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IBM has worked on developing an adaptive mouse system to help people with essential hand tremors. The system is based on the same type of technology that helps steady the image on a handheld camcorder.
A free driver for Windows XP is available from the IBM web site at:
http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/mousesmoothing According to the installation file, this software works best with a generic 2 button mouse and generic mouse driver. Special drivers, such as Kensington Mouse Works, have problems with it. It is an evaluation version, but I can't tell how long it is good for.
By the way, faking an essential tremor is difficult, and this software will make the mouse pointer drift if you use it without having a tremor due to the filter trying to correct for a random tremor.
Montrose Secam - 13 August 2005
Also, Montrose Secam in the UK has licensed this technology to build a stand alone user interface that is plugged in between the computer and mouse, with out having to load any software on the computer. This adapter has many adjustments built in, and is available
the conference attendees had the mouse adapter hardware, and did a brief write up of his impressions after trying it with 2 clients. If you want a copy let me know.
Free Braille Fonts - 13 August 2005
If you are interested in adding Braille fonts to you computer, you can download a self extracting file with 2 True Type Braille fonts from Duxbury. http://www.duxburysystems.com/freeware.asp Once you extract the file, click "Start", open the "Control Panel", open "Fonts", and copy and paste the TTF files. When you are using Word, or any other program that utilizes true type fonts, you can use one of the Braille fonts. The TTF files can be placed on a disk or jump drive and installed on any windows computer (that hasn't had the fonts directory locked).
thumbnail image adapted from http://www.montrosesecam.com/mouse_adapter.jpg
After a long hiatus, I plan on keeping my Tech Watch more up to date. There are a lot of great products coming out monthly, and these pages will reflect the information that I am emailing out to our state technology specialists.
If you are a manufacturer or distributor of assistive technology devices and want me to review your new products, please contact me to set up a demonstration of our technology.
Accessible FireFox? - 18 August 2005
From CNET News, IBM is donating 50,000 lines of code to support the FireFox web browser in becoming more accessible to people with disabilities. The code will allow FireFox to support accessible tech for dynamic HTML which will allow keyboard (or alternative) navigation of web pages, instead of mouse only control.