A switch is required to interface with ACAT. Finding the right switch to work for your needs can make a big difference. There are many to choose from. We have information about many switch options, and even a custom alternative. 

Built in Switches

ACAT is ready to use right out of the box. The “F12” can be used as a switch but there is also the ACAT Vision switch. If you choose this during login you can use your computers camera as a switch. Please see the documentation on how to setup and use this switch, it can be very sensitive.

ACAT Vision

ACAT Vision which is the vision component of ACAT uses the webcam to track the user's face and to detect facial gestures (cheek twitch and/or eyebrow raise). The detected gestures are then used as triggers to actuate the UI. ACAT Vision supports cheek twitch and eyebrow raise gestures. Only cheek twitch is enabled by default. To use eyebrow raise, or to map gestures to ACAT command shortcuts, refer to either ACAT FAQ or to the "Configure Actuators" section in the ACAT User Guide.

Off-The-Shelf Switches/Buttons

Here are some switches you can buy today that will control ACAT. Some of these switches will need an extra "switch box". Links to these box's can be found below in the next section. 

  1. A range of mechanical switches from Ablenet.
  2. Switches from Talk To Me Technologies
  3. Candy Corn Proximity Sensor, with an activation distance of 0.5-1.0 cm from the surface of the sensor
  4. Specs switch from Ablenet featuring a 1.4-in/3.5-cm activation surface that provides an auditory click and tactile feedback
  5. Honeybee Proximity Sensor, which senses the proximity of a hand, finger, head or nearly any object. Sensing range is adjustable from physical touch to proximity of 14 cm.
  6. Bluetooth switch from Ablenet. This one doesn't need a switch box as it connects via Bluetooth. It can be configured to send an F12 key whenever the switch is activated. Has two switches. One of them can be used as the primary switch to trigger ACAT by mapping it to F12. The other switch can be mapped to one of the ACAT commands. Instructions to configure the switches can be found here.
  7. Foot pedal switch. This switch plugs directly into the USB port of the host computer and does not require a switch box.
  8. Imperium Sip And Puff switch which is activated with either a "sip" or "puff" of the lips with the included small mouth piece
  9. Chin switch which can be activated by movement of the head. It can be positioned anywhere around the neck with plastic tubing that can be cut to fit - just like a custom necklace
  10. A tube-shaped Grasp switch which can be activated with a squeeze or a pinch.

For information about switch boxes read next section.

Switch Boxes

Switch Boxes are required for Off-The-Shelf Switches. Some switches directly plug into the USB port of the host computer, and others plug into a switch box typically with a 3.5mm jack and the switch box plugs into the USB port of the host computer.

  1. X-keys USB switch interface with six dual inputs
  2. Hitch 2.0 USB switch interface with five switch inputs
  3. ATEC USB switch interface with five inputs

If the switch box supports multiple switches, they can be individually mapped to different ACAT commands for richer multi-modal interactions. Refer to ACAT FAQ for details.

Custom switches

The Assistive Context Aware Toolkit (ACAT) supports a variety of sensors including ACAT Vision (camera based sensor) and most commercially available “off-the-shelf” sensors. However, for some users, using the camera based sensor may not be feasible due to their condition and the commercially available sensors may be too expensive. To bridge this gap, Intel Labs has developed an Arduino based proximity sensor solution that is also open source. If the potential ACAT user has financial constraints that prevent them from purchasing "off-the-shelf" sensors and has someone with minimal technical experience to help set up the Arduino proximity sensor, then this system may be the best solution for them. Additionally, the system is open source so developers can build on top of the system by adding new sensors, features, algorithms, etc. The

VCNL4010 proximity sensor used in the system best operates by detecting movements close to the sensor (within ~4cm). Some examples of ideal movements that could be detected by the sensor include: hand / finger movements, facial movements, and leg / foot movements. Set up of the sensor requires some soldering (about a couple minutes), finding someone that already knows how to do so is recommended. The sensor has holes for screws so it is flexible in terms of mounting options. You can find all the details here.