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A General Purpose Electromechanical Simulator for Switches Used in the Rehabilitation of Communication-Impaired People

Niamh Connolly, Edward Burke, Annraoi de Paor

DOI:


Abstract

The importance of simple mechanical switches in rehabilitation cannot be overstated, particularly in the facilitation of communication and control by people with profound physical disabilities. Many communication and control systems are designed to be operable using a single switch (or a small number of switches). A crucial step in the tailoring of a system to a patient who will operate it in this way is the selection of an appropriate switch, according to their physical abilities. We present a prototype switch simulator, capable of reproducing various types of switching action under computer control. This electromechanical device exhibits a force versus displacement characteristic (possibly incorporating hysteresis) selected by the user on the PC. In this way, the suitability of a variety of switching actions for a patient can be assessed, and the optimal choice identified. Furthermore, for patients with very particular needs, this device can implement switching actions which are difficult or impossible to reproduce in a passive mechanical switch.

Keywords


Simulator; communication; systems; people.

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