The Tools of the Trade.

So, you’ve decided to ignore the folks over at Assistive Technology1, break out on your own and use the Internet in a useful and meaningful way!2

This will be a series of posts that will take you the initial purchase of hardware, to installing the accessibility software and from that onto Total World Domination!3

For this mighty adventure you will need:

  1. MacBook Pro
  2. TrackerPro
  3. The Buddy Button
  4. Plantronics Blackwire C610 UC Monoraul USB Headset (referral link)

The MacBook Pro

This is the base of the system, now you will probably be told that they are too expensive and you should buy one of those cheap black Windows laptop monstrosities. But when you take into account the increased reliability of the hardware, and the fact that the chances of catching viruses and malware are significantly reduced, the total cost of ownership of a MacBook Pro is actually relatively low.4

People forget that hardware breakdowns, viruses, malware and most importantly your time all have associated costs.

TrackerPro

The TrackerPro is a small camera the tracks a reflective dot placed on the side of my glasses, it then translates the movement of the dot into cursor movements on my laptop screen. It essentially replaces a normal mouse, but is much cooler. So if I look up and to the left, the cursor moves to the top left-hand corner of the screen. After you’ve been using it for a while it seems a little bit like magic, you think you want to click on something and all of a sudden the cursor is there!

The Buddy Button

The Buddy Button - should you need a single switch - is the greatest button ever created by the technology goblins. End of story.

The Headset

Now clearly, If you’re like me and you’re going to be controlling your computer using your voice you’re going to need a microphone. Don’t bother going with the really cheap ones as they will just break, have terrible quality sound output and remember that you need quality sound input to get good results with voice dictation. I’ve tended to go for headsets in the past, and especially mono aural (over one ear) because they’ve offered me the greatest flexibility.

With the headset over only one of your ears, you’ll be able to use your laptop no matter what position you are in. I can use mine whether I am in my wheelchair, lying on my side in bed or careening down the road on my trusty steed!

The Conclusion

So those are the things that I use day-to-day to control my computer, and the other bits of home automation around my house. I’ll be getting into the software side of things next week.

So stay tuned!


  1. Pffft! 

  2. Or you know, spend hours on Twitter pretending to be working; either is fine! 

  3. World domination is optional, loafing on Facebook is perfectly acceptable alternative :-) 

  4. Let the flame wars begin!