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Adaptive Technology

Access Technology - A Review of Computer Adaptive Technology

(Updated August 31, 2016)

The purpose of this guide is to provide information for people with disabilities who are 18 to 59 years of age, and does not necessarily offer information specifically for the elderly.

New Horizons Un-limited assumes no responsibility in guaranteeing the services, programs or conditions as described. If you are interested in a resource listed below, call or contact the resource to verify the current situation. Evaluate information and make your own decisions when using this review.

Access Technology - A Review of Computer Adaptive Technology

This guide, written by New Horizons Un-Limited staff, reviews computer access solutions by locating and reviewing computer hardware, software and related technologies designed for the specific needs of people with disabilities. Our vision is to bring about awareness within the community of the benefits technologies have to offer them and increase the number of people with disabilities accessing technologies.

The following adaptive computer equipment is used by various computer training centers for people with disabilities.


New Sign The Big Keys

Greystone Digital Inc. is a company that offers the Big Keys which are standard size computer keyboards with very large keys. The keys are one inch square, 4 times bigger than the keys on standard computer keyboards.



These trackballs center the ball on the device. This positioning is the most applicable for people with certain disabilities.
The shapes work for left- and right- handed users and all hand sizes.

Logitech Inc.
Corporate Headquarters
6505 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555
(800) 231-7717 Sales
(510) 795-8500 Main

Trackman Marble      US$29.95
Includes free download of software to enhance the use of this trackball.

  • System Requirements

    · Windows7 and up
    · USB or PS/2 port 

    · Mac OS X 10.5 or later
    · USB 

    ·Ambidextrous trackball design, broad palm area and gentle curves keeps your hand comfortable and supported all day—whether you use your right or left hand.
    ·Stable base, your hand stays comfortable all day long.
    ·Convenient button controls, buttons let you easily move forward and backward when you're surfing the Web.
    ·Fingertip-based control, you’ll enjoy fast, accurate cursor movement with just a move of your finger.

  • Visit Logitech's website and use the search bar at the top right hand corner, or use the products tab.

    Kensington Technology Group

    Orbit Optical Trackball  US$29.99

  • System Requirements

    PC and Mac compatible, Compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS

    ·All-day comfort
    ·Less desk space than a mouse
    ·Optical technology delivers superior precision;no cleaning required
    ·Ambidextrous design for left or right-handed users
    ·USB connection delivers instant plug and play use

    Pretorian Technologies LTD

  • n-Abler Trackball   US$350

    The n-Abler Trackball is an adaptable trackball designed to address the needs of computer users with limited hand control, motor skill difficulties, poor hand-eye coordination, lack of manual dexterity and involuntary muscle spasms. PS2 and USB compatible.

    Touch screens

    Touch Screens Inc.
    445 N. 1660 West Circle
    St. George, Utah 84770

    Touch screens

    Installs, works and acts like a mouse. Select and move words and objects simply by touching. The mouse can be used at the same time. Attaches to most computer monitors for touch screen input. Also operates from the desk top as a graphics table for drawing, tracing and touch pad input.

    Touch Window
    ·Provides touch screen monitors size ranging 4" to 82"
    ·Prices range from $400 to $13,000
    ·Optional Protective Overlay-Sheets (10 sets acetate)     US$20
    ·Stylus Pen (quantity 10)     US $20
    ·9 to 25 pin Serial Adapter     US $10
    ·Velcro attachment

    Magic Touch
    ·13" to 15" size US$362
    ·17" size     US$374
    ·19"-21" size     US385
    ·Hanging clip attachment or velcro

    For more information on touchscreen visit TouchWindows Website and search by category, or sear the google search tool located in the upper left corner.

    Screen Maginifier, Screen Readers

    ZoomText is the most popular as it is easy to use. The cost is high, however, it is used in many computer-training centers. This software reads text from any Windows application.

    130 Taconic Business Park RD
    Manchester Center, VT 05255
    (802) 362-3612
    Fax: (802) 362-1670

    There are two versions available - ZoomText Magnifier, which will enlarge and enhance everything on your computer screen with perfect clarity, making all of your applications easy to see and use; and ZoomText Magnifier/Reader, which includes all the great features of ZoomText Magnifier, and will additionally read aloud anything on your computer screen. Sit back as email, documents, and webpages are read aloud to you right through your computer's speakers, letting you relax your eyes even more.

    Compatible with Mac systems only.

    ·Simple, easy-to-use text-to-speech software for the Mac - FREE !
    ·Just copy and paste any text, from any application and ReaderPal will read it aloud for you.
    ·Requirements Mac OSX 10.6 or newer.

    Head Pointers

    Zygo Industries, Inc.
    Customer Support Department
    31805 Temecula Parkway, Suite 162
    Temecula, CA 92592
    (888) 321-6006

    AD-1, 2 and 3 Standard Pointer      US$245.00

    These head-worn pointers represent a significant design advancement in providing efficient pointing from a psychologically and cosmetically sound perspective: the chin. AD Head Pointers have also just been upgraded to include a brand new tip so they can be used with iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, as well as other touch screen tablets including Android and all other AAC dynamic display devices.

    ·The AD-1 Standard Pointer * is fully adjustable; capable of being individually fitted to head sizes from 20-25 inches in circumference.

    ·The AD-2 "Tiny Tot" Pointer has all the characteristics of the AD-1, but is specially sized for small heads from 17-20 inches in circumference. The headband has a rear strap adjustment and the yoke assembly is sized for smaller heads.

    ·The AD-3 Standard Pointer (with rear strap closure) is a "gap filler" between the AD-1 and AD-2.

    Speech Recognition Software

    Speech Recognition Software Programs are not necessarily used in computer training lab settings as it takes time for the user to learn the program and the program to recognize the individual voice. Training the program to understand nuances in an individual's pronunciation takes too much time in the lab setting. These programs are best used on the personal computer. Speech Recognition Programs often cost more and require larger RAM, faster processors and hard drive space. When using speech recognition programs, get a high quality headset and plug it into the sound card in the back of the computer rather than in the microphone jack on the front.

    Scan Soft Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred 8 or 9 by Nuance Communications

    Speech recognition software that can be used for dictating, editing, surfing the Internet, creating letters and e-mails, but also can control applications. Dragon is pretty comprehensive, but is limited to Windows application. The application will learn dialog quickly or can analyze your style of writing to learn your speech quickly. Headset with microphone is included. Connect microphone to external microphone port rather than internal. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a popular speech recognition software. For more information, contact Nuance Communications, Inc. from the link above.

    If you have questions or ideas, information and solutions that you would like to share with us, contact us by e-mail at: horizons@new-horizons.org or to use our NHU E-Mail Form or NHU Community Forum, click the links below.

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