As technology advances every day, it is possible to access various services just by using a smartphone. But what is easy for many, is a great challenge for others. People who are quadriplegic or who for some reason lack the mobility of their upper limbs do not have the same practicality in handling these devices.
Therefore, the Brazilian startup TiX, specialized in assistive technology, has developed an ally in digital accessibility for people with motor disabilities (PWD). The product, called Colibri, is a wireless device that works like a head mouse for cell phones, computers, and tablets.
According to Adrian Assis, electrical engineer and founder of the startup, the company has been in the market for some time, aiming to launch products that meet the needs of the PCD public. “We already had other assistive technology products for other motor disabilities, but we didn’t have any solution for people who specifically didn’t move or moved very little from the neck down,” Assis explains to GALILEA.
The inspiration for Colibri was Mikael Monteiro, a 10-year-old boy with arthrogryposis multiplex syndrome – a congenital condition characterized by joint deformity and stiffness, which limits movement. Because of this deficiency, the boy played with his mouth and moved the mobile phone, which is not very functional.
Thinking about how to give the child more autonomy, comfort and accessibility, experts began to develop the device. “We thought of a mobile technology that would make full use of head movements to transform it into good mouse control, so that people can use electronics with privacy and security,” says the engineer.
According to Assis, they produced the first prototype – which at the time still had wires – and sent it to the boy for testing. After positive feedback, the Colibri was improved: they removed the wires and compressed it, so it can be easily attached to any eyeglass frame. “Now, in addition to playing, Mikael is also learning to program, all with the help of our device,” he adds.
Colibri captures intuitive head movements for precise mouse pointer control, and clicks can be made with a wink, a smile, or automatically after the pointer stops.
The device is light, has a rechargeable battery and you don’t need to install anything on your computer or mobile phone, just pair it with bluetooth use. Because it is compact, it can be attached to the frames of glasses and tiaras, hats and headphones. headset.
Partnership with AACD
Already available on the market, Colibri is currently being used in rehabilitative therapies at Association for the Aid of Children with Disabilities (AACD) units. Ana Carolina Rodrigues, occupational therapist, says that it is used in the adult and children sectors, in treatments such as speech therapy and pedagogy, in accordance with all the diagnoses of the place.
In the children’s ward, the device is used in children with cerebral palsy, congenital malformations or neuromuscular diseases. Among adults, people with amputations, stroke or spinal cord injury benefit the most from technology.
“It was wonderful for the patients, because it opens up new possibilities. The world is technological, today we solve practically everything with a mobile phone, so with Colibri our patient is inserted into this environment with more autonomy”, says Rodrigues.
Lina Borges, occupational therapy coordinator, says the AACD’s plan is to expand the use of the device to other units in São Paulo, and then to all units in other states.
“This assistive technology within our field of rehabilitation can offer people with disabilities several opportunities, such as presence on social networks and the possibility of inclusion in the labor market, in places where the use of computers is necessary,” he concludes.
The device can be purchased through subscription plans or purchased outright, for R$2990. For more information just access the website.
*With supervision and editing by Luiza Monteiro