Assistive Technology Workshop and Community Launch
On Wednesday 17 February 2016, Edit Microsystems hosted the Introduction to the Possibilities of Eye Gaze Assistive Technology Free Workshop at our offices in Sea Point. This was the first of many upcoming workshops for the year, celebrating 25 Years of Edit Microsystems.
We were inundated with requests to attend from speech, phyiso and occupational therapists, audiologists, teachers and even parents of children with barriers to learning. Practitioners came from schools, hospitals and private practice to learn from industry expert, Kaveh Vefagh, of Tobii Dynavox (Sweden) about the power of eye gaze technology.
Due to popular demand, the workshop was repeated in the afternoon. Health and rehabilitation practitioners earned 4 CPD points for their attendance. In total, we hosted over 125 people, and we look forward to expanding access to this vital knowledge this year.
Launch of the Assistive Technology Community
At the event, Edit Microsystems launched the Assistive Technology Community on Facebook, which is free to join. This community is designed to be a place where therapists, educators, parents and individuals with an interest in this area can share and access information about AAC and assistive technology. It is a space for positivity and innovation, for creativity and problem solving, and for collaboration and connections.
Together we can find solutions to ensure that every individual is able to reach their potential!
The Science of Eye Gaze
Kaveh introduced us to the development of eye gaze technology over the years, and showed the dramatic reduction in the price of eye gaze. This cost decline has made it possible for many individuals who previously could not be catered for with the existing access technology to finally have access to technology for communication and environment control. Eye gaze technology is improving the lives of individuals who have Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neuron Disease (MND/ALS), RETT Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and spinal injuries, as well as many other barriers, around the world.
The Eye Gaze Learning Curve
Kaveh showed us some examples of early eye gaze activities, and discussed the importance of training the eyes for effective use with eye gaze. He highlighted the range of free software that can be used with eye gaze devices.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
Tobii Communicator is an award-winning software program for individuals with complex communication needs. It has been optimized for multiple access methods, including eye gaze, switches and touch screens. Workshop attendees are encouraged to download the free trial of Communicator and try it out for themselves.
Hands-On Mini Workshops
Workshop attendees were offered the opportunity to try out eye gaze technology, many of whom experienced this for the first time. The PC Eye Explore is a simple introductory eye gaze device that can be used to play sensory games, including the Beamz. The PC Eye Go and Tobii I Series + devices are is used for computer control and communication. Participants were invited to try each of these and found the experience enlightening.
To top it all off, attendees were taken on a guided tour of Edit Microsystems’ many mini-workshop stations, catering to a wide range of abilities. Highlights of the tour included the Blind and Low Vision Technology station, where the team demonstrated cutting edge technology such as the Braillenote Apex refreshable braille computer and the Prodigi Connect digital magnifier, Clicker 7 Literacy software for all abilities (now optimised for eye gaze technology!) and Magic Carpet interactive floor for sensory rooms.
Edit Microsystems received tremendously positive feedback from workshop attendees, with 98% of attendees stating that they would recommend this workshop to friends or colleagues.
Many participants remarked that they highly enjoyed the interactive hands-on nature of the workshop, and just wished they had more time to explore the technology!
Thank you to everyone who attended the workshop, and we look forward to seeing you at our next event soon!
If you missed this workshop, like us on Facebook and pop us an email to make sure that you are added to our invite list. For more information on our training offerings or to arrange a custom-designed workshop for your organization, please contact Edit Microsystems:
021 433 2520