April 21, 2022 at 9:14 pm #14561
Adaptive switch inputs and outputs via 3.5mm audio jacks play a big part in creating or adapting devices for users with different ranges of motion and dexterity.
These assistive technologies are very important for many users and you can find variety of commercial or open source devices. The commercial devices are usually very expensive for many users and the open source devices require soldering experience to be made by a maker. This can be changing for those of users with limited experience in electronics, and anyone who wants to test ideas before getting to the hardware.
A modular Adaptive switch input system would be the ideal solution, but getting all the existing hardware with a new system would be challenging and can lead to compatibility issues. We use many open hardware sensors and actuators to create open source assistive technology. It would probably make more sense to use an existing platform or ecosystem that many of the sensors and actuators are compatible with.
SparkFun’s Qwiic Connect System which is adapted by Adafruit under STEMMA QT name is a perfect option. Qwiic uses 4-pin JST connectors and I2C serial communication bus which makes it compatible with most microcontrollers. There are many existing Qwiic compatible sensors and actuators modules available to purchase.
Unfortunately, there are no adaptive switch Qwiic or STEMMA QT modules available to purchase. As the result, I went ahead and created Qwiic compatible adaptive switch inputs and outputs to experiment the idea.
The github page for the Qwiic-Adaptive-Switch offers the hardware and resources on how to make or use the modules in your own assitive technology projects.
There are two types of Adaptive Switch modules including input module which offers up to two switch inputs and the output module that offers up to two switch outputs.
You can connect as many as 8 modules to a single device using the same 4 pins provided by the main development board. You will need to cut the traces at the best of the PCB for each additional input or output modules.
This forum post would allow other makers in the community to share their feedback or discuss project ideas using the adaptive switch modules.
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