Alright, it’s been a while since we have blogged, partly due to illness on both sides, but mostly due to delving into various solutions only to hit dead ends.
I think the biggest mistake that I (Anthony) have made is to try and tackle accessibility by building the ultimate solution. Unfortunately when you build a megalith you only need one core part to break and all of a sudden the whole structure comes tumbling down around you.
This was the case with the voice control setup that we build and customised for Chrissy’s PC. The system used a Logitech webcam for head tracking,VoiceAttack for voice detection, and a remote switch that allowed Chrissy to turn on her computer using a wall mounted button. Everything worked well in theory, until we realised that the system couldn’t be easily trained to Chrissy’s voice patterns and that ambient noise was causing additional issues. We could solve the problem by drawing the curtains and using a head mounted microphone, but what’s the point of an accessible solution that needs support in setting up every time?
Back to the drawing board. Small steps Anthony. Chrissy at this point was starting to get frustrated but knew we would get there in good time.
Introducing Chrissy’s new chair mounted gaming table top:
To setup the system all that is required is for someone to insert the gaming tray into the chair and then plug the USB cable into the computer. Chrissy then has the ability to slaughter innocent people in GTA (don’t tell her mum).
The device utilises a MakeyMakey (thanx to the awesome crew at Joy Labz) board and has the following features:
- A four-way joystick controller currently mapped to the W, A, S, and D keys.
- A bank of 4 switches (not stateful) with half rubber balls stuck on top to allow for easier access (mapped to SHIFT, CTRL, SPACE, and E).
- Left and right horizontal switches made from components salvaged from some old shoe stretchers (mapped to LEFT MOUSE, and RIGHT MOUSE). Designed and configured to work with Chrissy’s limited right arm movement.
Currently someone needs to select the appropriate mapping profile, and load the required game, but we will be replacing this with an automated approach using VoiceAttack. We will also be looking at configuring it to be used as a general computer controller by utilising AutoHotKey to convert arrow presses into mouse movements.
We are off now to play some Rocket League. We hope to see some of you guys in a multiplayer game soon.