Resources in the ATC
The accessible technology available in the Access Techology Center is described below. Note that availability of specific equipment and software does not imply product endorsement by the University of Washington.
Switches and Adapters
|HeadMaster (Prentke Romich Company) and HeadMouse (Origin Instruments) allow hands-free operation of a PC (HeadMouse only). A light-weight headset (HeadMaster) or a reflective dot worn on the forehead (HeadMouse) translates head movement to the mouse pointer. A variety of switches can be connected to emulate the mouse button.|
|ScreenDoors II (Madentec) and WiViK (Prentke Romich Company) for Windows provide virtual keyboard software to put an image of the keyboard on the screen. They simplify text entry with word prediction.|
|Switch input interfaces for Windows and Macintosh can be provided as alternative input devices to allow switch input control of a computer (via sip-and-puff, paddle, or jellybean switches). The user can use regular, step, inverse scanning, or Morse code input methods with a variety of switches.|
|Winscan (Academic Software) is an adaptable interface that makes controlling Windows-based PCs through alternative input devices simpler.|
DragonNaturallySpeaking (Nuance Communications, Inc.) allows input of text to limited applications on a PC using a continuous dictation (type as you speak) model.
|BigKeys LX (Greystone Digital Inc.) is a standard keyboard with keys that are four times larger than normal and is designed for those who lack fine motor control.|
|Fingerworks Mini (Fingerworks, NLA) is a very small keyboard that also uses gestures and mult-finger techniques to perform common tasks. This is technology that led to touch interfaces as seen on the iPhone and iPad. While no longer available, we still have this keyboard, along with the Fingerworks Mini quick reference card in PDF format.|
|Mini Keyboard (TASH, Inc.) is a small keyboard for a PC.|
|Intellikeys (IntelliTools) is a large programmable keyboard with a variety of overlays designed for individuals with limited fine motor control. Only light pressure is required to activate the keys. Both PC and Macintosh versions are available. Overlay Maker (IntelliTools) allows custom overlays to be designed for use with the Intellikeys keyboard.|
|The Dvorak One-handed Keyboard (Typewriting Institute for the Handicapped) allows a person with use of only one hand to type efficiently on a PC. Left- and right-handed versions are available. System software that re-maps keyboards to Dvorak layouts is also available.|
|The Comfort Keyboard (Comfort Keyboard Company) provides extreme adjustability for all typing situations.|
Keyguards are metal or plastic templates with holes over all keys of a standard keyboard. A keyguard helps an individual with a mobility impairment accurately select keys.
|A track ball (Kensington) and GlidePoint touch pad (Cirque) are pointer alternatives that replace the mouse on a Macintosh or PC. Some individuals with fine-motor-control limitations and/or range-of-motion limitations find a track ball or track pad easier to use than a standard mouse.|
|Switch-Adapted Mouse (RJ Cooper) can function as a standard trackball or multiple switches can be plugged into it to serve as alternative buttons.|
|Thumbelina Mini Trackball and Palm Mouse (Infogrip) can be used with the touch of a thumb or forefinger. Ideal for those with limited hand function.|
|No Hands Mouse (Hunter Digital) sits on the floor and allows for hands-free control of the mouse using a two-pedal system. It is useful for those with limited use of their hands or repetitive stress injury.|
|Graphire (Infogrip) includes a mouse, a pen, and a pad for controlling a pointer and works on both PC and Macintosh systems.|
|Joystick Plus (Traxsys Input) provides an alternative to a mouse for the PC.|
Seating and Positioning
|Adjustable tables (Steel Case and DBH Attachments) allow access to equipment for wheelchair users. The DBH Smart Desk (DBH Attachments) uses an electric motor to provide height adjustment, making it easier for users with limited strength to raise or lower the table.|
|Adjustable forearm rests (Ergorest) allow for more comfortable and supported typing.|
Optical Character Recognition
ABBYY FineReader (ABBYY) software, installed on a PC, offers powerful document scanning which can be combined with text-to-speech software. The system uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to convert scanned documents to text that may be saved in a variety of formats or be read on the computer with the speech output software such as ClaroRead, Kurzweil-3000 or NaturalReader Converted text may be Brailled or viewed/listened to on a PC (see Braille Output).
JAWS for Windows (Freedom Scientific Inc.) allows a visually impaired user to navigate a graphical interface using voice output and sound cues.
ALVA 544 Braille Display provides a tactile Braille display of a PC screen, allowing the user to read what is on the screen 40 characters at a time. This product works in concert with speech output (see the ALVA 544 Quickstart).
Large monitors installed on all desktop computers assist people with visual impairments in using screen enlargement programs.
We do not currently support any third party software for the Macintosh platform, and use the built-in accessibility features. Please see the ATL's Universal Access Quickstart for more details.
Printed Text Enlargement
|Closed Circuit Television (InSiPhil) magnifies any printed material, including computer documentation, onto a screen for easy reading by an individual with a visual impairment.|
|The SmartView 5000 (HumanWare) system is capable of not only magnifying flat documents, but can also be pivoted to magnify three-dimensional objects.|
Large Print Keytop Labels (Hooleon Corporation) double the size of standard keyboard labels and help visually impaired users locate keys. Home-row Key Indicators (Hooleon Corporation) are plastic adhesive labels with a raised bump in the center. They allow a person to quickly locate home-row and other important keys.
|KeySpots (KeySpots.org) are color coded labels designed for laptops. They break up the keyboard into functional color sets, making them easier to recognize.|
ClaroRead (Claro Software Ltd.) provides Text to Speech in any program using a floating toolbar.
NaturalReader (NaturalSoft Ltd.) has a free and paid versions of the program that reads any text-based output. The free version is installed on all Catalyst workstations.
Read & Write (Texthelp) provides error correction, word prediction, grammatical assistance, and document reading for PCs.
Inspiration (Inspiration Software, Inc.) is a brainstorming and writing tool that allows ideas to be represented graphically and converted to outline format. Versions are available for both PC and Macintosh systems.
Intellitalk (Intellitools) is a simple talking word processor that can speak letters, words, or sentences through a variety of sound cards. It is available for PC and Macintosh platforms.
Mathcad (MathSoft) is a program that uses standard math notation to represent problems and graphs, allowing a person who can't use pen and paper to show his or her work. Versions are available for both PC and Macintosh Systems.
Spell checking, grammar checking, and tutorial software are useful for some individuals with learning disabilities.
Hearing Protectors (American Optical Corporation) can be helpful to individuals who are distracted by noise in the facility.
Screen Enlargers and Readers
Voice output and large print systems (see Access for Visually Impaired Users) can assist some people who have reading difficulties.
A variety of text-to-speech utilities are available that can be used to speak highlighted blocks of text.
Visual Cues for Computer Sounds
When the sound level is set to zero on a Macintosh, a visual cue is provided as an alternative to sound for the individual with a hearing impairment. See the Universal Access Quickstart for more information.
Accessibility Options Control Panel for Windows (Microsoft) include a "Show Sounds" option that blinks the screen or puts a small musical note in the upper left-hand corner of the display whenever the computer makes a sound.