Friday Announcements – 11 June 2021

1. Liberator’s Three Peaks Challenge for CM
2. Predictable and Eyetracking!
3. Ace Centre Courses
4. New Product Announcement from Pretorian – Game On 1 – Game On by Pretorian Technologies
5. Brand-new Disney+ Accessible App for Grid 3
6. Newly Founded: DATEurope, the European Industry Association for Digital Assistive Technology
7. ISAAC International Online Chat for AAC Users in the UK
8. Freelance Artist/Illustrator required for Animation Project
9. The Earswitch – Research into a New Switch Access Method
10. Vacancy – Assistive Technology Consultant – Access: Technology

News from Communication Matters:
11. NEW Call for Nominations for Trustees
12. NEW CM AAC User Focus Group – Next Meeting 23rd June
13. CM2021 International AAC Conference – Registration Now Open!
14. CM2021 Great Book Draw
15. About Friday Announcements


1. Liberator’s Three Peaks Challenge for CM

From Mick Davies, Liberator Ltd:

In celebration of our 30th Anniversary year, we have decided to challenge ourselves by hiking the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in September and have chosen to fundraise for Communication Matters in the process.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks route is 24 miles (38.6km) and includes 1585m (5200ft) of ascent.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge takes on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, usually in this order, and in under 12 hours. These peaks form part of the Pennine range, and encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

To donate to this great cause please visit our Just Giving page here –

We’d also appreciate it if you could share around colleagues that may not be subscribed to the Friday Announcements.


2. Predictable and Eyetracking!

From Gabrielle Flahault, Therapy Box Ltd:

Our team is really excited to announce that Predictable can finally be used with an external eye tracker. We recently integrated Hiru from Irisbond allowing our users to control Predictable and communicate using their eyes on their iPad!

What you need to know:

  • You will require the Hiru eye tracker (the first one compatible with iOS!)
  • This eye tracker needs to be connected to an iPad
  • You can calibrate it directly from the app settings
  • If you’re based in the UK, the eyetracking bundle, including an iPad Pro, and the eye tracker will soon be available on our website

If you have the Hiru eye tracker and you would like to test Predictable with it, please contact [email protected] and we will send you a test version of the app.

Watch the video to see how accurate it is:


3. Ace Centre Courses

From Jack Tallant, Ace Centre:

We now offer a range of courses. We deliver these through live webinars and offer extended access beyond the course. Check them out below:

Look2Talk (FREE) 22/06/2021:

You will learn:

  • To identify who Look2Talk would be suitable for and why.
  • How to use Look2Talk to teach encoded eye pointing as an access method for communication.

AAC Assessment Tools for children (£30) 06/07/2021:

You will learn:

  • To recognise factors to consider in an AAC assessment.
  • To identify assessment questions to ask.
  • To consider the importance of documenting observations accurately.
  • To evaluate tools to support AAC assessment.

Communication Partner Skills (FREE) 15/07/2021:

You will learn:

  • To describe typical characteristics of AAC interactions.
  • To identify 4 things that you can do to support an interaction with an AAC user.
  • To use point talking with a communication chart to interact with an AAC user.


4. New Product Announcement from Pretorian – Game On 1 – Game On by Pretorian Technologies

From John Stacey, Pretorian Technologies Ltd:

Game On 1 is the first in a range of exciting new gaming devices by Pretorian. It offers users of eye-gaze enabled AAC devices access to games via PC, Gaming PC or Xbox (via an Xbox Adaptive Controller) using eye-gaze, switch scanning, touch or pointer access.

Grid 3 from Smartbox provides a number of standard grid sets of varying complexity from very simple to the full gaming experience, allowing gaming either as an individual player or using Xbox Co-Pilot. Additionally, grid sets may be easily customised to suit an individual gamer’s exact needs, or even a particular game, and also shared with other members of the gaming community.

Game On 1 also allows you to control the different types of thumbstick, trigger, bumper and button actions, such as length of actions, double-taps, and rapid fire, to name a few of the options. These settings may be stored and recalled as up to six Profiles.

Up to four Game On 1 devices may be present in a particular setting, allowing for co-operative gaming or multi-player gaming tournaments.

Find out more, and order yours now, here –


5. Brand-new Disney+ Accessible App for Grid 3

From Natasha Roberts, Smartbox Assistive Technology Ltd:

Disney Plus has joined our range of accessible apps! AAC users can enjoy all their favourite Disney movies and shows using any access method, including switch, eye gaze, pointer and touch. This new grid set is included in Grid 3 for free – all you need is a Disney+ subscription.

Find out more here:


6. Newly Founded: DATEurope, the European Industry Association for Digital Assistive Technology

From Nadine Farris, DATEurope:

With a virtual Inaugural Meeting on January 14th, 2021, DATEurope started its activities as the new European Industry Association for Digital Assistive Technology. The vision is to enable access to digital assistive technology for all.

The association represents the DAT industry with its developers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers throughout Europe in the broadest geographical sense. The mission is to unite this specialised industry across Europe to influence legislation, awareness, sustainability, growth, and commerce.

The specific challenges in Europe include different languages, funding systems, cultures, import/export regulations, tax, and legislations.  These issues engaged more than 50 companies right from the beginning to join the association. More are following and will be registered within the first half of 2021.

DATEurope will work together with all stakeholders of digital assistive technology in Europe and around the globe. A strong network helps all DATEurope members to push the same goal: Best technology and service to increase quality of life of people with disabilities. Together they created and follow a Code of Conduct to ensure ethical growth of the sector.

DATEurope – European Industry Association for Digital Assistive Technology
Sumpfstrasse 28, 6312 Steinhausen, Switzerland
[email protected]


7. ISAAC International Online Chat for AAC Users in the UK

From Jamie Preece:

On Monday 14th June at 6pm I will be hosting an ISAAC online chat for AAC users in the UK.

The chat will be informal, and discussions are open.

We have two topics for your consideration in advance if you would like to contribute:

  1. Topic 1: We are starting to plan for AAC Awareness Month in October. We are looking for suggestions for a theme that people can plan activities around for the whole month. Suggestions would be collected and taken under consideration. The theme has to be something that can be easily translated into other languages.
  2. Topic 2: June 25th marks the deadline of the ISAAC Connect Short Film Festival. If you had to do a 5-minute video about your adventures with AAC, what would it focus on? Would you label it a comedy, drama, or a horror film?

If you would like to take part, please click here to join.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


8. Freelance Artist/Illustrator required for Animation Project

From Verity Elliott:

As part of our Mentoring Project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Communication Matters is looking for freelance artists/illustrators to help create short animations. We are currently working with an animator, and it would be good to have other styles of illustration included in some of our short videos.

For more information, please contact [email protected] or call 07891959048.


9. The Earswitch – Research into a New Switch Access Method

From Dr Rich Stevenson, University of Bath:

Dr Nick Gompertz, a GP in Somerset, UK has developed some early-stage proof that his technology, the Earswitch, can be used to control an assistive keyboard with the hope that this could be developed into a new switch access method for AAC users.

The Earswitch uses a small camera (otoscope) to detect movement of a tiny muscle in the ear. They have demonstrated that this muscle, called the tensor tympani muscle, can be voluntarily moved and effectively used to control a virtual on-screen keyboard to communicate.

In order to develop this technology further, Dr Gompertz has teamed up with researchers at the University of Bath and have been awarded funding from the National Institute for Health Research to learn more about how the technology could be developed and used more widely for AAC communication.

However, the researchers don’t currently know how many people with neurological conditions can voluntarily flex this small ear muscle. As part of the research, they need to survey 2000 people with neurological conditions (or through their carers). If you have a neurological condition, please could you help develop this potentially ground-breaking technology by completing the following short survey:

Further information here:


10. Vacancy – Assistive Technology Consultant – Access: Technology

From Tom Sterling, Access Technology North Ltd:

WE’RE HIRING! We’re pleased to announce an additional Assistive Technology Consultant position is now available. If you’d like to #domorewithtechnology and have a passion for working with people, then check out the job description and apply here:


Email: [email protected]


11. NEW Call for Nominations for Trustees

The time has come again to request nominations for Trustees for the next term in the life of Communication Matters. This is a role which demands stamina, commitment and skill mixing but which can be very stimulating and enlightening!

This year there are a handful of vacant places to be filled and the opportunity of appointing a further three Co-opted Trustees as appropriate.

The announcement of voted Trustees will take place at the Annual Meeting on Monday 13 September 2021 as part of the virtual Communication Matters International AAC Conference.

For more information and to download a nomination form please go to:

Completed nomination forms must reach us by Friday 23rd July.


12. NEW CM AAC User Focus Group – Next Meeting 23rd June

The group acts as a focus group for Communication Matters and is a vehicle to hear the views of AAC users on CM and its activities and actions. This group is also undertaking some work on behalf of CM led by AAC users, for example, fundraising activities. This group is more suited for older AAC users.

Please contact [email protected] if you would like to join the next meeting of the AAC User Focus Group. This is being held on Wednesday 23rd June from 4-5pm.


13. CM2021 International AAC Conference – Registration Now Open!

The Communication Matters International AAC Conference will take place virtually from Monday 13th – Friday 17th September 2021.

Over the course of five half days online, participants will enjoy a diverse programme of keynotes, plenaries, presentations, posters and talks from AAC supplier companies. Many presentations will also be made available to delegates to watch in their own time after the conference week has ended.

The conference provides a unique forum to meet and exchange information with representatives from all disciplines associated with AAC, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants, professionals, and suppliers of AAC equipment. Communication Matters encourages and supports AAC users to attend.

We are aiming to welcome over 400 attendees to the conference, which will include 80+ presentations, social events and more.

This year’s conference theme is CM2021 – Making Connections! We know we can’t meet up in person, but we don’t want that to stop us from networking and socialising together virtually and there will be plenty of opportunities to connect this year at #CM2021conf.

Registration is now open! So don’t delay and book your place today by going to our conference website now.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].


14. CM2021 Great Book Draw

Wanted: Recently Published Books

Are you the author of a recently published (or about to be published) book that addresses any aspect of AAC, either fiction or non-fiction?

Would you like to have an image and description of your book included on the Communication Matters Conference website?

Why not donate a copy to the CM2021 Great Book Draw? Approximately 450 delegates will have the opportunity to sign up for the Great Book Draw which will be held during the virtual International AAC Conference from 13-17 September 2021.

If you are interested, please email [email protected].

15. About Friday Announcements

These ‘Friday Announcements’ comprise weekly product updates, upcoming courses and supplier news. Please email [email protected] with the item you want to be included by Thursday at 5pm – no more than 200 words (one entry per organisation per week) – and include contact email and/or link so readers can find out further information – no file attachments please. Communication Matters will review, collate and post suitable submissions.