Our environment is full of technologies, connected objects and other gadgets that make our daily life much easier. It is indeed, quite easy to remotely command all kind of devices from our smartphones, with a single click.
These technologies are also very efficient to help compensate certain handicaps but they have limits when it regards people whose handicap – or combination thereof - prevents them from manipulating a smartphone, reading a screen or using vocal commands.
The good news is that it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel as alternative ways to interact with our technological environment, already exist.
These solutions however, often stay inaccessible because their usage is judged too complex, their implementation considered time-consuming but mostly because of their (outrageous) price.
As a patient, it can be very frustrating to be shut down from these possibilities to improve our quality of life and become more independent.
That’s why I turned all my hopes to open-source hardware and tools, right after my I soldered my first TV-B-Gone, about 10 years ago :)
I’ve been working on this “Impossible Interface” ever since. I can only describe it as a universal remote control that can also interact with non connected physical objects like the buttons of a lift or a simple light switch.
The name Impossible Interface was chosen because of the amount of time I was told it was impossible to build such a device, especially for less than 500 euros but ...
Bootchoo II, my latest prototype basically is a Arduino compatible 5 Axis Robot Arm (https://www.adeept.com/robotic-arm-uno_p0118.html) to which I just added a Bluetooth module and I am currently testing several ways of controls it.
Ideally, commanding that little bot could be personalized depending on the type of handicap(s) that needs to be compensated.
I am currently focusing on patients with low finger mobility, testing different sizes of joysticks as well as other “alternative remote” possibilities such as the ones offered by the MCH2022 badge and the Flipper Zero.
As for the reason why I submitting this small talk – even though I am very shy – is because it is precisely not about me. Being as autonomous as possible is a need we all share and it should not be considered a luxury.
I’ve mostly worked alone on this project but I got a lot of support from the Hacking Health Besançon association (https://hacking-health.org/fr/besancon-fr/), since I submitted this project during their latest edition.
I’ll also admit that it is also time to ask for help to make this open-source assistive robot, safer, stronger and smarter and I can’t think of a better place to share my humble experiments, than at CCCamp.