Footrest Switch

At the 2004 Talking With Technology Camp in Colorado, I met Margaret Moll. She had been controlling her AAC system using a scanning selection technique operated by a switch that she operated with her head. Her mother suggested that she might have better control using her foot.

Margaret used a wheelchair that had footrests. She seemed to have good ability to extend her ankle. I loosened the clamp on the horizontal tube under the footrest so that it could be rotated. Stops to limit the travel and a switch were added.

Performance was clearly superior to the head switch. Margaret mother reported the significant improvement in her productivity.

As an engineer, I wanted to quantify the performance improvement. This prompted a connection between AAC Institute and Millersville University, where computer science students developed the Single Switch Performance Test. The software was sent to Margaret's mother, who organized a comparison of the original head switch and the footrest switch. The performance was about twice as fast.

For additional information contact:

Barry Romich, P.E.

July 2004

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