September 2016 archive

Toy videos on Excitim’s website

Image used to introduce the toy videos blog post listing videos available on Excitim's special needs toys websiteWe are adding more adapted toy videos to the website to show what they do when activated by a switch press.

I think this makes a lot of sense and will help parents and professionals make more informed decisions about the suitability of an individual toy for a child in their care. The toy videos will mostly be shot in-house and edited to around 25 seconds in length. They’ll be viewable on a phone or tablet and short enough to avoid stressing any download limits. Don’t expect to see every feature, complete songs or actions – think of them as a demo of what the toy will do and how they may support your child’s development.

Video listing (Updated July 2017)

Here’s a listing of the video currently on the website as of February 2017. Every time we upload another I’ll update this posting. Watch the toy video by clicking on the names of each toy in the list. For convenience I’ve listed all toy videos in the same categories you would find them on the home page of the website.On the same page you will find all the product details and the possibility to add to the toy box for purchase.

Talking, Singing and Dancing toy videos

Flappy the Elephant

Pee-a-Boo Elmo

Spunky the ABC and 123 Singing Dog

In the Night Garden

In the Night Garden Musical Activity Pinky Ponk

In the Night Garden Activity Table

Sleep Tight All Night Igglepiggle

Igglepiggle’s Bedtime Boat

Twirlywoos

Twirlywoos Dance-Along Musical Peekaboo toy

Big Red Boat Playset

Age Range 3-6 years

Domino Train

Penguin Race

Thomas the Tank Engine

Age Range 6-10 years

Eurostar switch adapted train set

Johnny the Tractor

Switch Dice

Inflatable Radio Controlled Minion Kevin

Age range 10-teens

Dream-Racer

Sensory Light and Sound

Kaleidoscope Projector Lamp

Party Starter

iPad Accessories and Switches

iControl for iPad switching

This list will be updated when new toy videos are added to the website. Get in touch if you would like us to make a video of an adapted toy or iPad accessory you are especially interested in. Let us know through our contact us page.

iClick and iControl demonstration

A few days ago I had the opportunity to set up an iClick and iControl demonstration for the parents and professionals attending the Assert National Conference 2016. In this blog I’m going to talk about what I did and how it went on the day.

For background info on the iClick and iControl read these earlier blog posts: iClick mains controller and the iControl for iPad switching of toys. The blogs covere how to connect both to the iPad, customise the on-screen buttons and how to select the different switching modes.

iClick Sensory Lights and Sounds

Image of the iClick app buttons used in the iClick and iControl demonstration - here customised with images of the light and music demo with the iClick mains controller

Customised iClick app buttons

The iClick can switch mains powered electrical equipment and I chose to demo a light and sound show; something that could easily be set-up in a young adults bedroom. I used a rotary disco light I bought from Amazon, an old radio tuned to a local station, the iClick and my iPad (4th generation) running the iClick app (downloaded from Apple’s app store)

Rather than use the app’s default buttons I took pictures of the light and radio and used them instead. I set both switch modes to ‘latched’ so that when pressed the light and music would stay on until the on-screen iPad buttons were pressed again. (I could also set them for a timed interval)

So how did it go?

iClick performed as expected. The light system worked well and it was clear from the discussion that parents liked the idea of some sort of light show. No problem with batteries as this light source uses a transformer I could plug into one of the iClick sockets. The radio also worked well – I know it looks a bit old but it still did the job.

If anything, the weakest link was the iPad battery. From full charge at 10:00 AM it dropped to around 20% by the time we switched off at 5:30 PM. That would be overcome if I’d connected the charger to the iPad – realistically something you would do if you were at home. On the day though I didn’t want to be restricted by the charger cable.

iControl Toy Control

iControl is like the little brother to the iClick in that it is used with battery powered devices – typically 2 or 3 AA type batteries. This is typical of the switch adapted special needs toys we have on the Excitim’s special needs toys website.

Image of the iClick app buttons used in the iClick and iControl demonstration - here customised with images of the toys used with the iControl for iPad switching

Customised iClick app buttons

I customised the switch buttons in the iClick app in exactly the same way and this time used pictures of the two toys we took along. One was our Freddie Fish Bubble Machine and the other was the Little People Lift and Lower Fire Engine.

However, there needs to be a wired connection between the iControl and the toy. iControl comes supplied with two 3.5mm jack leads in the box. The leads are around 1.5 metres long which gives lots of flexibility to hide the iControl away from curious little fingers. Simply connect one jack plug to the iControl and the plug into the jack socket on the adapted toy.

I set the switch modes to ‘direct’ for both toys. For Freddie Fish that meant the switch needed to be pressed continuously to get a shower of bubbles. Whereas simply touching the fire engine button was sufficient to trigger the sounds and phrases on the toy.

With a little coaching the kids soon got the knack to what to do. With tablets now so well established in schools and at home many kids have figured out if a ‘picture’ is touched something will happen. Using the iControl or iClick is just the same.

So how did it go?

iControl also worked flawlessly. It is a far smaller unit that the iClick and could easily be hidden away under a chair, behind a desk or wherever is convenient. That would be better for those children who like to grab onto things. Battery life on the iControl was no issue at all and it lasted the day with ease; without us even thinking about a recharge. One question I had was ‘how many times can the battery be recharged before it dies?’ The answer is thousands of times.

Battery consumption on the iPad (3rd generation) was about the same as we experienced with the iClick demonstration.

The smaller overall footprint of this set-up makes it suitable for use of a table, desk or, with small toys, on a typical wheelchair tray.

Overall, the iClick and iControl demonstration worked very well and feedback from parents and professionals at the conference was very positive. Feel free to get to contact us if you have any questions about setting-up and using the iClick or iControl – I’ll do my best to answer them and if I can’t I know someone who will.