IDEAL Assistive Technology (AT) SmartDrive®

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This page was last updated on March 12, 2007.

Component IDEAL Assistive Technology (AT) SmartDrive®
Developer: IDEAL Group, Inc.
http://www.ideal-group.org
Phone: (614) 777-0660
TTY/VCO: (800) 750-0750
Fax: (614) 259-0013
Project Objective: Develop a low-cost, fully transportable, technology solution that provides students with disabilities immediate access to free, high-quality, fully-tested, documented, supported and maintained assistive technology (AT) applications that can be quickly and easily used and configured for used on any PC, public terminals and from within learning management systems.

Benefits to the student when used in combination with IDEAL Conference®: The IDEAL AT SmartDrive® minimizes problems commonly associated with in school AT evaluations. Problems such as needing to:

  • solicit approval to install AT software on a school PC
  • involve the IT department
  • install software on school PCs
  • uninstall software from school PCs
  • check to ensure that the PC functions properly after uninstall

Why?  Everything can be done REMOTELY using a school computer without needing to install anything on the school computer.

The IDEAL AT SmartDrive® enables:

  • students to carry and use Access Tomorrow provided AT software, mainstream applications and utilities to any PC located anywhere in the world and be productive.
  • minimizes problems commonly associated with a teacher’s:
    • time limitations (people off-site can help remotely)
    • lack of AT training and experience (Students can be trained remotely)
    • lack of AT support knowledge (remote AT support can be provided)
  • minimizes problems associated with the cost of AT and the time it takes to acquire it:
    • in many instances, high-quality AT can be provided immediately, for free
  • minimizes AT transition problems due to:
  • school-purchased AT needing to remain at school. Since the student owns the AT, they can carry it with them to school, work, home, the library, friend’s houses, etc.
  • the ability to conduct remote AT testing and evaluations
  • minimizes problems commonly associated with multiple AT applications being installed on a single classroom computer for use by multiple students.  For example:
    • bottlenecked usage (enables any standard PC to be used by students with disabilities)
    • interoperability problems (AT applications are not installed on the PC)
    • incompatibility problems (AT applications are not installed on the PC)
    • settings being changed purposely or inadvertently (Each application is carried by the student.  There is no chance of someone else changing settings)
    • AT applications becoming corrupted
Benefits to AT Developer:
  • Ability to enable users to download their U3 complaint applications to any U3 capable device.
  • Portability of their applications from PC to PC;
  • Advertising on software central;
  • Users can distribute their applications using customized U3 devices with their logos, etc.
  • Application is host independent;
  • No traces left behind on the host PC;
  • Enables users to use their applications in protected, public, environments like public and college libraries, K-12 libraries, computer labs and community centers.
  • Always anticipates that the user may pull the drive and terminates itself smoothly and automatically;
  • Expands the users ability to benefit from the application from using it on any PC.
Hardware Interface: Smart Drive: 2GB capacity. Cost plus software installation, configuration and duplication ($100)

User PC requires USB connector

Cost per user for hardware: $100
AT Applications Mozilla Firefox (Mountain View, California): Firefox 1.5 has an intuitive interface and blocks viruses, spyware, and popup ads. Benefits include:

  • Faster Browsing
  • Automatic Updates
  • Tabbed Browsing
  • Improved Pop-up Blocking
  • Integrated Search
  • Strong Security
  • Clear Private Data
  • Live Bookmarks

Fire Vox for Firefox (Austin, Texas): Fire Vox is an open source, freely available talking browser extension for the Firefox web browser. Think of it as a screen reader that is designed especially for Firefox.

CLiCk, Speak for Firefox (Austin, Texas): CLiCk, Speak is an open source, freely available extension for the Firefox web browser. It is part of the CLC-4-TTS Suite of products, it features a mouse driven interface, and it reads web pages – hence its name.

Click-N-Type (Mt. Gilead, North Carolina): Click-N-Type is an on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard. Click-N-Type Speech Package: More than just fun, Typing Sounds provide audible feedback to both Standard Mode and AutoClick users.   You may select one of the “Spoken Keys” options, as well as normal typewriter sounds.  The feature “speaks” the keys back to you, letting you know you’ve hit the correct key.  Documentation on how to create “Spoken Keys” is included with the Click-N-Type help file, so people can create their own.

FreedomBox (Orlando, Florida): FreedomBox and System Access provide easy to use, fully featured, mobile access to Windows and the Internet for blind and visually impaired users. The FreedomBox Internet application suite seamlessly integrates web browsing, email, streaming media, instant messaging, and more in a consistent, fully accessible user interface. Customize FreedomBox to your liking, and you can have fully personalized Internet access anywhere. System Access provides highly automated and transparent access to the Windows operating system and numerous applications, including Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, Skype, Winamp, and many other popular titles. System Access also makes the U3 Launchpad accessible so you can manage your U3 smart drive with ease. FreedomBox and System Access are U3 smart, you can immediately run them from your U3 smart drive on any U3-capable computer, including well-secured computers in public places. No other assistive technology provides this combination of functionality and mobility; it’s truly accessibility anywhere.

ReallyEasyReader (London, England): RSVP – Rapid Serial Visual Presentation. The Fastest, most efficient way to display of your text for reading, see speed reading for more details.

iZoom (Ontario, Canada): Professional Grade Screen Magnifier and Reader built into a single application. Magnify your screen anywhere from 1.5 to 16 times while having it read out to you, all ready with color/cursor enhancements and image smoothing. Additionally, iZoom is the only free professional grade magnifier that works across Remote Desktop Software such as Terminal Services/VNC.

WWAC Browser (European Union): A very powerful Symbol-based AAC Web Browser

Fatbits (Vicksburg, Mississippi): Fatbits magnifies an area of the screen and paints the giant pixels into a new window, which may be useful if you have a visual impairment. To make the screen even more accessible, you can modify the colors it displays.

NexTalk (Salt Lake City, Utah): Internet-based, Live Text Communication.  Some of the Features of NexTalk are:

  • Call or accept text calls from any other NexTalk.net user
  • Call a TTY
  • Anyone on a browser can call you
  • Receive “Text Mail” messages that are forwarded to an email address
  • Send or receive Instant Messages with any NexTalk.net user
  • Transfer and conference text calls between NexTalk.net users.
Mainstream Applications and Utilities: IDEAL Conference (Hilliard, Ohio): accessible, online, conferencing system for meetings and training.

OpenOffice.org (Hamburg, Germany): OpenOffice is a full-featured office suite that’s compatible with Microsoft Office, Word Perfect, Lotus and other office applications. It’s easy-to-use and feature-rich, performing nearly all of the functions you’d expect in an office suite, but at no cost.

  • OpenOffice.org Writer – The Word Processor: Writer is OpenOffice.org’s word processor: use it for anything from writing a quick letter to producing an entire book with embedded illustrations, cross-references, tables of contents, indexes, bibliographies… Auto-complete, auto-format, and real-time spelling check make light work of the hardest task. Writer is powerful enough to tackle desktop publishing tasks such as creating multi-column newsletters, brochures – the only limit is your imagination.
  • OpenOffice.org Calc – The Spreadsheet: Use Calc to bring your numbers under control. This powerful spreadsheet has all the tools you need to calculate, analyse, summarise, and present your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics. A fully-integrated help system makes entering complex formulas a breeze. Sophisticated decision-making tools are just a few mouse clicks away. Pull in external data using the Data Pilot, and sort it, filter it, and produce subtotals and statistical analyses. Use previews to select from thirteen categories of 2-D and 3-D charts including line, area, column, pie, XY, stock and net with dozens of variants.
  • OpenOffice.org Impress – The Presentation Tool: Impress is the fastest, most powerful way to create effective multimedia presentations. Your presentations will truly stand out with special effects, animation and high-impact drawing tools.
  • OpenOffice.org Draw – The Drawing Tool: Draw will produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations and special effects.
  • OpenOffice.org Base – The Database: New to Version 2, BASE enables you to manipulate database data seamlessly within OpenOffice.org. Create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports, either using your own database or Base’s own built-in HSQL database engine. (Note that the design functionality is currently disabled in this U3 package of OpenOffice.org for technical reasons).

Desktop Share (Lambton N.S.W, Australia): For remote support and application-sharing.

Mozilla Thunderbird E-Mail (Mountain View, California): Thunderbird for U3 is the easy-to-use Mozilla Thunderbird email client packaged for U3 by John T. Haller and supported by PortableApps.com. Mozilla Thunderbird for U3 is based on Portable Thunderbird. Full-Featured Email

Trillian Instant Messaging (Danbury, Connecticut): A full featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. It provides capabilities not possible with original network clients, while supporting standard features such as audio chat, file transfers, group chats, chat rooms, buddy icons, multiple simultaneous connections to the same network, server-side contact importing, typing notification, direct connection (AIM), proxy support, encrypted messaging (AIM/ICQ), SMS support, and privacy settings.

Cost per user for software: $0 with one exception (FreedomBox).
Software Versions: All versions will be current
Number of assistive technology products included in deliverable: Minimum of six
Total cost per user: $100 – $125
Language: English only.
Name of Application: IDEAL AT SmartDrive®
Application Program Interfaces: U3 LaunchPad
Installation Methodology: PC installations not necessary.

No installations of software need to be made on any PC. All of the software executes directly from the IDEAL AT SmartDrive®

Scope of Impact: The Web, all local applications, podcasts, news feeds and online applications.
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