Monday, November 3, 2008

Eye Max Tested in the Field Last Week

I had the opportunity to put the Eye Max by Dynavox to work in a field test last week. Our field consultant from Portland drove one out to set up with a VMax for Halloween Day. We callibrated it with a high school boy who has trialed many access methods with his laptop over the past two years. We had loaded Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro on his laptop and tried using his head array to access communication boards. I even set up Mp3 files of his songs to play on an Mp3 player board (that would make a fun tutorial here sometime) and we hoped for some extra motivation factor with that one.
We moved to a reflective dot on a cap with a head tracker and stabilized his head with neck support. We worked with a sip and puff but he couldn't get his mouth to curve and grip the straw without air leaking, enter the EyeMax.

The Dynavox rep/field consultant placed the unit on a stand. The EyeMax snaps into the battery compartment of the VMax from the back and has a lens and 2 lights that stay on when it "sees" both your eyes - or one or the either corresponding to each individual eye. Once callibrated, the lens sees you and locks in on your head movement and by dwelling on a button, you can click and open it. When your gaze moves across the board, a blue frame show up on a button. If you dwell there, the frame gets thicker and begins to move inward to fill the button until it clicks to open the linked board or say the message, etc.
Our student had a rough time callibrating because of several things. One was that he has used a head array for years and he has a habit of moving his head instead of just his eyes. Getting him to keep a soft body and just work with his eyes will take him some practice.
Another issue is that he has some problems with holding his head still and we have him braced up every way we can think of short of a halo. Our PT and OT have done a great job of collaborating in a team setting wiith the SLP, myself and the case manager and mom to get this far.
He was able to callibrate it enough to get access started. He played a concentration game, opening and matching squares. He also used a simple yes and no button with large target size.
We have scheduled a loan in January to do a more extensive trial. The devices are being bought as soon as they are ready and the company can't keep them coming fast enough according to the rep. Needless to say, the wait list is long for the loans as well, so if you are interested, check with your regional Dynavox consultant to get a reservation set up.

We are going to be practicing the eye gaze technique in the meantime. I am encouraged by what I have seen.

I would encourage you to check it out if you have a student that has been unable to access a device through any other means. I don't have a price at this point. I know the team was talking about it and I just was busy working with the student and the device. You can find out by calling your Dynavox rep as well.

All the best to you!


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