In search of the Ubiquitous Mouthstick

November 18th, 2014

Mick (email on request) sent me this very pertinent email the other day about the un-ubiquitous nature of mouthsticks.

Lads is it just me or do we all use any given mouth-stick for a broad variety of tasks? I ask because I find that many of the solutions offered for a specific issue -in this case touch-barrier-only focus on that one use. And do not allow for the fact that mouthsticks are used as fingers. In fact I find most commercially available mouthsticks really flimsy and restrictive.
For instance, I want to be able to use the same mouthstick to turn pages, push switches, use phone or tablet, tv-remote, and who know what else on any given day. But I do not want to have to set down one stick and pick up a different one, or change heads just to carry out what may be a very breif or frequent task. (Obviously excepting painting or such) it’s just not practical. Try turning pages with these woven-wire tipped styluses,  or pushing small buttons? Is there a more holistic approach out there?

No Mick, it’s not just you. I use a mouthstick for everything. Typing and using the computer. Reading and turning pages, pushing and shuffling things around on my desk (with scant regard for my teeth.. and much angst by my dentist), operating my mobile phone, working the touchpad on (other’s) laptops when I fix them, etc etc.

A mouthstick is my hands and has to be multi-purpose and fit for such.

But you’re right. It’s a reality that the nature of most moutsticks adapted from touch screen stylus inherently have a very narrow focused purpose and therefore are less than ideal as the multi-purpose, multi-function apparatus we need from a ubiquitous mouthstick.

It’s another brick in the wall of what I’ve termed the Touch Barrier.

mouthstick close upSo it’s why my main stick is still my perspex rod with rubber thumblet one end and plastic tubing the other – as it fulfills the majority of what I do – and why I have a second stick that’s a modified metal stylus fo’r use on my mobile phone. It’s also the reason why I can’t use my phone from bed – one stick is hard enough, let alone trying to house, reach and use two, and why I tend not to buy touch screen devices.

I’m unsure whether the ubiquitous mouthstick has not yet surfaced because until now no-one seems to have raised the unspoken topic that Mick has or if a material that is both conductive and durable doesn’t exist from which to make one.

I’d be interested to hear of other’s experiences with juggling mouthsticks – please drop us a comment or an email.


Faraday Stylus’ new capacities program

November 8th, 2014

Just came across the iFaraday stylus via a blog post on ATMac. All their stylus’ look good and I’m impressed with their “new capacities” program which states

Our goal is to enable anyone who wants to use a capacitive touch screen device.  We have three working designs that enable folks to use a capacitive touch screen. If you don’t find something that fits your needs here, contact us to see if we can create something that works better for you.

The mouthstick variety looks fantastic and especially the fact you can order specific lengths but with the bonus of replaceable tips and I’ll be putting an order in soon for sure.

Faraday new capacities.



Shallow Angle Light Touch (SALT) Stylus


The Caduceus Serpentine Stylus


App for deaf people to ‘hear’ group conversations

November 4th, 2014

Smart, very smart use of technology to enhance lives.

Researchers have developed the first mobile app to make group conversations possible between deaf people and their hearing peers. The Transcense app “listens” and interprets conversations, providing real-time captioning on mobile devices.


Indiegogo campaign :

Transcence website :

via [New app lets deaf people ‘hear’ group conversations — RT News.]

Communicate Using Only Your Breath

September 18th, 2014

Huff post report on invention by 16yo Arsh Shah Dilbagi who has found a way to convert human breath into speech

via – 16-Year-Old Invents A New Way To Communicate — Using Only Your Breath.

Reader Writes – carbon fiber mouth stick fabrication needed

September 1st, 2014

I received the following comment on my post Reader Writes: Another alternative for a touch mouthstick from Aaron who is looking for help fabricating a mouthstick solution.

The aim of Lifekludger is to try and bring together people who make things (Makers) with people who need things (Livers).

I post it here in hope someone might be able to assist him.


I am a quadriplegic, and I had a very customizable mouth stick made for myself almost twenty years ago. The mouth stick has many easy exchangeable different types of attachments that are available to use. The attachment’s range from different paint brush tips, different angled and straight telescoping extensions, a ballpoint pen attachment, and many more.
The feature, and design that I especially want/need made the most is a tip attachment like the other tip attachment’s I have, but with a bigger hole that would allow a couple different Wacom Stylus’s to easily slide into the aluminum tip of the mouth stick that the paintbrush, ballpoint pen, and other accessory tips easily slide into! I have currently fashioned a really basic way for a couple of the Wacom stylus’s to be attached to the end of the mouth stick. That way I have been able to use touchscreen device’s like iPhone’s, iPad’s, touchpad’s on laptops, and other brand’s touchscreen phone’s and tablet’[s I have owned!
The mouth stick body is made from light weight aircraft aluminum. Unfortunately the custom sized mouthpiece was made from stainless steel which unfortunately ended up weighing more than the entire body, and attachments combined!
Due to the weight of the mouth stick my neck, and jaw start feeling fatigued, and painful after just an hour, or two of use! That is why I am looking for a carbon fiber fabricator, and have a friend who is a dentist who has helped me design a very comfortable Silicone mouthpiece that slips over the current mouth piece.
I would like to see if you could help me build a new all carbon fiber mouth stick based off the design of my current mouth stick? The new mouthpiece that my Dentist friend designed will not only provide incredible comfort, but will provide 100% protection from the carbon fiber I want the new mouth stick made from so it will be much lighter than my current mouth stick!
I can send picture’s to help you decide if you can help me with the carbon fiber mouth stick I need fabricated. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I live in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Best Regards,
Aaron Faust
(805) xxxx
[Number supplied, please contact admin]

Apple’s App Review Should Test Accessibility –

August 8th, 2014

Apple’s App Review Should Test Accessibility –

Marco has a great post outlining why Apple (among others) should require accessibility of an app before releasing it.

The closer to the design end of the development curve that accessibility is included, the better.

Poor or broken accessibility is exactly the sort of problem that Apple’s App Review team should check for: many developers forget to test it, it’s easy for Apple to quickly test when reviewing each app, and it’s easy to fix.

via Apple’s App Review Should Test Accessibility –

The Great Automatic Light Saga or How to control a WeMo light from your PC

June 17th, 2014
Summary: Control a lamp with a script on your PC via WiFi and a WeMo Switch

This is going to get a bit convoluted so try and stick with me.

I moved house the end of last year and, as happens every time, I left behind all the alterations and small tweaks I’d done to make my living environment accessible. One of these was the large light switches I’d had installed lower during a door modification to allow me access to turn the light on/off in my bedroom.

Now in my next (current) house I was determined not to spend effort and dollars in such modifications as light switches to be left behind at some future date. I reasoned why not instead spend money on devices I could take with me.

With that in mind I set about looking at how to turn on a light in my bedroom. When I say light I mean any light – anything that’d let me see on my terms, without having to call someone to do it. In this case a lamp plugged into a socket by my bed. I’ve got no access to a light switch in my bedroom so ideally I need to be able to turn the light on from my chair and/or while in bed.

The simple way I’ve found is to use off the shelf remote controlled power switches, the kind that plugs into a wall socket then you plug your device into that and you have a RF remote that controls that.


[picture of kind I use]

These work great. I use a few with the remote on my desk to turn a light on in my home office.

While in bed I use an over bed table that gives me access to a laptop and a few remote controls, for heater, TV etc. using a mouth-stick. However having another remote on my over bed table where I need to operate my bedroom light from is just no good. I’ve already got 3 there and I couldn’t reach another.

My thoughts turned toward the WeMo switch as a possible way of control, however all I knew was the WeMo uses an app on a mobile device. This meant it was out of the question as I’d need to have another, touch compatible mouth-stick for the phone and the phone itself, on my already cluttered space.

Ideally I needed control from my PC.

I then latched onto the idea of having a remote control app on a mobile device that was running the WeMo app and remote access from my PC to the mobile to then control the WeMo app and switch. The mobile would need to be in power somewhere all the time and that meant I couldn’t dedicate my iPhone to the task. I knew on iPhone I’d need to jailbreak it to install a remote control app. So I put out a message to my Facebook friends if someone had an old iPod touch or iPhone they could donate for me to experiment with. My friend Wol offered an old Android powered phone he had retired long ago. I managed to get remote control of it then set about trying to load the WeMo app. But no matter how I tried I couldn’t get the WeMo app loaded.

Then I got an email to Lifekludger from Chris over at Mobilezap asking if I’d be interested in reviewing something for the iPhone 5s or something else from the site. I checked them out and guess what they had? Yes, WeMo switches. I told Chris I didn’t own a iPhone 5s but I could make use of the WeMo! And he gladly sent one over.

[wemo switch and motion]

Now you’re most likely familiar with what the WeMo products from Belkin do.. they are basically WiFi connected switches and motion sensors that can be controlled via an app on your phone.

As I said earlier, the phone only control was something I’d need to kludge around but otherwise the WeMo units themselves are great.Unfortunately the WeMo units from Mobilezap had the UK style pinouts – odd – they came with one adaptor but a couple adapters later I had them up and running. Setup via the WeMo app is a snap.So now the WeMo switch was operational I set it to automatically switch on at about the time I go to bed and turn off each morning when it’s light. But that’s not where it ends. I sometimes needed to switch the light on/off at different times and given the limitations outline above I set about trying to see if there was anyone doing anything about a desktop/pc app for WeMo devices.At the risk of going down a rabbit hole here, I’d just like to make it known how I’m a bit tired of seeing how much everything is being written for app control from a mobile device and so often there is a very real need for the same app functionality on the desktop/notebook pc. There are real accessibility consequences of only providing for a single platform range – accessibility is about catering for aspects a person cannot change by providing options – no options equals limited accessibility. The continuous march toward “mobile only” – which, as it happens today more and more today equates to “touch only” – really has me concerned, mostly for this reason.

So, to my search on how to control the WeMo from the pc. I discovered that WeMo can interface with IFTTT and I set it up to be able to turn my light on/off by posting a status on my Facebook wall with a certain hashtag. This worked – much to the glee of a couple of my friends who thought it was neat turning my light on/off by copying what I was posting. I quickly turned that channel off and tried something more restricted – control via a hashtag from my twitter account. This proved a bit slow and flakey. So, while nifty fun, it wasn’t a real solution. If I woke up during the night and needed to turn my light on, I would’t be able to see the keyboard enough to type anyway.

I need a way to click something on my pc.

So seeking for a desktop/pc app I found a post on Hackaday on Turning the Belkin WeMo into a deathtrap which lead me to the WeMo forums and a post by cj2902 on some shell scripts he’d modified to control the WeMo and batch file he’d used to run those.

This was the breakthrough piece of the puzzle I’d been looking for.

I copied the script and after looking up the ip address of my WeMo switch ran it on my Mac terminal and viola.. it worked beautifully. So I set to making it work on my Win based laptop over my bed. I installed cygwin which gives a basic unix command shell to windows pcs and tried the script on there. After a bit of mucking around, caused mostly by a corrupt script when I created it, I had it working on the pc. I then created two batch files, one to turn light on, the other to turn it off, and put them on my desktop.

[image iof batch files on desktop]

Now all I need do is grab my mouth-stick and double click and the light responds as desired.

I’ve posted links here to the script and batch files for light on / light off I use.

My thanks to Wol, Chris at Mobilezap and cj2902.


Note re cygwin: Please refer to the pertinent comment by Chris below to install curl.


June 5th, 2014

DwellClick lets you use your Mac without clicking. You point, it clicks . DwellClick will drag for you. Point at windows and resize areas to auto-drag, and use the control panel  for anything else. Save thousands of clicks per day. Drag hands-free with total control.

What is dwell clicking?

Dwell clicking enables clickless operation of your computer. Just point with your mouse or trackpad, and DwellClick clicks for you.

Why use DwellClick?

By avoiding the repetitive clicking action, you protect your hands from the damage that can build up with long-term computer use.

DwellClick helps relieve RSI and it’s also great for anyone with difficulty a clicking physical mouse button, including head-tracker users.

DwellClick on Pilotmoon

Handsfree calling from your Mac via Dialogue

April 20th, 2014



I could use this, badly. Pity I don’t have the most up to date Mac OS [10.8+] that it needs…



Reader Writes: Another alternative for a touch mouthstick

April 13th, 2014

Overcoming the “touch barrier”

I received a message the other day from a reader … in ….

Michael writes:

Please see the attached [link for] pencil tops or stick tops – or whatever you’re having yourself – tops.

I have been using something similar from the same website for some time.  They are effectively novelty pencils, or novelty stylus pencils.  I am sure they are still  on the website somewhere .

I believe this is done by simply using carbonised rubber, and I carry the necessary small charge to mine because it’s mounted on an aluminium mouth stick.  The aluminium I use comes from twelve mil sport arrows.  Which I buy in my local sports shop.

It’s important that you choose aluminium and specify aluminium if looking for arrows, because others tend to be made of carbon fibre and will snap or crush if you attempt to shape them in any way.

Anyway I hope this link help somes people out, I haven’t tried these things myself – but the novelty stylus pencil that I use instead – it actually comes apart and I just used the outside skin – works fairly well.  Although it could be doing with being a bit finer point.

Keep it low tech.

Michael also makes a good point about the use of appropriate technology – his mantra fitting well with Lifekludger ideals :

And keep it low tech.  My mantra – repairable with chewing gum, tape, string and paper clips.  If it doesn’t answer the easily repairable checklist I use, it doesn’t get used.  Otherwise technology dictates how I  live, rather than aids and appliances facilitating how I want to live.

 HandsFree, a Mac app worth $4.99 in the Mac App Store, that uses your Mac as a…

April 11th, 2014

Reshared post from +David N Wallace

 HandsFree, a Mac app worth $4.99 in the Mac App Store, that uses your Mac as a handsfree device by routing the audio from your Android phone or iPhone to your Mac. (Needs OS X 10.9)*?

HandsFree Lets You Make & Receive Phone Calls On Your Mac
There are those who have resorted to using paid third-party apps to make calls from their PCs/Laptops and those who have purchased docking stations to avoi

Post imported by Google+Blog for WordPress.

The Selfie – Remote Switch for Camera Phone

April 1st, 2014
Selfie remote switch for iPhone

Selfie remote switch for iPhone

While they might call this a gimmick an its inspiration may be the #selfie, I’m convinced this could be useful to someone unable to hold a phone or press the button on their phone to take a picture.

via Coolest Gadgets