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Symbol Surfing: Controlling my computer using symbols

  • Nick Weldin
  • Mary Newman

We have been looking at ways for people with profound learning difficulties to use and control computers without using the keyboard or mouse. Exploratory action research with people has led us to develop ways to use symbols to initiate actions on computers.

The system uses free open source software and a low cost web cam to enable someone to use printed symbols that  they recognise in combination with ones that the computer recognises to make things happen. Through this process we have developed a few example uses that we have tried with a number of people locally that we believe could be of use in the wider AAC community.

We will describe what we have been doing, demonstrate how the system works, what is needed to set it up, and invite opinions and ideas for further development.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages
Topic of interest to people who use AAC
Further/Higher Education