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By Sally Millar on Monday 22nd August, 2011 at 3:10pm
CALL has recently added the Tobii C12 and the Tobii C15 communication aids to its equipment loan bank. These are both high-end, fully featured PC Windows 7 based communication aids, that can be controlled in many ways, including the built-in touch screen, keyboard, mouse, headmouse, switches, joystick, or the optional eye gaze control unit, the Tobii CEye which slots on to the bottom of the device.
The C12 and the C15 are essentially the same, except for size. The C12 has a 12.1” touch screen and weighs 6.5lbs. (2.9 Kgs), while the C15 is larger, with a 15” touch screen and weighing 8.9lbs (4 Kgs). Both are mountable on a table or wheelchair mount, rather than portable (N.B. adding the eye gaze control unit increases the weight further and means that the device must be mounted – cant use the integrated stand.)
Both devices come with Tobiis own communication aid software installed (Tobii Communicator with Symbol Stix symbols), and the possibility of using the Tobii Sono Suite (for text and computer access). However, CALL has also installed The Grid 2 software, which is more familiar to many users (and has Widgit symbols built-in). PCS symbols can be added. Users can choose which software they prefer to use for personal communication via symbols and/or text. Either software gives access to e-mail, text messaging and chat, internet access and access to other computer applications. CALL has added the Scottish Voices, Heather and Stuart, to both devices.
These devices seem to be proving popular across the AAC community. The Tobii hardware offers: long-lasting hot swappable batteries; powerful processor (Intel Core Duo U2500); shock-mounted hard disk drive (60 GB); silent operation; 4 powerful stereo speakers; and a built-in camera. Infra-red environmental control facilities are also built in. The OS appears to be stable. The devices have a streamlined look, with a moisture-sealed surface, and no buttons on the front to distract the user. There are interchangeable side panels in different colours (though – small gripe – these dont seem to fit too well, on our C15.)
The C15 might be a replacement for the original My Tobii P10 eye gaze computer, (no longer made) in that the large 15” screen area allows display of more symbols and text - or larger, more legible symbols that are easier to see and select. The large screen also provides more screen estate for running other Windows applications.
(But if you only want to run Windows applications, and dont want a communication aid, the other P10 replacement you might want to look at is the PC Eye - which CALL has also just bought for the loan bank – see separate CALL Blog item, coming soon!)
The C12 is comparable in size & weight to its nearest AAC competitor, the DynaVox V Max + (which also allows attachment of an eye gaze unit) but for d irect access users, the C12 is significantly bigger and heavier than the DynaVox Maestro or the Vantage Lite.
If a user can access the smaller device, the C12, successfully, it is obviously desirable to have the most compact device possible, and also means the users face is not as blocked off from communication partners, as it might be by a big device (better for wheelchair driving, too).
As with all CALLs comp lex communication aids, these devices will be available on loan to CALL assess ment clients (as a priority) and to others who have undergone training in their use. However, these devices are on restricted loan in that they will be being used a lot by CALL for assessment, and for demonstrations and training, so not available to people who might just want to have a look. (NB. The CEye eye gaze control unit is a separate equipment item, and CALL only has one of these, so it can only be attached to the C12 or the C15 at any given time, not both.)