iPod Touch Ideas For Stylus, Mouth Stick, and Head Pointer Users
Something as simple as tapping the screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch can be a big problem for people with physical disabilities. If you have any wrist or finger movement you might be able to handle this without any additional help. I can move my right arm pretty well but I do not have any wrist or finger movement. For an activity as simple as reading an e-book on my iPod touch I can get away with just using my knuckles to tap the screen on the left or right hand side. But that's not very accurate so there's not much else I can do on my iPod touch using that method.
The Pogo Stylus was designed for people with thick fingers, people who wear gloves in cold climates, or anyone who might simply prefer a stylus over using their fingers. It is a difference maker for me. It uses a special material that mimics the touch of a finger and it works quite well. I've attached it to the splint on my right hand and can do just about everything everybody else can do with their iPod touches. The catch is a tiny part of the stylus must be touching your skin somewhere. If it isn't it doesn't work. I'm not exactly sure why this is but it probably has something to do with the electrical impulses generated by the skin. So if you're going to give this a try when you attach it to your hand splint make sure a tiny part of it is barely touching your skin somewhere. People with physical limitations are generally pretty resourceful. We have to be in order to come up with solutions to make our everyday life easier. This is no exception so one way or another you should probably be able to find a way to attach this to a splint on your hand or something and get it to work for you.
[Edited to add: Later testing by others seems to reveal that no skin contact is needed for the pogo stylus to work.]
But what about if you have no movement at all but can use a mouth stick or a head pointer? Well I've done some experimenting and you're in luck! I took some aluminum foil and wrapped it around the tip of one of my mouth sticks (covering the entire eraser tip). Then I pressed the tip of the mouth stick up against a flat, hard surface to flatten out the aluminum foil at the tip. Would you believe this worked? It doesn't work as well as the stylus but if you play around with it a little bit it's certainly enough to operate simple applications such as Stanza. On occasion, I have actually gotten it to work well enough that I could do swipe gestures and even type messages with the on-screen keyboard! When using an iPod touch in this manner you want it to be on a flat, hard surface and you might need to actually press a little bit as opposed to just lightly tapping like one would do with a stylus or a finger.
One of the eReader demonstration videos features an application of this idea. Watch for the robot with the aluminum covered arm at the end of this clip:
[embed width="640" height="385"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXHVwuDpH78[/embed]
- Paul Natsch