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Assistive Switches Kit

Switches are assistive devices used by people with limited dexterity. They can be used for many purposes including accessing phones, computers, TV set top boxes, adapted toys, and appliances.

Switches can also be used for adaptive gaming, which levels the playing field for gamers with disabilities. The switches in this kit are compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and PC gaming on Windows 10 (click here for an XAC setup tutorial). External devices such as switches, buttons, mounts and joysticks can be arranged in a way to meet the needs of the gamer making it uniquely theirs. Adaptive gaming allows the user to completely individualize their gaming setup.

The Adaptive Switches Kit is composed of 5 switches:

  • 1 x raindrop switch– Low force switch well-suited for use by a finger or head
  • 1 x light touch switch – Low force switch well-suited for use by a finger.
  • 1 x interact switch – Medium force switch that is activated through applying pressure on the top surface.
  • 2 x round flexure switch – Medium force switch that is activated through applying pressure on the top surface.

All devices are 3D printed and made by volunteer makers in Canada and the US at one of our build events.

Battery Interrupter (Flex PCB)

Overview

A battery interrupter lets you use an accessible switch to turn on and off many battery-operated toys and devices. The battery interrupter interrupts the flow of power from the battery until an attached assistive switch is activated. This is a flexible battery interrupter that can be used with AAA, AA, C, or D sized batteries.

Note: This design utilizes a custom PCB, so it is not cost effective for small quantities (< 50). If you need a small quantity of battery interrupters, the Battery Interrupter (Soldered) design is likely a better option.

 

Usage

Initial Setup

The flexible battery interrupter is inserted within the battery enclosure either between two batteries or between a battery and a battery terminal. The flexible battery interrupter can be trimmed with scissors to match the size of battery.  The wires to the jack are routed to the outside of the battery enclosure.

Typical Usage

An assistive switch is connected to the battery interrupter switch jack. If there a power switch on the electronic device or toy, it is placed into the on position. Activating the assistive switch should then activate the electronic device or toy.

 

Build Instructions

Bill of Materials

1X  Battery Interrupter Flexible PCB ($2 – $126)

1X 3.5 mm Jack (https://www.digikey.ca/en/products/detail/cui-devices/SJ1-3513/738683, ~$2 CAD + $11 Shipping)

1X 3D Printed Jack Case (~ 1.1 g of filament, $0.03)

1X 3D Printed Jack Case Spacer (~ 0.4 g of filament, $0.01)

Tools
  • Scissors
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder

 

Custom PCB

This design requires a custom flexible printed circuit board (PCB). All of the information and files required to have the PCB fabricated are within the GitHub repository.

The price will vary widely depending on the fabricator, the quantity of boards, and the selected shipping option.

 

Assembly

A detailed assembly guide is available on GitHub or within the zipped release.

  1. Solder the jack to the flexible PCB.
  2. Insert the jack with the spacer into the jack case.
  3. Thread the retainer ring onto the jack.

 

Attribution

Initial concept and design: Dale Grover

V1.0 Design and Assembly Instructions: Makers Making Change

 

3D Printed Braille Labels

Overview

The OpenSCAD Braille font module allows an individual to customize and create 3D printable labels with Braille. The 3D printed Braille labels take a short time to print, require little filament, and are easy to generate and print. Braille labels can also be added to other 3D printed devices to increase accessibility or printed for the user’s specific needs.

The OpenSCAD file can create properly spaced and standardized Braille letters, NEMETH numbers, mathematical operators, and some common contractions. The documentation of this project found in the above GitHub link contains instructions on how to use the OpenSCAD program to create these labels.

Usage

The 3D printed Braille labels are intended to be used in the same way as standard Braille. The Braille labels can be glued or stuck to various surfaces. The Braille labels can also be incorporated in other 3D printed models as well, for example, on the side of another assistive device such as a switch.

Build Instructions

The documentation (found on the GitHub page) includes guides for 3D printing, using the OpenSCAD software, and also includes a video on how to use the OpenSCAD Braille template. If you are fulfilling this request for a requestor please take a look at the maker checklist document before you start the build to help you walk through the process.

SKILLS REQUIRED

  • 3D printing.

TIME REQUIRED

  • Depends on how many Braille labels are needed but approx <10 mins per label.

TOOLS

3D PRINTING

  • See the 3D printing guide document for recommendations for printing Braille.

Attribution

Michael Cantino and Sean Tikkun.

Resistive Touch Switch

Overview

This is a relatively low cost accessibility switch activated by lightly pressing the contact pad. The switch is comprised of a control box and a contact pad attached by cable to the control box. The output from the control box is a standard 3.5 mm cable.

Usage

The switch is well-suited for use by a finger. This switch can be plugged into any standard 3.5 mm AT interface. It can also be used with the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Multiple switches can be used to get input from more than one finger. The switch can be mounted using adhesive on the rear surface of the contact pad.

NOTE: This design relies on skin conductance, so it may not work well for users with very dry skin or an inability to sweat.

Build Instructions

Refer to the GitHub link for the following:

  • Assembly Instructions
  • Bill of Materials
  • Tools
  • PCB Files
  • 3D Printing Files

Or download all files here.

Holder Clip for Ambutech PGS Mobility Cane

The Cane Holder Clip is a lightweight assistive aid that can be hung from a bag so that a cane can be easily held in place with the users bag whenever it is not needed. This device was developed for a user with a cane that has a roller ball end. The cane would tend to roll away when it was leaned against a chair, or wall. The Cane Holder Clip avoids the need to find a suitable place to rest the cane that is still in an easy to access location for the user.

The Cane Holder Clip works by pressing the cane shaft through the opening, which causes the material to flex open and then back again to retain the cane. To remove the cane, simple pull on the cane while pressing the wing tabs to “pop” it out again.

The material used for the original design was PET-G. Print orientation should be vertical (see video) so that the layer boundaries are not being directly stressed when the clip flexes during cane installation and removal. The Cane Holder Clip should be printed with 4 perimeters / shells to maximize strength and minimize print time.

The clip was designed to be hung from a backpack using a simple caribiner clip. We found caribiners with a flat closure were much more tactile and easy to use. These clips are readily available, and while I’m not into promoting anyone in particular here’s an example: https://www.amazon.ca/Nite-Ize-SB234-03-01-S-Biner-3-Pack/dp/B001HN6CW4

The Ambutech PGS Mobility Cane has a cane shaft diameter of 13.2 mm, and a ferrule outside diameter of 15 mm. This design will need to be modified to fit other cane sizes, but it is a simple design.

This Mobility Cane Holder Clip has been used by the project requester for several weeks, and they just asked for more!

Customizable 6th Finger/Toe Stylus

This capacitive stylus was designed by Ken Hackbarth of Volksswitch.org

A capacitive stylus may assist someone with low hand or finger dexterity use a touchscreen device.

To create a custom capacitive stylus, follow the comprehensive instructions at the Volksswitch site. There are several options for different configurations and different materials. There are several hardware components required in addition to the 3D printed parts.

 

Customizable, 3D Printable Keyguard for Grid-based, Free-form, and Hybrid AAC Apps on Tablets

 

Keyguards help individuals with limited ability to point reliably at regions of an app running on a tablet. They do this by physically separating access to specific regions of the tablet screen with rails that rise up from the surface of the tablet. In this case, the apps are associated with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

Some AAC apps organize their content into grids with menus and message bars, above or below the grid. Others are much more creative and unpredictable in their layouts. Hybrid apps are largely grid-based but their keyguards can be enhanced by selectively exposing specific regions of the app.

The number of possible choices for tablet, tablet case, and AAC app, make it impossible to design a few keyguards that will meet everyone’s needs. To complicate matters further, users have lots of flexibility for how they organize the content in their apps. All of this is to say that users must be given control over the keyguard design. I know of only one 3D modeling tool where that is possible – without requiring that each user become an expert in 3D modeling. That tool is OpenSCAD. OpenSCAD has a “Customizer” feature that allows users to provide input to an OpenSCAD design that can shape the design to meet their specific needs.

We have created an OpenSCAD design that allows the user to identify their tablet, describe how the AAC app is laid out, describe their case, and choose a mounting method to mount the keyguard directly to the tablet or to the case. Once the keyguard is fully described you can generate and save an STL file that you can print on your 3D printer.

This is a Thingiverse Customizer design but only for grid-based apps. Free-form and Hybrid apps require greater specification and visualization than Thingiverse’s Customizer can support. For those keyguards you will need to download and install the latest version of OpenSCAD and a good text editor like Notepad++.

If you will be using OpenSCAD, the only files you need to download from here are called keyguard_v15.scad, screen_openings.scad, and case_openings.scad. All other files are just for illustration. You also need to go to https://wp.me/P9evBA-5b to learn how to customize the keyguard.

A PDF form is provided as well for collecting and communicating the requirements for your keyguards.conditions that affect a person’s ability to use natural speech.

Keyguards are typically cut from a sheet of acrylic by a laser cutter and can be quite expensive to purchase commercially. A 3D printed keyguard has a number of benefits:

  • can be as customized as you need
  • is not limited to being flat so it can be mounted in a variety of ways
  • can be printed in a vast number of colors
  • costs less than $1 per keyguard

At that cost, you can easily have multiple keyguards for multiple app configurations.

To make a custom 3D printed keyguard, visit the Volkswitch site to and follow along with the comprehensive instructions. You’ll need to make the necessary measurements of the tablet and the app to change the OpenSCAD design parameters and generate the custom STL file for 3D printing. The OpenSCAD design file is available on Thingiverse.

Personalized Cuff Utensil Holder

The Personalized Cuff Utensil was designed by Ken Hackbarth of Volksswitch.org.

Utensil holders give people with limited grip, hand strength, or dexterity a way to use items like eating utensils, toothbrushes, writing tools, and other small items. This device is focused on support for eating but the design could be extended easily to other objects. It was inspired by a post to the ATMakers.org page on Facebook asking for a utensil holder that accommodated knifes as well as forks and spoons. This design has several advantages over other designs:

– It is 3D printable for just pennies using the most commonly used filament – PLA.
– Separates the device into a hand mount and a utensil mount. Each can be separately sized to accommodate differently sized hands and differently sized utensils.
– The two components are joined using a common interface that can be extended for use with other objects like a pen holder or a hairbrush holder.
– The utensil mount comes in two orientations to support both forks/spoons and knives.
– The utensil mount attaches below the hand for a natural orientation.
– The hand mount incorporates a thumb rest/guard to protect the thumb from being injured by the utensil or dragged through the food.

This design is completely customizable using the Thingiverse Customizer or, better yet, download a free copy of OpenSCAD and do the design quickly and easily on your computer.

What ever course you take, follow the instructions at Volksswitch Personalized Cuff Holder webpage.

Memory Loss Music Player

Overview

This is a simple to build, simple to maintain, and simple to operate music player intended for those experiencing memory loss or those who may have difficulty operating a standard stereo or other music player. It has a simple interface with one knob to control volume and another knob to change song, reminiscent of an old-style radio.

This low cost, electronics project was inspired by the documentary Alive Inside, which shows the profound joy that music can bring to people with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other memory loss related disabilities. The goals of this project are to bring the joy of music to those who have Dementia, Alzheimer and memory loss disabilities and to bring the joy of meaningful giving to makers.

Usage

Connect the Dementia Friendly Music player to a power source. Load music on the USB memory stick (works with MP3, iTunes, and Flac) and plug that into the player. Turn the Volume knob to turn on the power and adjust the volume. Turn the Song Knob to go to the next song or a previous song.

Build Instructions

There are several models of the Memory Loss Music Box device, including a model with a 3D printed enclosure and a model with a wood enclosure made with a laser cutter. You can find detailed instruction on how to build one here: https://dqmusicbox.com/

Standard model – bamboo

Standard model of DQ music box made from laser cut bamboo.This is probably the model you want – easy to make, versatile
Use with headphones plugged in the front
Or use with external powered speakers plugged in the front
Vintage cathedral style
Parts: ~$135, or [email protected]$70 in quantity 10+
Step by Step Build Instructions with Photos

Standard model – 3D printed

Picture of standard DQ music box with 3d printed enclosureSame as above, but 3D printed
3D print it yourself or with a friend
Parts: ~$80, or ~$48 in quantity 10+
Thanks to Trey Bagley for designing this case
Step by Step Build Instructions with Photos

Plus model – bamboo

Picture of plus model made of laser cut bamboo. It has one knob for adjusting volume and another knob for change song.Built-in speakers
Looks like a tabletop radio from the 1950s
Not intended for headphones.
Parts: ~$190, or [email protected]$100 in quantity 10+
Step by Step Build Instructions with Photos

Deluxe model – cherry

Picture of the Deluxe model DQ music box made from laser cut cherry. Has built in speakers and a headphone jack. There are two knobs - one for controlling volume and the other for changing song.
Built-in speakers that auto mute with headphones
Parts: ~$250, or [email protected]$135 in quantity 10+
Step by Step Build Instructions with Photos