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This dad built an adaptive USB keyboard for his son and other kids with muscular conditions

Arduino TeamJune 3rd, 2021

Having a disability can severely impact one’s ability to perform tasks that others do regularly, such as eating, walking, or even speaking. One maker by the name of ‘gtentacle‘ has a son who needs to use a ventilator constantly in order to breathe as he suffers from myotubular myopathy, a disease that greatly impacts the strength of his muscles. Due to his condition, he is unable to talk; however, that didn’t stop his father from coming up with a solution. This project involves five Logitech Adaptive Buttons and an Arduino Micro to type in letters for a text-to-speech (TTS) system to read. 

Up to 20 letters can be entered in total, and each one can be accessed with a grid-type system. For instance, the letter ‘T’ can be typed by pressing the 3 button followed by the 2 button. The ‘Enter’ command is sent whenever button 5 is the first key pressed. Thanks to the ATmega32u4, the system works with any device that supports a USB keyboard and has TTS software. The project’s creator even used it with Android Talkback. 

More information on the the assistive technology project can be found in gtentacle’s Hackster write-up.


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