22 March 2007

CSUN 2007/DiscoverPro2.0 - DiscoverEnvoy-v1.0

I was tired and grumpy by the time I reached this booth, and I challenged the vendor rep, "what makes this "truly universal access"?" I asked, pointing to the big sign behind him. He said, "come look," and I watched Madentec's IntelliSwitch go to work with their DiscoverPro2.0 software (PC) and their DiscoverEnvoy v.1.0 software (Mac OS Tiger). It was impressive. The "two-switch" IntelliSwitch has always had great capabilities, but combined with these software systems it makes this a great solution for those with high cognitive and low dexterity function. On both platforms keyboard and mouse controls work smoothly, and navigation is intuitive. On the Mac, with Envoy, it goes beyond that, running cleanly and beautifully, controlling every computer function from start-up to shut-down and in-between.

DiscoverEnvoy even runs in Parallels, the Windows-on-an-Intel/Mac system, though this system is still "buggy."

There are many alternative ways to control computers, from voice, to eye-gaze, to brainwaves, to the headmouse (some of which I will mention in days to come). The switch is an old system, but with these new (or in the case of DiscoverPro, updated) software packages, it stays as a very viable option to consider.

- Ira Socol from Los Angeles

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