Here is where any info about OFD and any project we undertake will be.
Posts and comments moved here in a more or less “newest at the top” format. Original details below that.
(Edit by RickH: I have enabled comments on this page; they will appear in first-in-first-out order. Less work for Nick to copy/paste comments, although he can still do that.)
OFD’s current state–
Regarding OFD, I got this from his wife Liz the other day:
“Hi Nick- Dave can’t move his arms or legs or speak and is still in the hospital- looks like he will be here for a while. Docs slay that recovery is going to be slow and they are trying to get his nutritional status to the point where they can begin to wean him off the vent. He is not up to participating in much right now. Also, he can’t check email, so I go through it when I can- my email is [redacted] if you want to reach me directly. Thanks so much for all the cards and prayers- keeps hope alive. Thanks again”
I’ve got a plan, needs discussing and help.
Perhaps “plan” is overly generous. I’ve got a “desire” and an “idea.”
My idea is to get a lappy with win7 (as the last non-tile UI) and a webcam and install the open source/free stuff I linked to previously.
-whatever mouse click helpers are needed
Then test that it actually does work, either-
-with a “chat board” which is selectable words and phrases for communicating
-with windows control utilities so that he can use at least FFox
The “chat board” is likely the most helpful. (there used to be hardware called that for non-verbal people, searching on that term will get nothing useful)
The search terms relevant are “Assistive Communication Device” or “Augmentative Alternative Communication Accessories”
So, get hardware, get software, config and train to verify it works, integrate additional software, standard windows crap, then send it to a tester to go thru the instructions and training of the eye tracker, then deploy to OFD….
Liz is not technical, so anything we did would have to be straight forward, and have simple and complete instructions.
When my friend was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease she lost her ability to speak and was very weak.
I built a speech machine for her with a Nexus 7 touch screen tablet, it’s built in text to speech, and a tiled phrase builder app that cost a few dollars.
This was the app:
Speech Assistant AAC
-resume original comment-
We built in a couple of common phrases and she used it to aid communication in her last few months of life.
Took me a couple hours to build, and less than $250 out of pocket. We had to add a lightweight speaker as the Nexus speakers were too anemic from her elderly husband to hear.
I’ll try to find my notes on the app I used. It was pretty slick. Might be a good fast option for OFD if he can move a finger for touch screen.
Great advantage was the cost and light weight.
Down side was it had no capacity for eye tracking.
I did find several do it yourself eye tracking tools but they were all beyond my brain power (still nursing a baby and super stupid then as a result)
Thanks Jenny, that sort of app is exactly what I meant by ‘chatboard’. Unfortunately, Dave doesn’t have ANY movement of arms or below, according to Liz.
However, that sort of app combined with an eye tracker should work, if anything will.
I like a lappy better than a tablet, mainly because of form factor. You can set it on a table and point it at the user. Also, more free stuff available simply because laptops have been around longer.
There are services and paid apps that do most of the work for you. They might be a simpler option, but are sure to be more expensive. EVERYTHING to do with special needs is stupidly expensive. I asked Liz if the VA was going to do anything along these lines for Dave, but she didn’t answer. The VA would probably find it easier to manage him as a patient if he’s paralyzed and unable to communicate, so I don’t know where their true motivation lies. If that consideration makes me a bitter cynic, so be it.
Regarding time. We’ve got time to trade for money in this case. OFD is going to be in this condition for a number of YEARS. It’s my personal belief that if he’s really unable to communicate or interact with the world, he’ll go nuts or give up long before that. So there is some urgency as he’ll benefit more the earlier he gets the ability back.
This was the original note from Liz, OFD’s wife: