AbleNet Inc,Roseville, Minn, plans to showcase uses of assistive technology (AT) at the 2010 BETT and UK Special Needs Fringe Conferences to be held in London from January 13 to 15. These demonstrations will feature educators and other professionals from the UK, Japan, and Spain using AT devices to better connect people with disability to their world, says the company.

The demonstrations can be viewed at the company’s BETT conference booth (Stand SN46) and many reseller partner displays at the Fringe Conference.

AbleNet is also requesting submissions of ideas that innovatively use AT at its BETT booth. The Remarkable Idea submissions will also be collected online throughout the year at Written and/or video submissions are encouraged.

The featured Remarkable Idea examples include educators using a combination of AbleNet access, communication, and environmental control products to stimulate learning and offer new opportunities for involvement. The company cites the following examples of creatively helping children with significant disability:

• Hironori Komatsu, educator from Japan, adapted several assistive technologies to allow children to assist in weeding the garden and harvesting vegetables.

• Tony Jones, MEd, BEd, from the UK, created a fun learning and developmental experience by giving the children the ability to make their own bubbles.

• Raquel Rodrigo, special education teacher from Spain, gives students the capability to make hot chocolate, regardless of their ability levels.

• Raquel Rodrigo teamed up with Jose Luis Capilla, physical education teacher, also from Spain, to help kids throw a bowling ball and enjoy the activity with their friends and family.

The products that made these activities possible will be available to demonstrate. The company’s products include:

PowerLink 4 Control Unit: This is the newest product enhancement bringing wireless technology and expanded functionality to a user-friendly device controlling electrically driven appliances, learning tools, toys, and more. It delivers switch access to electrical appliances, and is also a  tool for clinicians and educators. The new version offers additional modes of control, a simplified setup process. The new modes of control include Count Mode, which records and displays the number of device activations; and Two-Switch Mode, which requires two switches to be activated simultaneously to turn on any appliances, encouraging cooperative learning activities.

iTalk2 with Levels: A three-level communicator giving users the freedom to choose between sets of communication messages as desired. It has improved digital sound and 80% more recording time than the original iTalk2. The increased power, combined with the added convenience of three levels, allows prerecording a number of choices for use throughout the day or for recording and storing choices that are used on a regular basis. It also helps the individual with speech impairment ask and answer questions, tell jokes, and make comments in social situations. A toy or appliance can be added for immediate positive reinforcement and message enhancement.

Jelly Beamer: This wireless switch is available with four interchangeable twist tops in red, green, yellow, and blue. Switch tops are also available in more colors, which are sold separately. They include a wireless transmitter and receiver, giving the ability to plug the receiver into switch-adapted toys and devices. Beamers are paired with their own receiver, giving the ability to use multiple devices in the same room at the same time, without interference. The effective range is up to 30 feet.

SuperTalker progressive communicator: The digital technology inside SuperTalker provides clear sound and up to 25% more battery life. This device is powerful enough to be the only voice-output device many users need. It can be used as a single message communicator for beginners and progress to a two-, four-, or eight-message communicator as the user’s needs and abilities change. It offers eight levels so up to 64 messages can be recorded and stored. It features 16 minutes of recording time and a total of eight levels of messaging capability. Every message location is accessible via external switch and is equipped with a special Step Ahead jack, allowing a single switch to activate SuperTalker’s messages in order. AT specialists find SuperTalker useful as a portable assessment tool.

Other products include: LITTLE Step-by-Step communicator, BIGmack communicator, and String Switch.

[Source: AbleNet]