Monday, 2 December 2013

Blowing Bubble With Your Eyes

When I think back to my childhood I always remember being mesmerised by blowing bubbles.  It seems I've passed this onto my eldest son who also loves them; whenever we go shopping he's always nagging for me to buy a bottle or two!  My youngest son (who has lots of problems including 4 limb Cerebral Palsy and Visual Impairment) doesn't miss out.  He loves to watch his brother blowing bubbles and watching them fly off into the distance.  There is only one thing missing... He isn't in control... He cannot physically blow them... He can't ask his brother or parents to blow them... He just has to sit and wait...  Or does he?  I set out to find a way to give him control to blow bubbles whenever he likes and this blog shows you how we did it!

What you will need:
* An eye gaze (we use Tobii PCeye go or touch screen system
* Tobii Communicator or similar grid/communication product
* A switch/toy controller (we use the BJ Toy Control Box

What to do:
* Connect the switch controller to your PC via a USB port
* Connect the bubble machine to the switch controller (we used port 1)
* Install the switch controller tools using the instructions that come with the product
* Test that the bubble machine works by using the switch controller instructions
* Create a new or edit an existing communicator pageset (instructions can be found here
* Add a new button or select and existing one.  Right click and choose Button actions from the context menu:

* Check the Show all available actions checkbox:

* Selected the Desktop tab, Run program option and click the Add button:

* In the Run program dialogue enter the following values:
      Select file = BJToyBoxCmd.exe
      Parameters = -s 1 4000

**** Note: -s means scilent (do not show a message), 1 relates to the port that the bubble machine is connected to (can be 1, 2, 3 or 4) and 4000 relates to the amount of time the machine will run for.  4000 = 4 seconds ****

Finally run the pageset, click the button and watch the bubbles fly.  My next challenge is getting my wife to allow us to use a bubble machine indoors!

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  1. Brilliant! I bet he loves having this to play with.

    1. Thanks, yes great, but we haven't used it often due to the mess, but I had a tip today to use in the bathroom!

  2. Hi TechDad!

    I'm Alex, I work as an R&D Manager at Tobii's AAC group. I'm really excited about what you've done. Thanks for sharing with the AAC community. There are many kids out there who would absolutely love to play bubbles.

    It is so motivating for the Communicator team to see all the exciting and creative ideas people have on how to use it!

    Thank you,
    Ole Alexander Maehle
    Tobii Technology

    1. Thanks Ole,

      Got some other things to share soon which are cool. Well try and publish this side of Christmas.

      Also if you ever want a beta tester, just give me a shout.



  3. Hi, does the BJ toy control box do the same thing as the inclusive multiswitch box do you know?

    1. Hi Anne-Marie,

      Sorry, but I think they are different... I think you connect buttons to the multi switch to control the computer. But the bj controller and a button press message to toys.

      Hope that makes sense... If not I could draw a picture.