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PICList Thread
'Rotary 'Keyboard' for Handicapped use'
1997\02\12@071058 by Stephen H Alsop

picon face
I hope that someone on the PIC list can help me to help someone else.  I
design units (using PICs) to try and assist handicapped people in a
Sheltered Workshop environment.

BACKGROUND
One person has severe muscular dystrophy - his muscles have completely
wasted away.  He now cannot walk, move his arms or sit up.  It really is
sad and upsetting to see him.  The only thing he can do is to watch TV or
try to use a computer.  Unfortunately he cannot move his arms properly in
order to fully operate a mouse or the keyboard.  He can just move his
fingers.

I am therefore trying to use a small rotary encoder connect to a PIC, to
send ASCII characters to his PC's com port.  I have sorted out the PIC side
and can read the rotary encoder and send out ASCII ok.

However, I need to write a PC utility which needs to read the PC's serial
port and display the received character on a small window on the PC (always
in front).  It is not useful to display the ACSII character on a separate
LCD connected to the PIC as this would require him to move his head
unnecessarily - hence the reason for displaying the character on the PC.

When this PC utility receives, eg $03 ASCII (which will be sent when he
presses a big button connected to the PIC) it is to drop the current
character displayed in the small PC window into the PC keyboard buffer.  If
he was in a word processor that character should then be picked out of the
keyboard buffer and dropped into his document.


I therefore need software source (so that it can be modified) or guidance
on how
to write a PC utility for Windows 95 to:

- Create a small resizable window always in front.
- To always run even in the background.
- To keep looking and receiving data from a com port
 (which is user selectable)
- To display the received char in the window (font and size selectable).
- When ASCII $03 (or another special char, which is user selectable) is
 received, to drop the last ASCII character, as currently displayed in the
 small window, into the keyboard keyin buffer.
- To signal to the PC low level keyin routines that a 'keyboard' key press
 has occurred and the character is in the buffer.
- The other standard program should then pick up the character and use it
 as normal, thus dropping it into the document being written.

I have done the PIC program OK.

I really need help with the PC side as I simply have not got a clue. ( I
have just bought Borland Delphi for the PC and I am struggling as I have
never programmed a PC before - I have only used Macintosh).

I would like to help this unfortunate person hence my request to the LIST
for assistance, even though the PIC side has been done.

Many thanks

----- from Stephen H Alsop, JP at -----
email: spam_OUTs.ssystemsTakeThisOuTspameasynet.co.uk
www  : http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~s.ssystems
S&S Systems Ltd, Bretton Court, Manor Road
Wales Village, Sheffield, S31 8PD, England.
Tel: 01909 773399 * Fax: 01909 773645 * Mobile: 0973 305527

1997\02\12@074038 by Stephen H Alsop

picon face
:
: I hope that someone on the PIC list can help me to help someone else.  I
: design units (using PICs) to try and assist handicapped people in a
: Sheltered Workshop environment.
:
: BACKGROUND
: One person has severe muscular dystrophy - his muscles have completely
: wasted away.  He now cannot walk, move his arms or sit up.  It really is
: sad and upsetting to see him.  The only thing he can do is to watch TV or
: try to use a computer.  Unfortunately he cannot move his arms properly in
: order to fully operate a mouse or the keyboard.  He can just move his
: fingers.
:
: I am therefore trying to use a small rotary encoder connect to a PIC, to
: send ASCII characters to his PC's com port.  I have sorted out the PIC
side
: and can read the rotary encoder and send out ASCII ok.
:
: However, I need to write a PC utility which needs to read the PC's serial
: port and display the received character on a small window on the PC
(always
: in front).  It is not useful to display the ACSII character on a separate
: LCD connected to the PIC as this would require him to move his head
: unnecessarily - hence the reason for displaying the character on the PC.
:
: When this PC utility receives, eg $03 ASCII (which will be sent when he
: presses a big button connected to the PIC) it is to drop the current
: character displayed in the small PC window into the PC keyboard buffer.
If
: he was in a word processor that character should then be picked out of
the
: keyboard buffer and dropped into his document.
:
:
: I therefore need software source (so that it can be modified) or guidance
: on how
: to write a PC utility for Windows 95 to:
:
: - Create a small resizable window always in front.
: - To always run even in the background.
: - To keep looking and receiving data from a com port
:   (which is user selectable)
: - To display the received char in the window (font and size selectable).
: - When ASCII $03 (or another special char, which is user selectable) is
:   received, to drop the last ASCII character, as currently displayed in
the
:   small window, into the keyboard keyin buffer.
: - To signal to the PC low level keyin routines that a 'keyboard' key
press
:   has occurred and the character is in the buffer.
: - The other standard program should then pick up the character and use it
:   as normal, thus dropping it into the document being written.
:
: I have done the PIC program OK.
:
: I really need help with the PC side as I simply have not got a clue. ( I
: have just bought Borland Delphi for the PC and I am struggling as I have
: never programmed a PC before - I have only used Macintosh).
:
: I would like to help this unfortunate person hence my request to the LIST
: for assistance, even though the PIC side has been done.
:
: Many thanks
:
: ----- from Stephen H Alsop, JP at -----
: email: .....s.ssystemsKILLspamspam@spam@easynet.co.uk
: www  : http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~s.ssystems
: S&S Systems Ltd, Bretton Court, Manor Road
: Wales Village, Sheffield, S31 8PD, England.
: Tel: 01909 773399 * Fax: 01909 773645 * Mobile: 0973 305527
:

1997\02\12@091707 by Shawn Ellis

flavicon
face
> However, I need to write a PC utility which needs to read the PC's serial
> port and display the received character on a small window on the PC
(always

Well, delphi seems like a good place to start except that your not going to
have the low-level access to actually place the character in the keyboard
buffer unless you write a DLL and/or .ASM driver.  However, a quick/dirty
way of doing this might be to use 2 serial ports, and spit the character
bakc out of the PC (using .com drivers built into Delphi) and into the PC's
now empty Keyboard port (Just a serial port in itself).  But I think you
should be able to use it as it is and spit the character back at the PIC's
serial port, then have the PIC bit-bang it into the PC's Keyboard port.
Protocol for the PC's keyboard port may not even have to be learned if you
get the right adapter--- (RS232 ---> keyboard, IO ---> keyboard, etc....)

1997\02\12@095755 by efoc

flavicon
face
Stephen H Alsop wrote:
>
> I hope that someone on the PIC list can help me to help someone else.  I
> design units (using PICs) to try and assist handicapped people in a
> Sheltered Workshop environment.
> Huge Great Snip

       OK Steve following our telephone conversation I have also enlisted the
help of a fellow programmer of mine called Phill Cozens who will be
emailing you also.
       Now as I said on the telephone the method of getting a char from the
com port and placing it into the keyboard buffer is quite simple.
       The big problem you will face is that what ever application cas the
current focus will be the one to process it.
       This can also be worked around by getting the instance of all running
applications and selecting the one of interest and sending the
WM_KEYDOWN message to that window.
       I will put together a rough prototype over the next few days and get it
to you. just to confirm the protocols will be 9600,8,n,1 (with no H/W
handshaking) the "commit" char will be ASC 03.


Cheeers Peter.........


==================================
= New Ideas come from those who  =
= didn't know it wasn't possible =
==================================

1997\02\12@102137 by Bob Segrest

picon face
What you are describing sounds an awful lot like a mouse or trackball.  Is
there some reason that you are not using a miniature trackball ???

If you want to "replace" the keyboard with your PIC based device, you could
have it emulate a keyboard (send out scan codes when the big button is
pushed) and just plug it into the keyboard port on your PC.  If there is a
requirement for limited eye movement, I would consider simply mounting a
small LCD display on the edge of the monitor with velcro.  The advantage of
this approach is that the pseudo keyboard device would work with almost any
PC or PC application...

Bob Segrest

At 09:11 AM 2/12/97 -0500, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

1997\02\12@160559 by mike

flavicon
picon face
In message  <3.0.32.19970212101645.006a3e30spamKILLspampop.erols.com>> .....PICLISTKILLspamspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU writes:
[snip]
> If you want to "replace" the keyboard with your PIC based device, you could
> have it emulate a keyboard (send out scan codes when the big button is
> pushed) and just plug it into the keyboard port on your PC.

Bob,

I think the problem here is that as the potential user has limited
control over his hands and fingers, he needs to be able to see
which character will be sent to the keybaord buffer before it is
sent. Other wise he will have a lot of back-spacing to do.

Regards,


Mike Watson

1997\02\12@171206 by Martin McCormick
flavicon
face
       I can only give you ideas on part of the problem you are trying to
solve.  Several people have written routines to allow one to put a PIC
in the electrical path between the keyboard and the P.C.  The PIC can then
exercise the keyboard data lines to fake key presses.  Another factor you will
need to think of when trying to stuff the keyboard buffer is that there are
two characters that get stuffed.  One is a byte called a scan code and the
other, supplied by the operating system, is the character.  Different
keyboards such as the 83-key type or the AT-style keyboard generate totally
different scan codes for the same keys so you will have to design your
system for the right style keyboard or even several styles.  You could
still use a com port for the letter preview function, but the actual sending
process to the buffer is probably easier if you can actually fake key strokes
to the keyboard input port.

Martin McCormick

1997\02\14@014618 by Richard Jackson

flavicon
face
Stephen H Alsop wrote:
{Quote hidden}

---  snip  ---
>
> I would like to help this unfortunate person hence my request to the LIST
> for assistance, even though the PIC side has been done.
>
> Many thanks
>

Win95 has in-built access features for people with disabilities.  On is the
ability to take ASCII from a serial
port and insert it into the keyboard stream.  I know this is not exactly what
you want as it would then need an
external display, but is an alternative if your project bogs down.

Another option is an on-screen keyboard such as WiViK.  This lets you use
switches (1 to 5) or a pointing
device(mouse, pad) to select functions via a scanning method, dwelling on the
key or clicking the mouse.  It is
not a cheap option (about AUD$1200-000 but is excellent.  I have worked with a
number of people with
disabilities using WiViK, in particular, one man with very advanced MND who used
a BBS for communication and
wrote a book using one finger.

Richard Jackson

Adelaide S. Aust

1997\02\14@050034 by Luis Fernandez

flavicon
face
Hello Stephen,

I'm actually working in a similar project. The person here is a girl (Maria)
and has similar muscular problems as you describe.

Some time ago I posted a message in EDESIGN mail list. Didn't want to make
it in the PICLIST because of the off-topic matter. I got a real bunch of
messages offering good ideas to make the interface and also a lot of very
useful URLs to have a look.

There are a few companys manufacturing computer interfaces for disables
people. They do also provide the Windows drivers and all the programs you
will need, so think is real worth to have a look around in the web and see
what's already in the market.

The most interesting sites are:

Cyberlink Mind Systems (Mind actuated mouse/tracker)
http://www.brainfingers.com

Office Systems
http://www.officesystems.com/ca_headpoint.html


Hope this helps. And thanks to the guys who answered my message in EDESIGN,
many of them are also here in the PICLIST.


Luis Fernandez Cormenzana
RadioBit Sistemas, S.L.
       Vehicle fleet control systems
       Patrol presence controllers

Fax/Tel:+34-6-585 64 57
e-mail: EraseMEradiobitspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTdragonet.es
http://www.dragonet.es/users/radiobit

1997\02\15@114910 by ciao

flavicon
face
Richard Jackson wrote:
>
>
> > BACKGROUND
> > One person has severe muscular dystrophy - his muscles have completely
> > wasted away.  He now cannot walk, move his arms or sit up.  It really is
> > sad and upsetting to see him.  The only thing he can do is to watch TV or
> > try to use a computer.  Unfortunately he cannot move his arms properly in
> > order to fully operate a mouse or the keyboard.  He can just move his
> > fingers.
> Another option is an on-screen keyboard such as WiViK.  This lets you use
>  switches (1 to 5) or a pointing
> device(mouse, pad) to select functions via a scanning method, dwelling on the
>  key or clicking the mouse.  It is
> not a cheap option (about AUD$1200-000 but is excellent.  I have worked with a
>  number of people with
> disabilities using WiViK, in particular, one man with very advanced MND who
used
>  a BBS for communication and
> wrote a book using one finger.
>
> Richard Jackson
>
> Adelaide S. Aust
I also have a friend that has big problems (because a broken neck): can
You indicate me a place where is possible to get more information about
those or similar devices .
Do know other ways to get information about such systems to let people
communicate with computer ???
thanks in advance!!!
gaspare

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