Mobility / Switches
Make your own soft flap switch
These instructions are for the creation of any single switch seen here or if you want to design your own.
This simple to make flap switch is durable and soft to the touch. It works with all standard devices with a 1/4" input. Because it is soft, it can be used on any part of the body and is also safe for (closely supervised) use with individuals who throw or smack switches. It can be adjusted to the desired level of pressure by providing more or less bulk under the switch when putting it together.
Based on the same design, this hand-held switch made from a coin purse allows for very sensitive grip activation. Because the switch is not round like most grip switches, it allows for very slight fingertip movement to activate it, rather than the need for the lower digits of the finger to flex. Depending on what part of the individual's hand is moving, this has proven to be more effective for some individuals. A strap can also be sewed onto the back for individuals who tend to drop switches or have sudden arm movement resulting from signal confusion. Alternatively the design to the right, which appears later on this page, also provides different options for positioning depending on how it is gripped.
BBQ Tong Grip Switch
The BBQ tong switch is another grip switch that is designed to increase the circumference of the grip area so an individual doesn’t need to close their hand as tightly as a typical grip switch. Although the switch may appear bulky for some cases, the extension of the handles often acts as a good way to support the switch in a comfortable position such as off the side of a desk, tucked under an individual's arm or laying across the individual's chest. The handles of the switch open up many possibilities for positioning (I have used 7 positions) and different ways of activating as shown below.
I have created switches to access devices but also to encourage the development of certain types of movement. The following examples show various kinds of switches that were used for a variety of purposes and helped with everything from pinching skills to hand eye coordination with a rewarding and motivating outcome.
Inexpensive grip switches.
These had a small ring of tact switches wired together so any one of them could trigger a connection. This allowed them to be held in any rotation in the hand.
Sewing machine adapted foot switch.
This switch took quite a bit more pressure to activate so it allowed the individual to rest their foot on it and stretch to activate it. Note that variable speed switches may not work well for this. This switch only has an on and off state.
Free floating index finger switch.
The button on this switch was designed to require a little more accuracy with the index finger. The button is an arcade machine trigger.
Index and thumb squeeze switch.
This switch has the secondary benefit of being in latch mode by default and I have used it both for pinching skills and also for access purposes.