Assistive technologies are more important now than ever. With overwhelming amounts of hardware and software innovations being created each year – like smart TVs, home appliances, lights, thermostats and more – one missing piece of the puzzle has been how those who may have difficulty interacting with them can overcome that challenge and benefit from using them. As a part of International Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness Month, Google Assistant is gaining support for integration with Tobii Dynavox’s devices and applications in order to bolster their capabilities towards smart home device interaction.
With this update, Tobii Dynavox Snap Core First software, which runs on hardware like the I-Series, I-110 and Indi screens as well as on their mobile apps, will now have the ability to customize tiles to include Assistant actions. Some examples include the ability to turn lights on and off or to change the temperature on a thermostat with a simple touch or eye gaze. Basically, any device you can set up in the Google Home app for Android and iOS can now be manipulated through Tobii Dynavox’s software! Not only that, but the new Assistant integration will also allow users of these assistive screens to get answers from Google about anything like the weather or upcoming events.
Getting set up with the Assistant on Tobii Dynavox’s screens is easy. All that’s needed is a Google account and a smart speaker or display like the Nest mini or Nest hub. Lastly, those interested will need to grab the Google Home app for Android or iOS. The tech giant also rolled out what is called ‘Action Blocks’ in May which can also be integrated here. Tens of thousands of Picture Communication Symbols can now be used to create Action Block buttons!
Action Blocks make it easier for people who have a cognitive disability to use Android phones and tablets with the help of Google Assistant by introducing customizable buttons on their home screens that can complete actions like calling a parent, turning on the lights, or watching a favorite show with one tap.The Keyword
Google has compiled a playlist on Youtube highlighting their accessibility features for Assistant and compatible hardware. From what I’ve seen over the years, each time they create a piece of hardware or software, they’re laser-focused on making sure no one is left behind by putting accessibility first. They actually have a bunch of accessibility features and apps across their ecosystem and I encourage you to see how you can get involved in shaping the future of such efforts. I frequently use their Be My Eyes app to help blind and low-vision users get help with everyday tasks. It’s revolutionary and useful, so give it a try!