Zerrecon is a company specializing
in rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology, and solving
with disabilities. This story can also be found on their website
One-Hand Computer Access
Karen had an elbow injury that caused
her considerable pain whenever she overworked her
left hand, and keyboarding was one of the activities that
could cause this. She was employed as a typist, and wanted some
speed up her typing without exacerbating her injury.
Zerrecon's assessment included a review
of the commercial products available specifically for a "one-handed" person.
There are keyboards, the BAT is one example, that
are set up specifically for one hand, but Karen
didn't like that concept since she wanted to use her injured hand
occasionally. There are software techniques that set up a standard
keyboard with a layout more efficient for one-hand use; these had
the same limitation.
We also reviewed voice recognition as an input
technique. She eventually rejected this approach because of the training time
required in order to develop reasonable speed. (You may want to review the separate
analysis of Voice Recognition Computer Input.)
The final product selected was the Half-QWERTY.
Half-QWERTY allows normal use of the keyboard, but when you hold
the space key down the key assignment switch like
a mirror image. The "F" key,
with the index finger of the left hand, becomes a "J" key,
normally struck with the index finger of the right
hand. With this approach all the keys on the keyboard
can be activated with one hand, but they can also be activated
in the normal, two hand, way. This was the approach Karen preferred.
To whom it may concern:
My seven year old daughter,
Eva, has Left Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy and has a
hard time using a standard keyboard. Today, 12 May 03, she was introduced
to your Half-QWERTY one-handed keyboard. The assistive technology
teacher that brought it to her was quite impressed with her first
try and is trying to find resources so our school district can
purchase one of the keyboards for her to use at school.
We are so thrilled because
this piece of equipment will open up so many doors
for Eva in the future, something she will be able to use for
the rest of her life. We have watched Eva get frustrated
as she tries to type things out to her Grandparents
on the e-mail. She hopes one day to use a
two handed keyboard and with this tool she will hopefully be
able to do
We hope many more doors will be opened in the future.
Thank you so very much.
Mark & Leila Froehle.
Below is a personal profile story from the book Accessible
Technology in Today's Business: Case Studies for Success published by Microsoft Press.
A Success from Microsoft
is a safety manager for a southeast regional department of
transportation. At 25, he lost a hand in an industrial accident.
The accident prompted Robert's interest in safety, which led to his
current position, but it was his mobility impairment that prompted him
to learn about assistive technology. After his accident, Robert trained
for and was hired for an administrative position
at the department of transportation, which required him to work with a computer. Because Robert already knew how to type and had the use of one hand, he was able to accomplish
his typing requirements quickly and efficiently using a low-cost assistive
technology device called a Half-QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard [is] the size
of a regular keyboard, and each key allows access to two letters.
The [Space bar] allows switching back and forth between the two letters. Robert's typing speed is now even faster than when he had the use of both hands.