View Full Version : Music system for a disabled person?

2012-10-11, 18:54
I have an uncle with cerebral palsy. When he was young, the doctors told him he wouldn't live to 40. He celebrated his 80th birthday a few years ago. His mind is still sharp, and he loves music.

Today I was talking to my aunt and uncle about how much he loves music. They say he has stacks of CDs but the attendants at his nursing home won't put them on for him. He has very limited mobility and his speaking is not clear.

One of my cousins was wanting to get him something like an iPad but I don't think that will work for him because his mobility is so erratic. There's no way he could push the home button on an iPad and even if his voice was clear enough to use voice control you still have to be able to push the button. Just to give you an idea of his limitations... he can't operate the remote control for the TV anymore. He may be able to use something with voice control if the commands were simple and it didn't require a precise gesture to activate.

I thought I would ask you people if you had any ideas about a music system that might work for him. I'd be thrilled to rip his CD collection and set something up for him but I don't know what would work and be simple enough for him to control. I also don't think a networked system would work because he's in a nursing home.

Any ideas or leads?

(Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk. Please pardon any typos!)

2012-10-11, 19:59
I have virtually no experience with this, but I wonder if the XBox 360 and Kinect combination might be made to work for him. I don't own one but I know it has both voice and gesture control support. Might be too fussy/fiddly, and I don't even know if there's a good music browsing interface but I assume there must be.

Whatever the case, that's tough. Kudos to you for trying to give him some independence.

2012-10-11, 20:12
Sounds like fine motor skills are limited?

A switch enabled mp3 player is probably what you need. There are adapter(s) that interface with (older) iPods or dedicated switch players.

If a computer is the desired option then you could pair it with a darci switch box + switches + some morse code will give him basic access. The darci emulates a keyboard so if you teach him some morse he could play, pause skip, open, close etc any program that supports keyboard shortcuts.

I think the Apple music application in iOS has switch access but I don't know for sure. Ipeng supports Voice over, usually it then can also be accessed via switch.

My advice is to talk to an occupational therapist who works with this type of assistive tech- it will be worth it

2012-11-28, 09:04
I have exactly the same requirement. A blind man, although with perfectly good dexterity in one of his arms, would love to be able to play digital music. I've started looking at whether any of the apps which can control a squeezebox on an ipad or iphone (or Android) can themselves be controlled by voice activation. I can supply on line support if the chap gets into trouble.

But has anyone got any experience of such a thing working. Although voice activation is a gimic for the able bodied, it might really have a quality of life implication for this chap.

Any advice gratefully received.

2012-11-28, 09:16
I don't know about Android but on iOS there is no API for the voice activation (Siri) so Apps can't really support that as of today.

What iOS DOES have is VoiceOver which is a voice output with a changed (tactile) interface to be usable by blind people, it doesn't require hitting controls exactly and gives voice feedback when hitting something.

iPeng for iPhone fully supports this and is well tested by a number of pretty active blind beta testers and I would recommend to use it also on the iPad in this case. iPeng for iPad will also fully support it in the next version (it still has some edges in the current one) but I believe the iPhone version is easier to use without visibility due to it's deeper menu structure. It also gets pretty large control elements when scaled up on iPad.

2012-11-28, 10:49
It would be possible to control an iDevice via large movements picked up by the accelerometer - say a 1m left to right sweep to select perhaps, or an up/down movement to move forward or back and so on. The amount of movement can be detected and the interface could be 'tuned' according to the abilities of the user.

The problem of course is that you cannot simply create such an interface and integrate it with a player or other app - it has to be built in as a library at least, which means a lot of work.