THE P3 PROJECT
The Personal Portable Profile (P3) system is a device and software that allows a user to capture the profile of one computer and copy it to another, either temporarily or permanently. The goal of this project is to develop a program that will allow users to carry their personal Windows® profile settings with them when they use a different computer. This is accomplished using a special UD-RW (universal device - read/write) USB flash drive device and auto-run program. The software installed on this device will (1) capture a user’s settings from a source machine (e.g., their home computer), storing those settings on the UD-RW device, (2) set the target machine’s profile settings by first copying the target’s current profile to the UD-RW, then installing the profile captured in the first step, and (3) restore (if desired) the target machine’s original settings when the user discontinues use of the target machine by copying the profile captured in step (2) back onto the target computer.
The UD-RW device (see Figure 1) has a special section that is seen by the computer as a CD-ROM device, which allows an auto-run program to be executed upon insertion of the drive into a USB port (Figure 2). This auto-run capability is seen as important to this system because the device is intended to be used by those with disabilities: the three actions of capture, set, and restore should be accomplished with a minimal amount of interaction from the user, and are presented to the user as three simple buttons (Figure 3) by the auto-run program.
Single Switch Performance Test (SSPT) is a clinical tool to facilitate the measurement of performance using a single switch. SSPT is software to allow a PC to be used to collect switch use data. SSPT measures three parameters: 1) time to activate the switch, 2) time to release the switch, and 3) speed of repeated switch activation. The opening screen allows the selection of background information and also the specific test to be administered. Stimulus is provided by the computer and can be visual and/or auditory.
The switch is connected to the computer through a USB mouse. A standard mouse can be modified by adding a mini phone jack in parallel with the left mouse button. The USB mouse purchase and modification can be done locally using instructions available at the web site of the AAC Institute. Alternatively, a modified USB mouse can be purchased through the AAC Institute web site.
The Activation Performance Test is initiated with a switch activation and release. Then, ten tests are performed. For each test, following a random time from the previous switch release, the stimulus is provided and the time from stimulus to switch activation is recorded. When the test is completed, the average time is displayed.
The Release Performance Test is initiated when the switch is activated and maintained. After the switch has been held for a random duration, the stimulus is provided and the time to release the switch is recorded. This is repeated ten times. When the test is completed, the average time is displayed.
The Repetition Performance Test is initiated with a switch activation and release. Following a random delay, the stimulus is applied and maintained while the subject activates and releases the switch five times. The time is recorded. When the test is completed, the time is displayed.
SSPT provides for saving and/or printing the results of the test session. The report includes the name of the subject, the name of the test administrator, the version of SSPT used, and the date and time from the computer clock. This will allow test results to be compared across time.
The purpose of this project was to develop a program to implement the General Input Device Emulating Interface (GIDEI) protocol for the Apple Macintosh OS X system. Such a program exists under Microsoft Windows® (called AACKeys), but at present there is no comparable program under any Unix-based system. AACKeys is a widely used (free) software package that allows augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) device users to access Windows-based computers.
This GIDEI protocol defines a connection and data communication protocol between an augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) device and a standard computer. This allows AAC users to issue operating system commands to the standard computer, emulate mouse movements, access storage devices, and operate standard software packages. The emulation software accepts plain text from the AAC device and translates it into keyboard or mouse operations. The emulator must translate the entire range of possible keyboard and mouse signals. In addition, it must provide commands for selecting a particular input port and for setting the communication speed of that port.
The ViKI (Virtual Keyboard Interface) project is an attempt to demonstrate the efficacy of using a laptop computer as a virtual keyboard to access a host computer that is running standard software. Figure 1 shows the Specialized Interface Laptop (SIL) system connected to a host computer running standard software that will be controlled by the user of SIL. SIL provides any specialized connections required for assistive devices, and any special screen display the user might need in order to interact with those devices (e.g. a scanning keyboard representation). Upon entering an input into SIL, the input is then passed on to the host computer in a form as if it were generated by a standard keyboard and mouse combination.
The hardware and software on SIL can be customized to the specific needs of the user, while the hardware and software on the host remain unchanged. In this way, the user can connect SIL to any host computer he or she likes, while maintaining his or her customized interface on a portable laptop.
The ViKI project was envisioned in three main phases. Phase 1 developed the necessary software for the SIL system to mimic all of the interaction methods available from standard keyboard and mouse, with communication between SIL and the host system via a serial interface. Phase 2 of the project will be to replace the serial communications with a direct connection to the keyboard port of the host system, thus eliminating the need for the TSR communication program for the host. Phase 3 will be to replace the hard-wired connection between SIL and host with an infrared wireless system.