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The challenge

Some people with e.g. cerebral palsy are unable to use physical controllers such as buttons and joysticks to interact with communication software are still able to make intentional hand movements.

The solution

HandShake uses a pair of BBC micro:bits to enable triggers to be sent to switchable communication software to enable speech to be composed. The components are all off the shelf.  One micro:bit is worn on the wrist and a second micro:bit is connected to a laptop or communications device. When a wrist movement is made, the micro:bit on the wrist uses its radio to signal the micro:bit connected to the laptop. The micro:bit connected to the laptop then triggers an event on the laptop through the USB cable connecting the micro:bit to the laptop. The trigger sent from the micro:bit can also be used as switch to control communications software, such as Smartbox’s Grid software.

A full explanation of the device with a link to detailed instructions and all of the project code needed to make it run along with a video of the system being tested at Beaumont can be found on the project webpage can be found here:

https://www.mattoppenheim.com/handshake/

Instructions on how to replicate the system along with the necessary software can be found here.

https://github.com/hardwaremonkey/microbit_hand_shake

I made a video to complement the setup instructions here:

https://youtu.be/VbLbZZK2l8E

The benefit

This project enables people who are able to make a voluntary movement but who are unable to interact with switches and joysticks to interact with switchable software to e.g. create speech using AAC.

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