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iPad Bluetooth Switch Interfaces: 4 Great Choices for Hands-Free Control!

Having access to the latest and greatest mobile device is a desire for many in the world, but can present a challenge if one does not have the ability to use their hands to touch the screen.  A Bluetooth switch interface can be the answer for many and can allow one to control a particular program or the entire device with just one switch (i.e. sip/puff, eye blink, foot, knee, and fist activated switches).

For this post, I thought it would be helpful, for those in pursuit of such tech, to have an quick overview of four of these interfaces, all of which are compatible with iOS7 Switch Control .  We have had good experiences with each of these devices and have all but the Tecla Shield DOS in our inventory.

If after reading you would like to try one of these devices via demonstration or you would like to rent, please call us at 1-800-895-4728.  Click here to find similar services in your state.

 

Blue2 from Ablenet

Ablenet New Blue2-$179

  • Two easily activated switches built-in to the device or use the two built-in jacks with most any external switch
  • Toggle switch for keyboard control
  • Program custom keyboard sequences for use with any app
  • Rechargeable via USB
There is a nice video that goes over the Blue2’s features here.

 

Pretorian APPLicator

 

Pretorian Technologies APPlicator $165

  • Four, programmable, switch inputs
  • Quick Media selection mode for preconfigured access to music playlist-play/pause, skip forward and back and Timed Play (10 seconds).  For example, you can set the interface to turn the iPad’s music on and off with the push of a button.  No scanning required.
  • Integral button allows on-screen keyboard to be deployed or hidden at any time.
  • Using the built-in display, select the function of each switch from the choice of 24 mouse/keyboard commands.
This video shows how to set up the APPlicator for auto scanning.

 

rjCooper Super Switch

RJ Cooper’s Big Bluetooth Super-Switch-$164

  • Two external switch inputs
  • Toggle switch for keyboard control

Although IPAT’s Super Switch is an older version, it paired easily with the iPad, was compatible with the camera, music, iBooks, and all switch enabled apps.  I was able to do step scanning in some switch enabled apps (i.e. Sounding Board from Ablenet), but could not do it with the iOS7 controls. According to Mr. Cooper, the new version allows for step scanning with iOS7 Switch Access.

 

Teclashield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TeclaShield DOS $349

  • Compatible with Android and iOS
  • Free App which allows for control of Android Devices.  This worked well to get around the Android interface and with most apps I tried.
  • Two programmable switch inputs
  • Built-in port that allows one to control their mobile device via their power wheelchair controls. This works with powered wheelchair controls that have an Environmental Control Unit (ECU) box.
  • Don’t have a power wheelchair but still want to use a joystick to control your device?  Try their optional add-on joystick.
  • Need more switch inputs, try their optional multiple switch adapter.

For more information, you can check out the videos on the Komodo Open Lab You Tube Channel.

In closing, I thought I would leave you with this blog post from Tecla regarding 9 surprising things that can be done with an iPhone or iPad by people who are quadriplegic. Although it refers to the Tecla Shield, the concept applies to all Bluetooth switch interfaces.

 

 

Further Reading

iPad Bluetooth Switch Access Disconnecting? Get Hooked!

We have been using Bluetooth switch interfaces with the Apple mobile devices and the built-in switch access for a few years with our clients here at IPAT.  We have found that in some instances, the...


How to Set Up Bluetooth Switch Controls with an iPad

IPAT receives calls daily from people using assistive technology (AT). An AT call currently popping up is from families, therapists and teachers looking for help setting up a Bluetooth switch to control...


5 Ways to Use a Computer Hands-Free

There are many reasons someone would need to access the computer without their hands, such as a Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), quadriplegia, Muscular Dystrophy, etc.....


One of Assistive Technology’s Best Kept Secrets: oneswitch.org.uk

I love everything about being an Assistive Technology (AT) Consultant. Everyday I come to work having absolutely no idea who might come through the IPAT doors, or what AT solutions I will be asked to help...


4 Comments on “iPad Bluetooth Switch Interfaces: 4 Great Choices for Hands-Free Control!”

  • Andrew September 21st, 2014 5:36 am

    You may also want to look at

    1) Tapio http://www.orin.com/access/tapio/

    2) Airturn http://www.airturn.com/bluetooth-pedals/bt-105

    Both of which offer switch interfaces for iPad and iPhone at a reasonable cost.

  • IPAT September 23rd, 2014 4:07 pm

    Great suggestions, Andrew. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lucas May 2nd, 2017 2:58 pm

    Hello,

    Are there any options that would work with Android tablets?

    Thank you,
    Lucas

  • IPAT May 10th, 2017 9:04 pm

    Hi Lucas-Several of device in the article are Android compatible such as the Blue2 and the TeclaShield.

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