[Ricky] absolutely loves watching DVDs. He is epileptic and is cognitively functioning at a level roughly that of a 6 year old. His younger brother [Ronnie] noticed that [Ricky’s] DVDs as well as his DVD player never lasted very long due to some rough handling. [Ronnie] stepped up to make [Ricky’s] life just a little bit easier by building this super rugged DVD watching station.
He started by ripping out the front pcb of the DVD player that has all the buttons. [Ricky] can wear through a set of standard buttons in no time, so [Ronnie] extended these to arcade buttons. Then he mounted everything into a custom cabinet that can withstand a considerable amount of abuse.
Now they can load 5 disks in and [Ricky] can watch what he pleases without worry of destroying the player.
[Ronnie] mentioned that he’d like to make a more complex control system using some kind of microcontroller, but frankly I find the simplicity of this to be perfect. Maybe a media pc loaded with movies might be a decent next step. You can see [Ronnie’s] build log here.
If you’ve ever considered making something like this to improve someone’s life, you should check out thecontrollerproject.com where people with special needs can connect with people who can build interfaces.
Why not that is, if you have a prosthetic arm. Although it’s hard to believe we haven’t seen this before, [Trevor Prideaux], according to [The Telegraph’s] article, “has become the world’s first ever patient to have a smartphone docking system built into his prosthetic arm.”
[Trevor] was born without a forearm, and, as he puts it, he’s used to adapting to things. However, he thought others might be struggling with the same problem, especially those that become disabled later in life. Once their help was secured, Nokia and the Exeter Mobility Centre got to work on his new limb and produced a prototype in five weeks!
[Trevor] is quite pleased with his new phone docking system. Texting especially is much easier and safer, and the phone can be removed when needed for making calls. We love to see hacks like this where people enhance their abilities using technology! For another hack helping those with disabilities, check out this wheelchair elevator/winch made for a non-accessible apartment.
This is a concept input device that [Tech B] built for disabled users. The device uses an accelerometer along with a piezo sensor (right click) and a push button (left click) to function as a mouse. The Arduino that resides in a breadboard on the side of the hat communicates with the computer over a serial connection, using PySerial to translate the microcontroller data into cursor commands with the power and ease of the Python programming language.
During development [Tech B] made a proof-of-concept video using a Basic Stamp which you can watch after the break. He found that this input device was less complicated, more accurate, and much less resource intensive than his webcam IR tracking system.
[Techb] had a friend who was paralyzed after an accident and could no long use a computer. He rigged up an amazingly simple mouse interface using python to implement infrared tracking. The controller was built from an old hat by adding an IR LED and wireless mouse modified so that the button could be clicked by the user’s mouth. A webcam with exposed film used as a filter can track the IR LED and take input from the wireless mouse buttons.
This setup, which draws inspiration from Wii Remote white boards, is much simpler than the Eyewriter (and doesn’t shine an IR LED into your eye). Although [Techb] wants to add facial recognition to the system, there’s something to be said for such a simple implementation.