Build a Better Mouse - 26 March 2001
Atek Electromics has recently released a new optical mouse, called the Super Mini Optical Mouse, which retails for about $50. The mouse is 2 ½" long and 1" wide. Not only is it small, but being an optical mouse, it uses "lasers" instead of a ball to sense position, so it can work on almost any surface. Aside from the business traveler, this mouse may be useful for someone with poor gross motor control, but good fine motor control. For more information, go to www.atekelec.com/Accessories/accessories.html
Half a QWERTY Keyboard - 19 February 2001
This keyboard does with hardware what Half-QWERTY does with software it allows a one handed user to use a full keyboard without having to learn a totally new layout or technique. This seems to be a case of technology transfer out of the rehabilitation arena to the everyday world. Halfkeyboard was designed with PDA users in mind, so they don't have to kill themselves to type out an email on their palm pilot. They keyboard retails for about $99 to $199, depending on which version you would like. Will work with Palm, Handspring, Macintosh, and Windows/Linux PC. See www.halfkeyboard.com for details. Demo software is available for download.
Surf the Web with a Voice Recognition Plug-In - 26 March 2001
Conversational Computing Corporation has released Conversay Voice Surfer, a plug in for Microsoft Internet Explorer. This plug-in is supposed to allow the user to surf using their voice. Voice Surfer is an up grade from Conversay Web 3.2, which was operated on top of IE. For people familiar with TextHelp, it's like the difference between Read & Write, which has its own external toolbar, and WordSmith, which inserts itself into MS Word. Voice Surfer has several upgrades, including visual feedback on voice volume and quality, feedback on the status of the software (processing, asleep, awake). Examples of voice commands are "Go Back", "Page Down" and "Refresh the Page". In addition, Voice Surfer is supposed to make accessing links and forms more easily, because it tags them with voice activated icons. The full version is expected to cost around $30. For more information visit http://www.conversa.com/ A demo version is available for download.
Desktop PC Conserves on Space - 26 March 2001
The Zero-Footprint-PC, available from Cybernet (www.cybernetman.com), combines all the essential hardware needed for a personal computer into a single keyboard unit. Hardware includes a Celeron processor, up to 512Mb of SDRAM, 10Gb hard drive, floppy drive, ethernet connection, 2 serial ports, 1 parallel port, 2 USB ports, and a PS2 port. CD ROM drive is available. Go to www.zerofootprintpc.com for more details.