There’s an assistive technology revolution underway that’s radically different from the rest. Already this decade we’ve seen a happy collision of mainstream consumer and disability tech that makes it hard to remember where we’ve been (speech-to-text once cost how much? Word prediction was AT only?) This time, however, the revolution is not about commercial products with AT potential (iPad!) or AT marketed to a mass audience (Amazon Echo!) In fact, this revolution has little to do with industry; it’s about geeks looking for projects that matter and people with disabilities empowering their inner geek.
Adafruit, an open-source maker electronics company, has even plugged AT making on their weekly YouTube show (Ask an Engineer). “When we started doing this Adafruit stuff,” Phil Torrone says, “we didn’t set out to do assistive technology. But, boy, it sure is working out.” Torrone advises his audience, “There’ll be people that you can potentially change their life. That’s a big deal. Not every hobby has that.”
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.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
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