West Virginia Assistive Technology Blog

The Whatz-it Communication Device

This is an image of the Whatz-it communication device.The Whatz-it was designed to assist children with autism and other communication impairments with scaled decision making. The Whatz-it features a graduated color scale from green to red. Children using the scale can then indicate the intensity of their response by sliding a magnetic tile along the green-to-red scale. For example, children can use the Whatz-it to indicate how much their leg hurts after falling. It has been found that using the Whatz-it has improved care and allowed for more accurate diagnoses and treatment for children with autism and other communication impairments. The Whatz-it comes with a set of eight pain related magnetic tiles as well as 8 blank, customizable tiles.

Contributor: Melanie Burge, WVATS

Posted in: Communication

Sunu Band

This is an image of the Sunu Band being worn the a person's wrist.The Sunu Band is a smart watch designed for people who are blind. The Sunu Band uses sonar to detect the proximity of objects and provides haptic feedback to the user. This smart watch can also help to keep track of and find personal belongings, such as keys and luggage, using compatible personal item tags. The embedded sonar includes two modes—long range, which is approximately 14 feet, and short range, which is approximately 5 feet. To see how the Sunu band works, click here.

Contributor: Brittany Valdez, WVATS




Posted in: Blindness

Sled Hockey for Veterans

Charleston Sled Hockey recently received a grant from USA Hockey and the VA to sponsor several Learn Sled for Free events specifically geared toward veterans with disabilities. This is a wonderful opportunity to try this Paralympic sport which is regular hockey, played sitting on sleds, for youth and adults with physical disabilities.

As part of the grant, Charleston Sled Hockey will purchase larger sleds and larger protective equipment for adults to supplement the equipment already available in smaller sizes for youth.

These events will be held at the South Charleston Memorial Ice Arena between March and August 2017. Specific dates and times will be available at the conclusion of the current hockey season.  Everyone will have the opportunity to get on the ice in a sled and volunteers will be available to assist participants in getting on and off the ice. There is no cost associated with the events. However, participants will need to sign a USA Hockey waiver form and Charleston Sled Hockey will need to follow up with each participant, as a condition of the grant reporting.

Charleston Sled Hockey, a division of USA Disabled Hockey, is a small sled hockey team based at the South Charleston Memorial Ice Arena. The current practice schedule is Monday evening from 8 to 9pm. Spectators are welcome and the group is actively seeking new team members and on ice and off ice volunteers.

Please contact Linda Streets, Team Manager, at 304 342 1459 or for more information.

Posted in: Recreation
Tags: Tags: , ,

MagniLink S Portable Video Magnifier

The MagniLink S is a portable video magnifier. It uses HDMI and USB 3.0 connections to produce clear images. The MagniLink S is plug-and-play, which means that no software installation is required. It is compatible with PC and Mac operating systems and is available in different clarity models including 720p and 1080p. In addition, a text-to-speech model is also available and can read text aloud line-by-line, word-by-This is an image of the MagniLink S portable video magnifier.word, or character-by-character in fourteen different languages.

Available Languages for text-to-speech version:

  • Flemish
  • Dutch
  • Danish
  • English
  • Russian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • This is an image of the text-to-speech model of the MagniLink S portable video magnifier. Italian
  • German
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish


Contributor: Brittany Valdez, WVATS

Posted in: Low Vision

Stitcher’s Wonder Frame

Stitcher's Wonder StandThe Stitcher’s Wonder Frame is a 9 x 24 inch standing scroll frame for needlework. The frame adjusts in height from 16 to 37.5 inches.You can also tilt the split-rail scroll frame up or down to work in a position that works best for you. The frame rotates a full 360 degrees. This item has adjustment knobs, and it folds down for storage.

To learn more, visit F. A. Edmunds or call 800-621-1661.  This item is also available from Amazon.

Contributor: Carmen Fullmer, WVATS


Posted in: Mobility, Recreation
Tags: Tags: ,

TabAccess Wireless Bluetooth Switch Interface

This is an image of the TabAccess switch interface attached to a button switch.TabAccess is a wireless Bluetooth interface for tablets that was designed for individuals with motor impairments. It provides an alternative interface for people who have difficulty with pinch and swipe gestures needed to operate touchscreen tablets. TabAccess enables people to operate their tablets through various types of switches, such as button switches, grasp switches, and sip/puff switches. TabAccess works with both iOS and Android operating systems.

Contributor: Melanie Burge, WVATS

Posted in: Switches

FreeSpeech AAC App

This is an image of the FreeSpeech App.This is an image of the FreeSpeech logo.FreeSpeech is an AAC app that was designed to help people of all learning levels and language abilities develop and learn grammatically correct sentences. It was created by a team of Speech Language Pathologists, educators, and researchers. Users can create sentences by dragging and rearranging picture tiles and the app will automatically figure out a grammatically correct sentence from them. More than 2,000 picture tiles are available. FreeSpeech is available for Apple devices with iOS 9.1 or later.

Contributor: Melanie Burge, WVATS

Posted in: Communication

Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting

This is an image of Philips Hue light bulbs.Philips Hue is a collection of smart lighting products that can be controlled wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet. The collection features different sized bulbs in various colors, such as white, white ambiance, and color ambiance, to fit the needs and preferences of each individual.

This is an image of the Philips Hue app on an iPhone.Philips Hue bulbs are designed to connect to the wireless internet in the home and communicate with one another through a device called the Bridge. Once the Philips Hue bulbs and Bridge are installed in the home, users can operate their lights without ever flipping a switch.

The Philips Hue app, which is free and can be downloaded on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, allows users to adjust the brightness of the lights and set daily timers. Other options offered by the app include “set the scene,” “wake up,” “home or away,” and “create rooms.”

Contributor: Brittany Valdez, WVATS

Canary All-in-one Home Security System

This is an image of the Canary all-in-one home security system.Canary is an all-in-one home security system that features an HD video camera and sensors for motion detection, temperature control, air quality control, vibration, and sound. Canary automatically sends out alerts whenever it senses a change in the home environment in order to keep your home safe.

Canary has a companion app so users can watch live video to monitor their homes and receive alerts when away from home. The app is free and available for Apple and Android devices. Updates to the app are free for users as well. The app is also accessible via as many phones as wanted. This means that users can add the free app to their friends’ and families’ phones as backup in case of an emergency.

In addition, there is an optional service plan that includes more data storing and a call-center backup. This additional plan is contract-free so interested users can cancel at any time.

Contributor: Melanie Burge, WVATS

Aacorn AAC App

This is an image of a hand touching an iPad screen to use the Aacorn AAC Communication app.Aacorn is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app. It is designed to help children with non-verbal autism, speech and expressive language disorders to communicate. The app uses a visual word tree format to make it easier to build clear flowing sentences. Aacorn adapts to the child’s communication style, and uses word prediction to present word choices automatically. You can add pictures and words. This AAC device uses real children’s voices for more natural sounding speech output.  To learn more, visit Aacorn.

Contributor: Carmen Fullmer, WVATS

© 2005-2012017 Center for Excellence in Disabilities West Virginia University