Build an inexpensive Bluetooth device to give a disabled user access to their iPad or iPhone!
The touchscreen interface of modern smart phones and tablets is probably the easiest and most intuitive interface to a computing device that has ever been invented. However if you have a physical disability that prohibits you from operating a touchscreen, a world of useful applications that is at the fingertips of most people may be impossible for you to use.
All is not lost because of a special feature built into the iOS operating system that allows you almost complete access to all of the device’s capabilities via a feature called “switch control”. If you can operate at least one switch, it can be connected to a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device and you can scan through rows and columns of icons and select the application you want to run. Once inside the app you can tap anywhere on the screen, scan through options to be selected, or type a message. The YouTube video below demonstrates how switch control works. This video was created on an iPad Mini 2 using the techniques described in this tutorial. It will work on any device running iOS 9 or greater.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.