A new Guinness World Records® achievement was set for fastest hands-free typing, achieved by someone who is paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Hank Torres recently set the record at the Assistive Technology Industry Association conference in Orlando, Fla, using a specialized head tracking device called TrackerPro® and the text input system Swype®.
Entering the official Guinness World Records® phrase “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human,” Torres, who was injured more than 30 years ago in a hang-gliding accident, successfully input the phrase in 83.09 seconds on a computer running Microsoft Windows 7. An official Guinness World Records adjudicator was on-site to verify the record. View here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1tNXWpmA5I
“Swype has opened a whole new world of communication for me that was previously tedious or impossible, making a huge difference in my life,” said Torres who uses Swype in his daily life to communicate via e-mail, text messaging, and Facebook. An engineer by training, Torres has also invented several wheelchair-based solutions for which he has been awarded numerous patents–all of which he wrote using Swype and other assistive technology.
Randy Marsden and Cliff Kushler, the cofounders of Swype Inc, both have a strong background in assistive technology. “For more than 15 years, we’ve been able to provide full mouse pointer control using head pointing for people without the use of their hands – just as fast and efficient as someone using a regular mouse," said Marsden, who also invented the TrackerPro headpointer. "But it always bothered me that we couldn’t say the same thing for the keyboard. That was the origin of the idea for Swype. And even though Swype is now helping millions of people in the mainstream enter text on smartphones, there is no greater impact than right here where it was originally intended, helping people with disabilities type much faster than ever before.”
The Swype technology has found success among mainstream users on touchscreen devices. In the past 12 months, it has been licensed by global manufactures including Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, LG, and nearly a dozen others, and is shipping millions of devices.
Through April 30, a free beta copy of Swype software will be included with every TrackerPro purchased from AbleNet, Roseville, Minn, an international provider of assistive technologies and curriculum for special education classrooms. AbleNet CEO Jennifer Thalhuber said the Swype technology unlocks abilities for people with physical disabilities to more quickly communicate and express their ideas through typing.
Swype’s patented technology provides a fast and intuitive way to input text on touch screens. With one continuous finger or stylus motion across the keyboard, users can enter text at more than 30 words per minute. Swype was developed by experts in computing and mobile phone text input technologies.
The Assistive Technology Industry Association is a not-for-profit membership organization of manufacturers, sellers, and providers of technology-based assistive devices and/or services. ATIA represents the interests of its members to business, government, education, and the many agencies that serve people with disabilities.