14 tech tools that enhance computing for the disabled

Getting work done on a computer is easily within reach of the blind and physically disabled with the help of these new and updated tools

Sipping and puffing: Jouse2

A computer can be controlled with nothing more than mouth movements and gentle puffs of air. "Sip and puff" input systems employ a thin, hollow joystick that lets disabled users fully interact with a PC. The user manipulates the stick with his mouth, cheek, tongue or chin to move the on-screen cursor and can click on an item by blowing into or sucking out of the straw.

Although sip-and-puff systems such as Semco's QuadJoy have been around for many years, the redesigned Jouse2 from Compusult takes the technology to a new level. The $1,400 device plugs into the USB port of a Windows, Linux or Mac computer, and the articulated, adjustable arm can be mounted on a tabletop, desk or wheelchair. Users can adjust input settings such as cursor speed, double-click (double-puff) speed and sip/puff sensitivity.

In addition to being a mouse replacement, the Jouse2 acts as a keyboard replacement with the company's JoyWrite software, which lets users control the text cursor and enter individual letters, numbers and punctuation by combining sips and puffs of air. Jouse2 can also translate Morse code commands into letters, where sips are dots and puffs are dashes.

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