AT news: iPad accessibility updates

New iPad device controls through eye movement

AT news: cool new device makes iPad more accessible

Apple teamed up with assistive technology experts Tobii Dynavox to create a new device that makes it possible for people with disabilities to use their iPads with eye movements.

The new device is called the TD Pilot. It’s a certified third-party accessory that snugly attaches to iPads (up to the iPad Pro 12.9 inch). It looks like an iPad case, but offers large speakers, extended battery and a wheelchair mount. It’s also water and dust resistant.

Once installed, it allows users to utilize Tobii Dynavox’s eye-tracking software to use apps and communication software with eye movements. Users can access everything on their iPad. This includes social media, games, entertainment and more. The software so powerful, it can be used outdoors. Even in bright sunlight.

The device also comes with TD Talk and TD Snap. The former is an eye-controlled app that generates speech. The latter allows users to select and use symbols to communicate. And there’s a partner window on the backside of the device. It displays words written out using the eye gaze technology. This allows others in a conversation to see the words the TD Pilot user is typing. The goal is to create more natural face-to-face conversations.

While the device is so new, availability and costs depend on where you live. It is a medically certified device so it can be prescribed by a specialist. It may also be covered by insurance. Again, this depends on where you live and your insurance provider. 

The device is not the first of its kind to hit the market – Tobii has been working with Windows to produce assistive devices for years. It does mark a big step forward in accessibility for Apple products. It’s also great to see another tech solution that empowers people with disabilities to live more independently.