Comcast Rolls Out New Television Control Feature for Eye Gaze Users

A popular feature autonoME users enjoy is the ability to control their television. When we install an autonoME, one of the features we are often asked to demonstrate is its television control capabilities.

Cable giant Comcast recently rolled out their Xfinity X1 eye control which is designed to make it even easier for Comcast customers with disabilities to control their set-tops. The Xfinity X1 eye control is a web-based remote that operates in conjunction with existing eye gaze hardware and sip and puff switches. Once paired to the set-top box, users can operate the remote by gazing at the buttons on their tablet. This allows users to launch the guide, search for programs, change channels, operate their DVR, turn on the X1 Sports app, access the X1 accessibility menu and more.

Everyone at Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) is thrilled about this new technology. We know how important television control is for the clients we serve, and this new feature from Comcast can provide an additional option for our clients to control their cable TV viewing experience. We expect other cable and streaming providers to soon follow suit.

quadriplegic assistive technology

When it comes to disabilities, a common question often asked is what is the difference between a quadriplegic and paraplegic?  Here is a summary of the main differences:

Paraplegic

A paraplegic has sustained a spinal cord injury in the lower back (within the T1-L5 sections of the spine).  Paraplegics experience some form of paralysis in the lower part of the body which can range from minor mobility problems to being completely paralyzed from the waist down.  Paraplegics do have full use of their arms.

Quadriplegic

Quadriplegics have sustained a spinal cord injury in the neck or upper back within the C1-C8 cervical section which is located above the first thoracic vertebra in the spine.  Quadriplegics have paralysis in the arms and legs.  The extent of the paralysis varies depending on the type and severity of injury.  Rehabilitation including occupational and physical therapy can have a positive effect on the degree of paralysis.   Adaptive equipment for quadriplegics and quadriplegic assistive technologies such as a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit for disabled individuals have advanced significantly through the years and offer quadriplegics the ability to communicate and perform everyday tasks such as turning on the light or changing channels on the television.

The autonoME – developed by Accessibility Services, Inc. – is a both a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit designed for individuals with spinal cord injuries or debilitating diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS).  What makes the autonoME such an effective assistive technology for quadriplegics is its ability to help an individual communicate and achieve independence.  If you are in the process of researching environmental control units for disabled individuals, adaptive equipment for quadriplegics, or various assistive technologies for quadriplegics, give us a call.  Our Product Reps are happy to answer your questions and demonstrate how the autonoME can transform the life of you and your loved one.

quadriplegic assistive technology

Adaptive equipment for quadriplegics has come a long way over the years.  Today, quadriplegic assistive technologies including speech generating devices and environmental control units for disabled individuals have transformed the lives of people living with quadriplegia and their caregivers.  Let’s look at some ways adaptive equipment for quadriplegics continues to improve quality of life for thousands of people affected both directly and indirectly by quadriplegia:

Independence

Environmental control units for disabled individuals are one type of quadriplegic assistive technology that has been a game changer.  They are designed to give quadriplegics and individuals with physical disabilities the ability to control their surroundings.  Standard features include the ability to turn the television on and off, change channels, turn lights and fans on and off, control the bed, and more.

Communication

When it comes to quadriplegic assistive technologies, the speech generating device is one that tops on the list. The speech generating device has full Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) capabilities and allows individuals who are unable to speak to have a voice.

Caregiver Comfort

Quadriplegic assistive technologies such as the speech generating device and environmental control units for disabled individuals give caregivers comfort and confidence in knowing that their loved one has the ability to complete certain tasks on their own and offers comfort should they have to leave them alone for a few minutes.

Accessibility Services, Inc. recognizes that most quadriplegics need both a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit.  That is why we developed the autonoME.  The autonoME is a speech generating device and custom environmental control unit integrated into one single package.  The autonoME also runs Windows 10 so the user has full computing and internet capabilities as well.  Best of all, the autonoME’s different input methods including voice, touch, sip and puff, eye gaze and head tracking allow users with different stages of disability to use the device.

Would you like to learn more about how the autonoME can benefit you, a family member or one of your clients?  If so, our Product Reps are ready to answer your questions.  Call or e-mail us today!

Autonome ECU in Children's Hospital

Special thank you to The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany, Oklahoma for this wonderful article and update on how the autonoME is making a difference in the lives of the children they serve!

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) worked with The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital to develop and install a customized autonoME hospital system for inpatients and an autonoME system in an AT lab for outpatient demonstrations.

ASI’s Vice President, Brice Green, consulted with the facilities manager at The Children’s Center and customized the autonoME to meet the hospital’s specifications. Heather Giordano M.S., CCC-SLP, Product Rep. and ASI’s in-house national certified speech and language pathologist provided on-site consultation on customizing the augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) specifically for their patients.

“Knowing that a child who is unable to communicate can now express their thoughts and feelings makes what we do so worthwhile,” explains Green, “And, giving children with disabilities the ability to perform tasks that most people take for granted – such as changing channels on the television or turning on the lights – makes a tremendous difference in the lives of these children and their families. We are honored to be part of the ‘miracles’ that The Children’s Center make happen every day.”

The Anatomy of the autonoME (Part 3)

When it comes to assistive technology for quadriplegics, the autonoME is the industry gold standard. Not only is the autonoME an environmental control unit, but it is also a speech generating device and computer with Windows 10 and internet access. These capabilities are combined in one single package, making the autonoME one of the industry’s most powerful tools for quadriplegics. The autonoME also features various input devices and methods, so it has become one of most sought after environmental control and communication devices for quadriplegics on the market today.

Touch

The autonoME is equipped with a capacitive touch screen that works with a finger touch or, if the user prefers, a stylus.

Voice

A directional microphone can be used to control the autonoME with voice commands.

Switch Scanning/Sip and Puff

This is a very popular feature, especially for a quadriplegic. Supplies and accessories like a sip and puff (dual switch) can be added and used to activate the switch and operate the unit.

Eye Tracking

An integrated or mounted camera tracks the user’s pupil and eye movements to control the mouse.

Head Tracking

This is popular for someone who has a debilitating disease or is a quadriplegic. Supplies and accessories like a head tracking camera can be mounted to the top of the monitor. A special metallic sticker is then placed on the user’s head, hat or eyeglasses, allowing them to control the mouse curser.

Want to learn more about why the autonoME is a preferred assistive technology for quadriplegics in both hospital and residential settings? If so, give us a call!

assistive technology

Assistive technology is anything designed to maintain and/or improve daily living for individuals with disabilities. This may include, but is not limited to, electronics, software, equipment, speech generating devices, environmental control units and mobility aids.

One of the most underserved communities is quadriplegics. While there seems to be plentiful resources for paraplegics and individuals with varying degrees of paralysis or disability, quadriplegic supplies, tools for quadriplegics and communication devices for quadriplegics can sometimes be difficult to identify and locate.

Accessibility Services, Inc. specializes in assistive technology for quadriplegics and individuals with debilitating diseases.  An example of one of the tools for quadriplegics that we offer is the autonoME speech generating device/environmental control unit. The autonoME is one of the premier communication devices for quadriplegics.  Not only is it user-friendly, but it can operate using different input methods.  Eye gaze, head tracking, and sip and puff are among the accessories and tools for quadriplegics that the autonoME can accommodate.

Environmental control is also an extremely important assistive technology for quadriplegics.  The autonoME can turn on lights, make telephone calls, control the television, adjust the bed, turn on fans and more.  Users can easily use the autonoME as a computer to surf the internet, post to social media, make videos, take photos, play games, etc.

When it comes to assistive technology for quadriplegics, the autonoME is one of the most reliable and best speech generating device/environmental control unit on the market.  Give us a call to learn more!

custom environmental control unit

We’ve been discussing how the autonoME is used by individuals affected by different conditions and diseases.  Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is our focus for this month.

MS is disease of the central nervous system that causes the immune system to damage myelin (the protective coating surrounding the nerve fibers.) This damage ultimately results in scarring (sclerosis) throughout multiple areas of the body. Though the disease can affect anyone of any age, it primarily strikes women between the ages of 20-40.  While there are risk factors associated with MS, a definitive cause has not been identified.

Some people with MS exhibit no outward symptoms, while others are clearly debilitated by the disease.  There are four different types of MS – Clinically Isolated, Relapsing-Remitting (most common), Secondary Progressive and Primary Progressive.  Accessibility Services, Inc. has served many clients with Secondary Progressive and Primary Progressive MS, providing them with a custom environmental control unit and speech generating device to help them re-gain independence.

The autonoME is unique in that we developed it to be both a custom environmental control unit and speech generating device integrated into one convenient package.  We can equip it to fit any type and degree of MS. Most importantly, it is designed to accommodate any progression of the disease. A client who is unable to walk but able to use their hands may benefit from the touchscreen, whereas someone who is immobile may be best suited for eye gaze or head tracking.

The autonoME’s full augmentative and alternative (AAC) and environmental control capabilities make it a preferred choice for individuals with MS and their caregivers. If you or a loved one are affected by MS, we can help!  Give us a call to learn more.

tools for quadriplegics

The autonoME is one of the industry’s most respected communication devices for quadriplegics.  What makes the autonoME so attractive is its combined augmentative and alternative (AAC) and environmental control capabilities. We’ve been taking a closer look at specific features users, caregivers and professionals find most beneficial.  Below are three more reasons why the autonoME is so popular in both residential and hospital settings.

User-Friendly Interface

Ease is important when it comes to tools for quadriplegics.  The autonoME boots up at the Home menu and features a user-friendly interface consisting of Menus (i.e. grid pages) with Commands (cells).  Not only are the Menus and Commands ideal for users, but hospital staff and caregivers also find the autonoME’s interface simple to learn so they can assist the individual should the need arise.

Full Environmental Control

Not only is the autonoME a preferred speech generating device (SGD), but it is also capable of environmental control.  This is especially important in a hospital ECU because it not only helps patients re-gain independence, but also frees up hospital staff to spend more time concentrating on medical care. Environmental control features include the ability to operate the hospital bed, turn on lights, use the telephone with privacy microphone and privacy speaker and control the television.  It even has nurse call integration.

User Adjustable Settings

What makes the autonoME such a desired assistive technology for quadriplegics (especially as a hospital ECU) is the fact that it is so easy for users to adjust and operate.  The autonoME is equipped with a number of user adjustable settings including scan speeds, voice outputs, and even self-calibration when using accessory kit Intelligaze camera for input.

Next month, we will highlight a few more features that make the autonoME such a sought after environmental control unit / speech generating device.  In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about the autonoME, feel free to contact us.  We would love to talk with you!

speech generation device (SGD)

Over the next few months, we will be featuring how the autonoME is used by individuals affected by different diseases and conditions.  This month, we will discuss amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS is a neurogenerative disease affecting the brain and spinal cord nerve cells.  It is progressive and results in the inability for the brain to control muscle movement, which eventually leads to loss of speech and lack of ability to move, eat and breath.  Unfortunately, there is still no cure for ALS.

The autonoME is an integrated environmental control unit (ECU) / speech generation device (SGD) with full augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) capabilities.  One of the features that makes the autonoME ideal for individuals with ALS is its ability to accommodate multiple input methods.  This is extremely important as the disease progresses.  For instance, a person with ALS may initially be able to use touch for commands.  Once their sense of touch becomes compromised by the ALS, they can still control the autonoME using alternate input methods such as eye gaze, sip and puff or eye tracking.

Overall, the autonoME helps individuals with ALS become more independent by allowing them to communicate using AAC and control their environment, including lights, doors, fans and television sets.  The autonoME can even be customized to allow individuals to access the Internet, make phone calls, send text messages, take photos, play games and more.

Are you or a loved one facing ALS?  Or, are you a professional who works with ALS patients?  If so, please give us a call to learn more about how the autonoME custom environmental control unit / speech generating device can help improve overall quality of life for both the individual with ALS and their caregivers.

ECU unit for hospital

(Part 1)

The autonoME is a custom environmental control unit / speech generating device that can be used in both hospital and residential settings.  As a hospital ECU, the autonoME not only helps patients gain independence and the ability to control their environment, but it also frees up staff time that can then be dedicated to patient medical care.

Spinal cord injury units throughout the country are equipped with the autonoME. We will be posting several articles over the next few months which outline why the autonoME is a preferred ECU unit for hospital settings. Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of the autonoME.

All-in-one

The autonoME is one of the most ideal ECU units for hospitals because of its all-in one features and comprehensive capabilities.  Not only is the autonoME a full environmental control unit, but it is also capable of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).  Couple this with the fact that it is also a computer equipped with the Windows operating system and you have the perfect all-in-one ECU / AAC solution!

Retrofitting capabilities

The autonoME is a custom environmental control unit that can be retrofitted into existing infrastructure.  Cables and clutter are eliminated as Accessibility Services Inc. (ASI) has manufactured a convenient wall box that holds all of the necessary components.  When it comes to new construction installation, we can serve as part of the planning team.

Next month, we continue to examine the anatomy of the autonoME and what makes it a perfect ECU unit for hospital settings. Want to learn more about the autonoME?  Give us a call for a complimentary consultation!