Monday, October 29, 2012

What do you need in Switchamajig 2.2?

After running version 2.1 of my app at Closing The Gap and listening to feedback, I'm now working on Switchamajig version 2.2.

Planned improvements include:
  1. Adding switch access, both auto-scan and step-scan
  2. Improving the responsiveness when going back to the initial screen
  3. Allowing a single button press to generate a sequence of IR codes
  4. Enabling repeating IR codes
If you need items 3 & 4 sooner, let me know. The switch panels already support those features (and many more,) and there are ways to get at them using iTunes.

I'm also aware of a bug that crashes the app if you tap the IR learning selector before learning any IR codes. I have fixed that bug, but will wait for 2.2 to release it since it doesn't seem like a big deal. Please let me know if you find other problems.

I'm currently on the fence about a turn-taking feature. This is designed for children with autism, and it will allow only one iPad to play with a toy at a time. There will be a way for a child to ask for a turn, and to relinquish control. I need to work out the details, but I'm thinking that settings will let you specify how long each turn can be, etc.

One feature I'm planning to pass on for 2.2 is adding AAC symbols to the app. Several companies sell such symbols, so I won't be able to provide them for free. Instead they'll be an "in-app purchase." I'm thinking you'll need to enable the purchasing in the Settings so that my app doesn't keep popping up "buy this feature" dialog boxes.

I'm really interested to get feedback from you about whether or not I'm working on the right stuff. If you think I've got my priorities wrong, or I'm missing a feature you really need, please leave a comment or drop me an email.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cool Stuff at Closing The Gap

Everything at Closing The Gap is great technology that helps people, so I feel a bit odd listing what really struck me at the show. Still, it's my blog, so here's what I thought was especially cool:

BeyondAdaptive This company makes iPad mounts and key guards. It was great meeting the family who runs the business, especially Brea (follow the link for a picture - I couldn't find one that fit). They can custom-cut keyguards, so if you've created your own Switchamajig panel and want a keyguard for it, contact either them or me and we'll get you set up.

Mount'nMover I've seen this company at several shows. They make mounts for iPads and other devices. The mounts are fairly expensive, but they are designed to take a lot of abuse and still be extremely easy to set up and move from one station to another. Dianne, who runs the company, has amazing product design skills and has a lot of assistive technology experience. If your iPad is a critical part of your life that you always want to have with you, the investment in her mounts could be well worth it.

ZipZac This is a wheelchair for really young children. It was created by an engineer with a connection to a child with spinal bifida, and it requires skills that my own son didn't have that the age the chair is designed for, but I loved seeing these tiny kids zipping around in wheelchairs.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Switchamajig IR Video - I want YOU in my videos!

Here's my latest video on the Switchamajig IR. I believe the IR will be a valuable tool for people who want independent control over items they use every day.

One concern I have is that the preschool-aged, white male with cerebral palsy demographic is a bit over-represented in my videos, and the IR in particular can work for a wide range of ages and conditions.

If you want to be in my video, let me know at The intro scenes are about 10 seconds long each, and I'd love to show somebody else taking advantage of my products!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Switchamajig IR Now Available For Pre-order

I've mentioned the new Switchamajig IR before. Now I have them in inventory and will be ready to ship shortly (beta testing is progressing well.)

I'm excited about the IR. Just about everyone has a TV, so accessing it independently is important. TVs and other home theater equipment are also getting more and more capabilities, but those capabilities also mean that their have more buttons. And more buttons usually means smaller buttons.

Works like a universal remote
You can buy very inexpensive remotes with a few big buttons, but they offer access to just a few functions and can't be customized. The IR can control anything that came with an IR remote, and the iPad app has infinite possibilities for customization. You can put a lot of buttons on one screen to make a universal remote, or set up just two buttons to make it really easy to control. Even if you're just using two buttons, you can navigate among several panels to access a lot of functions. I've included several built-in panels that are super easy to set up, but you can change anything around to suit your own needs.

Jackson using two buttons to choose scenes in a DVD
The IR is very unobtrusive, so it can seem like magic. Ours lives in a plant in the corner of the room, but it's always on and ready to control the TV on the other side of the room. We just grab an iPad, start the app, and have full control over our TV, Tivo, and Blu Ray player.

Switchamjig IR
hiding in the (fake) plant
You can pre order the IR now, and we won't charge your card until we are ready to ship. That should be in a couple of weeks.

Check out the Switchamajig IR here!