Whereas the majority of able-bodied individuals find it relatively easy to use computers, tablets, or smart phones, the same cannot be said for individuals with upper-body mobility problems. This is precisely the reason that Komodo OpenLab, a company based in the Canadian city of Toronto, decided to develop the device originally known as the Tecla. The company has now launched the new and enhanced Tecla-e, a device that allows users to control a maximum of eight devices at the same time.
The device provides you with hands-free access to a wide range of activities, whether you wish to send and receive text messages or emails, watch videos, browse the internet, read a book, open your favorite apps, make a phone call, or even adjust the room temperature. Tecla-e can connect to other assistive appliances like sip-and-puff switches, wheelchair driving controls or proximity switches where users are allowed to input commands, and the device comes it its own integrated light-touch button control. Bluetooth technology is then applied to transmit the command signals to a computer or Android and iOS mobile devices, where a variety of functions such as scrolling, typing and selecting can be performed.
In addition—and in contrast to the original Tecla device—Tecla-e is cloud-connected and can be used to remotely control appliances that comprise what is called the Internet of Things, such as lights, powered doors, TVs and so on. Anything that is able to interface with the IFTTT (If This Then That) service can be activated and programmed in a number of smart ways, provided they are sharing the same Wi-Fi network. The IFTTT is a free web-based automation service that lets users link various gadgets and internet services together using applets via the Logitech harmony hub.
Tecla-e can be used together with the driving control of a wheelchair that is fitted with An Input/output Module (IOM) or Environmental Control Unit (ECU). IOM is a wheelchair add-on that lets users control external devices. The device also lets users hook up two single or dual-ability switches using a 3.5millimeter connector. Examples of such switches include sip-and-puff switches, buddy buttons and jelly bean switches.
The device has on-board GPS, light, temperature, and motion sensors that can be configured to let other persons like family members of the user to monitor their position, activity level, and the surrounding temperature of the location. The device's cloud cellular connection is able to report its status after every twenty minutes.
The information collected by the sensors is then uploaded to the cloud and can be retrieved using Tecla apps for Android and iOS. The information can be shared to the user's caregiver or family members who also have the app.
Once it is fully charged, the battery of the device can last for 48 hours when used continuously.
Potential buyers of Tecla-e will soon be able to pre-order, and it will start shipping in July 2017. The pre-order price of the device will be US $399. But when the pre-order period ends, the device will be sold at $499.