’ll have to look into that.

Belva Smith:
So then I have another question. How expensive is one of those packages? Because I mean, is it something that it would definitely make sense to try it before you buy a sip-and-puff device to find out if the person does have enough breath to be able to use it? Because I know a lot of times people in that kind of a situation don’t really have a lot of breath, and the ones that I’ve seen, it does kind of take a good amount of breath to be able to make them function properly.

Josh Anderson:
Well, and it’s not even so much just about the breath, but the control.

Belva Smith:
Right.

Josh Anderson:
As far as, yeah, being able to kind of control. It can work off just kind of normal breathing almost, but it’s really been able to control that. That can be something.

Josh Anderson:
And Belva, yeah, they can get kind of expensive. I don’t know the exact price, and by the time this airs, it could change anyway. But usually you’ve got kind of an interface, a switch, the pieces, the parts. So I mean, once you add it all together, it can get a little bit … It can end up a little bit pricey. So it probably is a good idea to try to borrow and try out some different kind of things.

Josh Anderson:
And for a lot of folks I’ve worked with, and I haven’t worked with a ton that use sip/puff, usually there’s a switch or something else associated with it as well. Maybe they have movement in one finger or something else or like the NeuroNode that Tracy mentioned. Usually there’s some other kind of access point so that they can use different ones. Because I mean, if you think trying to control your breath and do your daily activities on the computer, you’re going to wear yourself out, just trying to kind of control everything by breath. So it’s good if you have that extra kind of back up, one just so you’re not putting so much stress on one input device.

Brian Norton:
Yep. I looked online, Belva. The cost for the Jouse, the full version of the Jouse, not the JouseLite, that’s about $1,500. And then the sip-and-puff Breeze is 176. But again, then that’s just the dongle. Now you got to buy the switches and the other things that Josh was just mentioning. So there’s some added cost to that. And so it depends on the situation and what all you need to be able to add to that, to get your final pricing.

Belva Smith:
So while that might be a little less expensive, it sounds like the whole setup. You’re definitely going to probably want some experience guidance to get through all the different parts that you might need and the setup process to make sure you get it done properly.

Brian Norton:
Yep. And I always, I mean to Josh’s point, just about having a backup system, I’ve always believed having no matter what type of AT device you’re using, software, whatever, you should always have something you can fall back on. I think a voice input oftentimes if you’re sick, if you’re not feeling well and it’s not recognizing you well, well, what are you going to do in those situations? Because those situations will come up at some point. And so you definitely want some other way to be able to help when your traditional and when your main assistive technology method, access method isn’t working well for you for whatever reason.

Belva Smith:
Perfect time for my mama’s old saying, more than one way to skin a cat.

Brian Norton:
That’s right. But we don’t condone skinny cats on our show.

Belva Smith:
No.

Brian Norton:
Awesome. Awesome. Well, hey, I’d love to just open this up to our listeners. If you guys are familiar with different sip-and-puffs solutions, if you guys have anything that you would like to suggest as maybe an option for this particular client, let us know. You give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is an email from Sarah. She mentions, I am working with a patient whose mom is needing some type of video monitoring system for her home so she can see when her son who has a brain injury gets up and moves around. She’s wanting something motion activated with at least two cameras that could connect to her phone. Do you have any resources on where she could purchase something?

Josh Anderson:
So you can get real high tech on this, and there’s remote monitoring places. There’s other things like that. If you want to go simple, you can go to your hardware store and buy. What are they? Nest cams, Ring cams, I believe are the kind of the main ones that you’ll see everywhere. These cameras connect to your Wi-Fi. They’re motion activated. They usually have two-way communication through them so you can hear. And all that information will go straight to your phone and they run, what Brian, about a hundred bucks a piece give or take?

Brian Norton:
Maybe a little bit more, but yeah, somewhere around there.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah, somewhere around there. And this kind of depends on the how techy the mom is. Not that they’re super hard to set up. It’s essentially an app on your phone. And if you think about, whenever you get a text message, a phone call or something, you get that alert on your phone. Kind of the same thing. It’ll say camera one or bedroom camera, kitchen camera, whatever, detected movement. And you can see it right straight there from your phone and see exactly what’s going on.

Josh Anderson:
So if you’re looking for kind of an inexpensive, and I know a couple hundred bucks isn’t exactly inexpensive, but a less expensive kind of way, you can really do this with really off-the-shelf things these days, just because of how far that technology’s come.

Josh Anderson:
Of course, these do rely on Wi-Fi. So if your Wi-Fi’s out, you’re not going to know if they’re doing anything. I don’t know if it’s anything like anyone in my house when the Wi-Fi’s out, trust me, they all let you know anyway. So you don’t really have to worry about being alerted when they’re up.

Josh Anderson:
But then there’s also, I mean, if she wants to get more in depth, I mean, there’s tons of different video monitoring places. So places that can install these kind of things and can even put sensors, alerts, alarms. If there’s something you’re trying to make sure they don’t access from the refrigerator to the stove to the medicine cabinet, they can put alerts and alarms on those things. Just tons of different things you can get into.

Josh Anderson:
But if she’s really just looking for video monitoring to see when her son gets up and moves around, again, you can do that with those little cameras. They’re pretty small. They don’t take up a whole heck of a lot of room. You can set them up just about anywhere and really within half an hour, you can have them set up on your Wi-Fi and that information streaming straight to your phone anytime you want.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I just browsed through Amazon real quick and I cannot remember the name of the …

Tracy Castillo:
I do. It was, I think it was the Wees or the Ways.

Belva Smith:
Oh way, that’s it.

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah.

Belva Smith:
I had those for a while on my indoor set up. And they’re very, very inexpensive and they are motion activated. And you can use a little SIM card in it to actually record to if you want to. But also, I will say, mine only lasted about a year and a half and it went out. So I don’t know if it could have just been my bad luck. I don’t know, but I would still recommend them just because I think when I got mine, it was like 19.99. But there are the Blink Mini cams that you can get from Amazon. You can get a two pack of those for only 65 bucks. There’s several different. Even the Ring indoor camera is only 60 bucks. Of course, you only get one camera. But the nice thing about any of these cameras is that you will have it set up on your phone or your tablet, so you can have it with you anywhere you go.

Belva Smith:
They’re all going to be motion activated. And they’re all going to give you the ability to do two-way communication if you need to speak to whomever it is that you’ve got your eye on, or if they need to speak to you. So yeah, it can be, as you said, Josh, it can be inexpensive or it can be extremely expensive. I don’t think it’s necessary to be extremely expensive unless you’ve got some outstanding situations, like maybe you’re living in a 10,000 square feet home and you’ve got a large distance that you’re going to be from the individual or you’re going to be miles away from them. I don’t know. But yeah, I think even some of the, what they call baby monitors now include all those same features that the cameras include. And again, under 30 bucks.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. Yeah. The one thing I would just have people keep in mind too, is don’t spread yourself too thin as far as looking at different manufacturers. If you have a Samsung phone, if you have an Apple phone, or if you’re using smart home technology, smart home, smart speakers, I guess, is what I will call them, but if you’re using an Amazon Echo or you’re using a Google Home, or you’re using an Apple Home Pod, maybe stay in those same families because those devices will work better together if you’re in the same family. I don’t know.

Brian Norton:
Belva, you’ve had some, you’ve probably, I think you have every smart speaker ever made at your house and in different ways, shapes or forms. I mean, any suggestions on that part?

Belva Smith:
Well, yeah, I would agree with you Brian. I think it’s really important to stay in the same family of devices. And yes, I have. I’ve been warned by Todd that if I buy another smart speaker, I have to move out, so.

Josh Anderson:
Just name the next one Todd, if you can. Todd, can you get that for me? I’m working on it.

Brian Norton:
That’s awesome. Awesome. Well, hey, I’d love to open this up to folks looking at some video monitoring for a mom who’s trying to be able to kind of see what her son is doing day in and day out at their home. If you have any situations where you’ve maybe provided remote monitoring or implemented camera systems or have one of your own, let us know. You can give us a call on the listener line. That’s 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is an email from Pam. She mentions, I accidentally turned something on, on my iPad, and that doesn’t need to be on. I have this blue frame around the iPad on all sides of what I’m working on. And when it comes on, I cannot type or delete. Then it will pop up all at once. And then I have to work and work with my mouse to get it to go off. And so it seems to just kind of pop on, pop off. The same happens with a text box and other controls. Any suggestions, or can you please tell me what to do to get rid of this?

Brian Norton:
I actually took this email and I replied after I did a little bit of research, and I believe it has to do with something called full keyboard access. And basically when you enable full keyboard access, a person can use the Tab key or the arrow keys to navigate the interface, and so move from icons on the screens from the home screen and move between icons. You can basically not only do that on your iPad, but also on the Mac and all sorts of things. But it basically changes the way you interface with the screen itself. And there is a way to turn that off. And I did verify with Pam that this worked. And so if you had ever experienced a similar situation, this is the way to go about it.

Brian Norton:
The first thing is you can go under Settings. So you go to Accessibility, then you can go to Keyboards, and then you can tap on Full Keyboard Access. And once you’re there, you can toggle the on or off switch to turn it on or off or adjust the settings that were within there.

Brian Norton:
For certain situations, full keyboard access is really helpful because it allows people to navigate the screen or the device differently and more simply. But if you’re used to using your device normally just by touching things on the screen and moving around that way, it can get in the way. And you’ll know that it’s on because it’ll put these blue boxes around whatever control has focus. And so that could be a button, that could be a text box, that could be your whole screen, depending on what app or where you are on the iPad, in this particular situation iPad. So anyways.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, Brian, you’re exactly right with that and exactly correct with the instructions. The interesting thing is when you’re looking through those accessibility settings and you see that full keyboard access, it doesn’t indicate to you that it’s going to be putting that blue box or whatever. It might not even be blue. It could be green, yellow, purple. There’s a whole list of different colors that it could be. And there’s no indication that turning that feature on is going to cause that to happen. So it’s kind of a, if it accidentally gets turned on, it’s kind of a shock.

Belva Smith:
It’s also something that I want people to know too, is if you go there and maybe it’s not turned on, go ahead and turn it on and then turn it off again because it may trigger it to go ahead and go off and maybe on without really being marked that it’s turned on.

Brian Norton:
Yep. Great way to just verify that you’ve turned it off. For sure, just yeah, turn it back on, turn it off. Absolutely.

Brian Norton:
Well, hey, I just want to, again, open this up to our listeners. If you have any feedback on this one. I don’t know. Maybe you’ve experienced this and had some other difficulties with it, let us know. We’d love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is an email from Jim. He mentions that I am looking for an anti-tremor mouse. I have Parkinson’s resulting in unintended tremors while I try to use a pointing device to access my computer. Is there a way to limit mouse movements to compensate for my tremors? Any help would be much appreciated.

Belva Smith:
One of the things that you could do is go into the mouse settings and slow down the movement of the mouse. In Windows, actually, I think you can just press your Windows key and type mouse. Let me give that a try real quick, and that will pull up your mouse settings where you can go in and kind of control how quickly the mouse will move across the screen. And also you can set it to do a single click instead of a double click in those same settings.

Belva Smith:
And another thing. It seems like I often fall back to this device, but the little thumb mouse that kind of just fits over your finger and your hand can be actually in your lap or on the arm of the chair. Sometimes that will help with the tremors because you’re actually moving the pointer on the screen just with your thumb and not your whole hand. So that might be something to try.

Belva Smith:
Actually, I was, again in Amazon, just kind of looking around. It seems like quite a few manufacturers have tried to develop and create … What do I want to say? Tremor reducing motions with the pointing device, because it does seem to be kind of a common problem. How you would know which one of those may be appropriate is the only way you’re going to know is to try it out. So again, I go back to the lending library where you may be able to try several different mouses or go into staples where they have a bunch of different computers set up. They may have different … Probably not, now that I say that, they’re going to have them set up with a standard mouse. They’re not going to have them set up with different types of mice, mice, mouse, whatever.

Belva Smith:
So I would suggest really trying to get your hands on one to try it out. That thumb mouse that I mentioned, it’s very inexpensive as most mics are. I think it’s like 20 bucks on Amazon, but I have had very good luck using that with different individuals. So that’s what I would do. Change your settings and maybe try out the thumb mouse.

Josh Anderson:
So a couple of other ones. There’s a software called SteadyMouse that’s available that actually is software on your computer that’s supposed to kind of get rid of the unintentional movements, supposed to be able to slow down and figure out where you’re actually trying to kind of get. I think it runs … I think it’s about 40 bucks, maybe 50 bucks if you buy the standard version or like a hundred and some odd, 125, 130 bucks for kind of a lifetime thing. So if they come out with new versions, you always kind of have them. I know some folks have had some success with that.

Josh Anderson:
The first thing I thought about whenever this kind of question came up was the, I think it’s Tremolo. Have you guys ever seen that you wear on your arm? It’s supposed to kind of get rid of tremors. But in reading about that a little bit more, it does really well with essential tremors, but doesn’t do much for Parkinson’s. So it wouldn’t probably work for this individual. But that’s a mechanical device that sits on your arm and just kind of counteracts, counterbalances almost your tremor. So it would kind of cut down on them. But again, that’s kind of probably not going to help out here.

Josh Anderson:
And then another one that I haven’t used but I’ve talked to folks who have used is something called the AMAneo, A-M-A-N-E-O USB. So it’s an anti-tremor mouse adapter. So kind of like that SteadyMouse as software that works to get rid of those tremors and kind of counteract them. This is something you plug your mouse into it, it plugs into your computer, and it kind of does the same thing. It counteracts and tries to kind of figure out exactly what you’re really trying to do as opposed to actually what you’re really doing there.

Josh Anderson:
And then another kind of option is depending sometimes voice input and doing it that way, controlling things by voice. If you still have a steady voice, don’t have any tremors or anything in there, with a software such as Dragon or depending on your computer, if it has voice control, you can just tell it everything you want to do. And you may be able to cut down on really the amount of movement you have to do with a mouse, which might make it a little bit easier for you as well.

Josh Anderson:
But really I would start with kind of what Belva said and just adjust those settings, because I know I’ve worked with a lot of folks with not always just mice, but touchscreen devices. Touchscreen devices can be very hard if you have tremors or uncontrolled motions, but man, you turn down that click speed, I guess, but kind of access speed to where you really have to dwell on something for it to click on it, it opens up a whole new world, because you’re not accidentally tapping four things on the screen at a time and it can really make it a lot easier.

Josh Anderson:
So I would start with the kind of the built-ins, but then there’s software and different kinds of devices that can really kind of help out with those tremors and make it to where you can access things the way you want to without half as much frustration.

Belva Smith:
Josh, you also mentioned the touch screen. If it’s possible, depending upon the device that you’re using, if it’s possible to have a touch screen accessibility using one of those little stylus with a touch screen, I always have good results with folks that have tremors with that. I don’t know what it is. Now, if you don’t give them the stylus, their hand will shake like crazy and they’ll still have difficulty. But for some reason, if you put the stylus in their hand, they seem to be able to go directly to what they want and tap it and be done.

Belva Smith:
So even if you’re in a Windows environment, now, if you’re in a Mac environment, it does have to be a tablet because Mac doesn’t believe in touchscreen computers. But if you’re in a Windows environment, touchscreen more than likely is an option that’s available to you because I think from Windows 10 on, they’ve made touchscreen part of the Windows operating system. So that might be another option.

Josh Anderson:
But Mac does have full voice control on their computer. So let’s not completely crumb on Mac.

Brian Norton:
Right. The other, Belva to go to your point, that stylus, I think what helps with that stylus is they’re putting pressure on something and it gives their muscle something to do. And in addition to that Trello device that you mentioned, Josh, I’ve used ergo rest arm supports before, because it gives them something to push their arms down onto and it stabilizes some of those tremors. It doesn’t eliminate them, but helps them control them a little bit more.

Brian Norton:
And we, I’ve looked into purchasing one of these AMAneo USB devices before. They’re about $265 and they really, it looks like a simple, really usable device. It kind of sits between the mouse and the computer. You’ve got a button delay with settings, you’ve got click timer settings, and you’ve got tremor severity level settings. And so basically you move between those three or four different settings and you’ve got a plus or minus key to be able to increase or decrease the amount of support that’s needed based on what your situation bears out. So really, really useful.

Brian Norton:
If you’re looking for more information on that, we did a blog last year about this time on it. So July 29th of 2021, we did a blog about that AMAneo device. You can go to our website. It’s eastersealstech.com to learn more about that.

Brian Norton:
And then the other thing I’ll throw out there just to deal with tremors is there are a lot of like track balls and joysticks that have some additional controls. And so obviously you can go into the computer and kind of mess with what Belva was mentioning, slowing down the speed and those kinds of things. But some of these different adaptive track balls, adaptive joysticks also allow you to lock yourself into XY axis. And so no matter where you move the joystick, it’s only going to go left or right. And if you switch it over to up or down, it’s only going to go up or down. It doesn’t matter where you’re moving the joystick. It’s only going to go along the up or down or the left and right axis.

Brian Norton:
So there’s several of those out there as well, just to be able to kind of, again, further limit the difficulties that folks would experience when they have tremors.

Brian Norton:
And I’ll also just mention, a lot of these things that we just mentioned, ergo rest arm supports, different types of mice, those computer settings, other kinds of things, we have a lot of those different devices in our loan library. And a great way to try some of those things out would be to let us know what you’re looking for. We could send someone down there to do a quick demo, which is just kind of a show and tell, and then leave it with you for a couple of weeks. That’s if you’re here in Indiana. We could come to you. But if you’re outside of Indiana, we can then steer you to your local Assistive Technology Act, which would be eastersealstech.com/states, but a great way to be able to experience it, make sure it’s really going to work for you is just to try them out. And you can do that through our state loan library or other loan libraries across the country.

Brian Norton:
These are all great suggestions, solutions. Hopefully one of those would match up what Jim needs for their particular person or for himself. What I would love to do is just open this up to our listeners. If there’s any other feedback, information that you would want to share with Jim, please let us know. We can make sure that gets to him. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is an email from Becky. She mentions that they had a person who was producing jumbo braille, but that person retired, and they are looking to kind of continue to produce it on their own and looking at purchasing an embosser that will produce jumbo or large cell braille. Do you happen to know of an embosser that will do this?

Brian Norton:
I recently had some experience. I don’t know a whole lot. I’ve never really used jumbo braille. Most of what we’re doing is grade one, grade two, grade three, those types of things with folks. So I’ve never really printed in jumbo braille. But I was noticing. I was doing an install for a Tiger embosser or I guess it’s ViewPlus embosser and they have software called Tiger Software that basically puts extensions within your Office programs like Microsoft Word and other kinds of things so that you can print to your embosser directly from Word. And I was noticing that one of the settings in there is in their software is to convert it to jumbo braille. And so my assumption is that if you can convert it to jumbo braille, then you can emboss it to jumbo braille.

Brian Norton:
The website where you can learn more about their embossers is viewplus.com. And they’ve got a variety of different ones at different price points. But again, it’s really not … I guess the embosser does print it, but you need the Tiger Software to go with it, because that actually converts whatever you’re typing up in Word into braille. And then you can set up the braille setting for jumbo braille and then print it from there.

Brian Norton:
That would be my one suggestion. Does anybody else have? I know this, we looked and did some research and didn’t find a whole lot. Anybody else have anything on that?

Josh Anderson:
So, Brian, from what you’re telling me, and I could be totally off base here, it’s almost more important the software than the embosser when you’re looking at producing the different kinds of braille?

Brian Norton:
I think, I mean, with this-

Josh Anderson:
Or I guess you kind of have to have both?

Brian Norton:
I think you have to have both. You have to have both because in order to print it, you’ve got to have the embosser.

Josh Anderson:
Well true. But I mean, you can have an embosser that can do any kind of braille, but if you don’t have the software that can convert it, then it’s pretty much useless to you.

Brian Norton:
Right. Right.

Tracy Castillo:
We have an embosser, but it has its own dedicated software with it.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. It’s got Duxbury and I’m not sure if Duxbury does jumbo braille. I haven’t. Again …

Belva Smith:
I don’t think Duxbury does any kind of jumbo that I’m aware of.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. And again, we don’t print very often. I’ve never printed the jumbo braille, so I’m not really sure about that. This is perfect. Oh, go ahead.

Tracy Castillo:
I have a suggestion. Just contract the person out and beg them to print this for you because obviously they’re a limited, they’re a unicorn. There’s not very many of you.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. They’re going to need something to do in retirement anyway. So I would say, yeah, beg them to work on a contract basis.

Belva Smith:
No, but on a more serious note, Tracy, it may be worth contacting whomever it was that was doing it and find out what it was that they were using. And would that be something possible for you to get?

Belva Smith:
I do think that this is something that I think that they’re doing it enough that they need to be doing it in home instead of having someone outside do it for them. So I think, my best solution at this point would be, as Brian mentioned, looking at one of the Tiger embossers or just contacting whomever it was that was doing it, find out what they were using. Maybe they have some equipment and software that they want to sell and get rid of since they’re retiring, right?

Tracy Castillo:
Mm-hmm.

Brian Norton:
Two other things. Now you guys have made me think of two other things you might want to do as well. The first would be, you may want to, I would maybe call up the American Printing House for the blind, have a conversation with them to figure out do they, because I know they do produce braille. Maybe they produce jumbo braille. I don’t know. I would maybe call them because they may have some contacts. If the person that you’re currently using that just recently retired doesn’t know of anybody, you may contact APH and ask them to figure out what they know.

Brian Norton:
And then the second thing would be, I just wanted to mention also, I believe there’s you can do, you can get a slate and stylus that’s for jumbo or large print braille and just hand do your own books if you want. Now, if you’re going to do a book, that would take forever to be able to produce in jumbo braille using a slate and stylus, but that’s an option there for smaller things as well. I did want to mention that. I believe I’ve seen slate and styluses for large cell braille as well, so that’s just another option.

Belva Smith:
Yes, but anyone that’s ever use the slate and stylus who just heard you say that they could do that to do a book, it’s going, “No.”

Tracy Castillo:
My hand …

Brian Norton:
That’s right.

Tracy Castillo:
That’s that little crimper thing, right, that we’re holding your hand?

Belva Smith:
No, no. It’s like a little wooden pencil with no pencil, but the point. And then you just poke through the holes to make the dots.

Tracy Castillo:
Okay. Yeah. That’s kind of like crochet, right?

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. They’re going to need that anti-tremor device after they’ve gone through it.

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah. A little bit of like some Tiger bomb [inaudible 00:39:16]

Josh Anderson:
Maybe that’s where tiger embosser comes from.

Brian Norton:
Yeah.

Belva Smith:
I’ve seen some people that are pretty fast with those, but again, you know how, imagine you guys, all of you have had those college papers where you’ve had to write out like forever long papers, while doing just one full page with a stylus can be very exhausting.

Brian Norton:
Yes. Absolutely.

Belva Smith:
That’s a great suggestion, Brian.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. Yeah. So everybody go out to your corner store, pick up a slate. Now you can’t even do that, but go pick up a jumbo slate and stylus. We can all work together to make this happen, so.

Tracy Castillo:
I am on the American Printing House and I’ve searched and searched for jumbo braille. And I just, unless I’m spelling something incorrectly, I do not, I don’t see anything come up on it.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. I don’t think it’s used very much. I mean, it would probably be a phone call down there since they produce braille to see if whatever embossers they use would allow that to happen on their particular devices.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, I would love to open this up. Perhaps you know of embossers that do jumbo braille or have companies that you’re aware of that would produce braille in large print, or large cell, if you will. Let us know. We’d love to hear from you so that we can pass that information on. Give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
And now it’s time for the wild card question.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is a wild card question. And this is a question that Belva has had time to think of that we haven’t had any time to prepare for. And so let’s see what we got. Belva, what do you have for us today?

Belva Smith:
Well, it’s a frequently asked question. Wondering what do you guys do, or do you do anything for security protection on your smartphone, your computer, your Mac? Yeah. So do you do anything for example, on your smartphone for antivirus or anything like that?

Brian Norton:
So I’ll jump in and say, I don’t use anything for my smartphone. The only thing I have for my smartphone is my … The only thing I have for my smartphone is my security code. And that’s what locks it down. I do know we have a level of security on our network side. And so all of our cell phones, if we’re connected to Office 365 and anything’s compromised, they have the ability to wipe and reset our phones. And so that’s there. But I don’t think we have any antivirus protection for those types of devices on our computers. I have a Mac computer and I know we used to have Avast, but they don’t require that anymore either. So-

Josh Anderson:
Malwarebytes. You have Malwarebytes now, Brian.

Brian Norton:
Oh really?

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah. Malwarebytes which is a great program.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. Most of my consumers all have the free version, if nothing else, whenever I leave them, just because it does a pretty good job of finding things. But yeah, I’m right there with Brian. On the phone, nothing besides the six digit passcode/facial recognition. On the computer, the Malwarebytes that work kind of puts on here. On my personal computer for the longest time I had one and I don’t even remember the name of it, but it works really well, but it was a pay one. And really and truthfully, I almost never use my personal computer for much of anything anymore, just because everything’s kind of more work related. So those are really the big ones, I guess. I don’t click on unsolicited text messages or emails links. And that’s about the extent of it, I guess.

Tracy Castillo:
Yep. I use Malwarebytes. Anybody who gets a computer from the Depot, we give a lot of computers away, they all have Malwarebytes on them and then they get a small, like you said, just no clicking, they get a small, old tutorial. Hey, Microsoft is not going to call you or send you a message on your computer if they think it’s broken. So don’t click on that.

Brian Norton:
Does Windows Defender do anything like Malwarebytes or is that just, it’s antivirus, right?

Tracy Castillo:
It is antivirus, but it’s been so long since I’ve even heard that name that …

Brian Norton:
Okay.

Belva Smith:
It’s because it’s all wrapped up in the Microsoft Security package now. So the reason that I asked this question, I’ve asked it in the past and I think it’s just, it’s something that we do, we do need to talk about from time to time, because there are often new things that come out that are sometimes better and sometimes not. Obviously security is something that we all who use any kind of technology should be aware of and should be on top of the game as much as we can.

Belva Smith:
A lot of people have the belief that the iPhone specifically is just safe. We don’t need to do anything to keep it safe. It’s safe. Kind of like people think that about a Mac, when the truth is anything that connects to the internet, runs a security risk of some sort, but all in all our iPhone is somewhat safe.

Belva Smith:
Brian, you mentioned, and I think you did too Josh about using the security code and your facial code. That’s a great security method for keeping unwanted people out of your phone. However, doesn’t really do anything as far as keeping a virus or a bug of some sort getting onto your phone. And if you have, which I don’t really hear much about this anymore. I mean, I guess like five, seven years ago, jail breaking our phones was a big thing. And some of the even assistive technology apps that were available required that you broke the phone to be able to use them. If you do happen to be a jail breaker and you’re using a phone that has been jail broken, I would highly recommend that you do something quickly if you haven’t already to keep from infecting your devices.

Belva Smith:
But I think most importantly, I personally, I use what comes with whatever I’m using. So for example, on my Windows computer, I use Windows Security. That’s what I recommend to all of my consumers. And for my consumers who may be using still Norton Antivirus or McAfee, I always give them the pitch about how you’re paying for something that really doesn’t do much more for you than the Windows Security as far as security, but it does tend to slow your system down. And it’s even been proven that some of these have cracks that do allow viruses to get in.

Belva Smith:
So I personally don’t recommend paying for an antivirus, especially on your Windows PC, or even your Mac. I personally have a Mac at home as my personal computer. I don’t have anything going on it. I also don’t have anything on my phone. So I’m like you mentioned, Josh, which I think is the one biggest thing that we can do to help try to keep ourselves safe. Don’t click on links that look suspicious. Don’t open emails or text messages from unknown senders. Don’t click links in even known senders in your text messages. And I’ve been noticing recently on the TV they’re announcing or talking about ways to get these unknown text and phone calls blocked from our phones. I don’t know how much I buy into that. It may be true. It may be not. But again, it’s something they’re wanting you to purchase.

Josh Anderson:
Well, Belva, I think it’s one of those things that it works until they just figure out how to get around that too.

Belva Smith:
Exactly.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. Yeah.

Belva Smith:
Exactly.

Josh Anderson:
It’s the same reason you always get those updates on your security updates for Windows because you do a great job. Someone finds another hole. You do a great job. Someone just finds another hole.

Belva Smith:
Right. And I think one of the riskier things that we do do with our devices is putting third party things on there. For example, when you put a third party antivirus program on there, you’re opening up another crack, another hole. So that’s just where I am at this time. And maybe, maybe it’ll change in a month or six weeks. I don’t know. But for me personally, I just say, be careful what you click on. And I do, trust me, just like everyone else. I do get those crazy texts. And it seems like they always come at two in the morning. They don’t ever come at two in the afternoon.

Belva Smith:
But I just delete those right away, block them, but usually blocking them doesn’t do any good because they just use a different number the next time. But just be careful where you go and what you do and use whatever you’re comfortable with.

Belva Smith:
I’ve got clients that use Norton Antivirus because they swear by it. And you guys, it’s interesting, because you all said Malwarebytes. Yeah, Tracy, you said it’s on every computer that goes out. I personally, I use Malwarebytes when I feel like I need it and I delete it. I don’t leave it sitting on the computer. Don’t know why. It’s just the way I’ve always done it.

Tracy Castillo:
Well, Malwarebytes doesn’t really, I mean, unless you pay for the subscription, it’s only, like it helps you if you get infected.

Belva Smith:
Right.

Tracy Castillo:
It doesn’t prevent it. Unless you pay for the subscription. So that’s a good reason not to really just keep it on your computer.

Belva Smith:
Right. And that’s the way I use it. If I’ve got a computer that’s acting up, that’s the first place I go is to Malwarebytes to download that and scan the computer and see if it finds anything. But then when I’m done using it, I always go back and remove it.

Josh Anderson:
And you know, Belva, I do that sometimes too because the one thing I don’t like I guess about Malwarebytes is it will try to get you to buy the software.

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Josh Anderson:
It’ll say, “Hey, you’re using the free version. You’re not fully protected.” And really you are. You just have to manually go in and make it run a scan.

Brian Norton:
Yeah.

Josh Anderson:
As opposed to kind of doing it. So no, I can definitely see that. And, yeah, Belva, I’m with you on the, “Hey, buy this and it’ll help keep you safe. Hey, buy this and it’ll help keep you safe.” I feel like some of those are scams too. Was it Norton a few years ago that had the Chrome extension that they found out was stealing all your data? It was one of the big ones that it was a Chrome extension. And I think it was Norton Antivirus, and it ended up, I think they got sued in a bunch of trouble because it was monitoring every click, every keystroke, everything that you did. And that information was out there and people were getting to it, so.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, I think they’ve all had-

Josh Anderson:
I guess we’ve got to be really, really careful.

Belva Smith:
I think they’ve all had their moment in that spotlight where there’s been something serious found within them or within their program that has caused some vulnerability. I love the new commercial that I’m seeing. Every move you make, every step you take, every click you take or whatever. I do love that one. So that is one thing too, just being careful with what browser you’re using and stuff like that can also really help keep you safe.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. No. That’s a great, great question. Talk about commercials. I also love the one where the guy, the mailman comes and he’s already opened all the mail and he passes it off to the person in the home and he goes, “Yeah. You’re … What’s the problem? I don’t see any problem. You’re just like your text messages. They’re not protected either.

Brian Norton:
Anyway, I’ll just, yeah, it’s so, so funny, or sad. Anyways, but hey, thank you for that question, Belva. Great, great question and probably one that we should continue to answer as things change or we update our preferences and those kinds of things.

Brian Norton:
But hey, I want to just take a moment as we end today just to thank our panelists here for being a part of the show and for their answers and the research that they put in. And also give them a chance to say goodbye to you, our listeners. And so the first, I’ll just say Belva, do you want to say goodbye?

Belva Smith:
Goodbye, everybody. See you next time.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And Tracy.

Tracy Castillo:
Bye everyone. Thanks for listening.

Brian Norton:
And Josh.

Josh Anderson:
Bye guys. Keep those questions coming.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent.

Belva Smith:
I wish everybody could see Tracy’s shirt. I’m sorry, Brian. I wish everybody could see Tracy’s shirt. It’s so cheerful.

Josh Anderson:
Festive. Very festive.

Belva Smith:
Isn’t that cool?

Tracy Castillo:
Thank you Belva. Appreciate that.

Brian Norton:
Little did you know I’m releasing a YouTube video of all of this.

Josh Anderson:
Oh, god.

Brian Norton:
No, no. And again, I just want to remind folks before we officially sign off. If you have any questions, if you have any feedback regarding the questions we talked about on today’s show, please give us a call. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s 317-721-7124. Send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATAFQ.

Brian Norton:
Information provided on Assistive Technology FAQ does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted and produced by Brian Norton, its editorial help from Josh Anderson, Balva Smith, and Tracy Castillo, receives support from Easterseals Crossroads in the INDATA Project. The show transcript is sponsored by InTRAC, the Indiana Telephone Relay Access Corporation. To learn more about InTRAC, go to indianarelay.com.

Brian Norton:
Assistive Technology FAQ is also a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. To find more of our shows, go to accessibilitychannel.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.