Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dynavox Eyemax.

This week we trialed the Dynavox Eyemax at Edda's school. This is the 2nd machine we've tried after the MyTobii a few weeks ago. The company that makes the Dynavox machine has long been the leader in augmentative communication devices and I was really hoping that Edda would be able to use the eye gaze effectively. You can see the cameras on the bottom of the device in the following photo - they are located in the little black bar...

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Edda had a really hard time calibrating her eye gaze with the camera. We tried a few times - different distances and different positions. It was not easy. Edda soon tired of the whole thing and:

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Edda's teacher and I both used her nap time to try and calibrate our own eyes and we found that it was even difficult for us to get calibrated. The eye gaze capability of this machine does not seem as robust as the MiTobii which seemed to have no problem with calibration. So comparing the two systems so far, the MyTobii is out ahead.

I'm not sure how likely the school system is going to pay for these systems - at $17K each, it's a large expense for any cash-strapped school system. We need to show that Edda has functional use of the machine, that she can answer questions or categorize things and at both of these eye-gaze trials, she failed to show either ability although I acknowledge it is like trying to play the piano without lessons and practicing.

6 comments:

Laura said...

Are you going to try any others? We're just thinking of looking into some for Violet. Let me know what you find out...

The MacDonald Family said...

WE had a REALLY hard time calibrating the Dynavox - actually we never actually did calibrate it. But eye gaze computers are amazing. We really liked the Tobii - awesome machine but we ended up getting the ECO2 by PRC - That was the easiest for Annie to calibrate and use. Good Luck! Keep us posted on how it goes!

Doris said...

I think there is only one left to try - the one that Annie has - the ECO2 by PRC. I think they might be the hardest one to pin down - I heard they might no have a rep in the area (which I can't really believe...).

Anonymous said...

Natasha didnt know how to use it when we just got our Dynavox V, now after one year, she can starts making sentance and talk to us.
It take time.........
Keep trying.

Monica (from singapore)
ps: I think we are the only one in Singapore who have Dynavox :-) thanks to our insurance!

K said...

The Dynavox is much harder to calibrate than the Tobii. The Tobii and the PRC use the same eye tracking system, literally made by the same people using the same specs. Thus between the Tobii and the PRC is should be about the language system. The goal of the eval should be to communicate, and answering questions and categorizing aren't communicating - don't ever let the school tell you that they are! I would consider making hard copy printouts of your favorite system and pointing to the pictures yourself, with your finger, as you talk - thus modeling what the pictures mean and how communication can happen with pictures. In addition try to teach the same pictures and layout using low technology methods, i.e. eye pointing to symbols glued on a mat board used in framing art work. This kind of pre-teaching can make a huge difference. Remember the dwell time on these devices is generally under 2 seconds, so don't insist on a 5 second hold using low tech. Good luck!

Ramona said...

This is fantastic!