December 29th, 2013: ECTkeyboad, also known as EyeComTec Keyboard, it was recently developed and released software designed to enable people with reduced motor skills to input text through the specialized keyboard one letter after another for computer aided communication. With the keyboard, the disabled persons can manage to press only a single button when they want to type texts that are lengthy in nature.
ECTkeyboard software incorporates the use of a matrix that is based on text to allow people with limited motor or movement skills to type text into their computers. Utilizing analogues and the ECT tracker applications to track the eye of the disabled persons, the software selects characters using muscle contractions, eye acts (press button, mouse key, or even blink if coupled with ECTtracker) or any other actions realized through the eye movements.
Designed to save file settings to be used in the future for subsequent work, this special keyboard features delays for selecting characters, language input and an interface configuration that is not just versatile, but also flexible. This means that disabled person with limited motor skills can input text by drawing the air or contracting a single or group of muscles that send signals for direct character input through the keyboard.
Despite the text matrix window being customizable in terms of order and appearance, it comes bundled with a set of pictograms or symbols to aid in its functioning. Five major methods are used to enter text using this EyeComTec’s online keyboard namely: step by step mode, the coordinate mode, the cursor holding coordinate mode, separating regime and the virtual keyboard mode.
In the step by step mode, characters are highlighted one after another by the software and the disabled person acts (press button, mouse key, or even blink if coupled with ECTtracker) to choose a suitable character while vertical and horizontal selections are used in the coordinate mode in which a character is selected only after a suitable column or row has been chosen. The separating regime makes use of text matrix division to split highlighted characters until the only one remaining is the one to be selected.
The virtual keyboard mode on the other hand, allows for the use of a manipulative device such as a mouse or touchpad. In the cursor holding coordinate mode, a key is pressed or held down in order for a character to be selected. Although all text typed are registered to a certain file, different people use different modes of operation depending on their disability and level of limitation by their motor skills.
The ECTkeyboard is comfortable and easy to use because saved settings from a previous file can be imported. The keyboard’s settings can be customized and its interface is simple to understand and use. According to EyeComTec, “Almost any parameter can be modified - the number of letters in a row or column, matrix colors, colors and font style of a selected cell or to the entry delay, allowing users to choose the most comfortable work pace, avoid fatigue and make working with ECTkeyboard as comfortable as possible.”
EyeComTec is a branch of LAZgroup SA, which is a firm that develops software as part of a group of developers committed to developing software technologies for people with significantly impaired mobility. With a goal of developing affordable yet effective software to help the physically impaired to communicate through movements of the eye, EyeComTecrecently released the ECTkeyboard in late 2013. The virtual keyboard is compatible with most personal computer configurations and operating systems.
Name: Mike K
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Address: Switzerland, Geneva