Switch accessible telephone calls

This blog is about making switch accessible telephone calls using an APPlicator connected to an iPhone 6 with the help of Siri and a Smoothie switch.

The APPlicator from Pretorian Technologies is a really useful piece of kit that connects with Apple’s iOS devices.  The connection is wireless using Bluetooth and works very well with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. On the other side the APPlicator has sockets for four push-button switches like the Smoothie switches.

Here’s a link to a blog a comprehensive blog about the iSwitch – think of the iSwitch as an APPlicator with a built in switch.

Making the connections

Before making a switch accessible telephone call there are three things you need to connect together:

  1. the APPlicator
  2. the iPhone and
  3. the push-button switch.

IPhone 6 – here I’m going to assume you have already stored a series of telephone numbers in your ‘Contacts’ app. If not then you will need to do that first. APPlicator – make a Bluetooth connection with the iPhone. Follow these steps:

Making a Bluetooth Connection

  • Go to the Bluetooth menu on your iPhone (Settings then Bluetooth). Make sure
    Image showing the APPlicator Bluetooth connection to the iPhone

    APPlicator Bluetooth connection to the iPhone

    Bluetooth is turned on; if not slide the iOS slider to the right.

  • Turn on the APPlicator by pressing either ‘channel or ’mode’ switch once.
  • After a few seconds the APPlicator should appear as a ‘discoverable’ device listed as something like ‘Pretorian-V49.3-ABC1. Tap on the name and the pairing process will begin.
  • The APPlicator is ready to use when you see ‘Connected’ in the iPhone’s Bluetooth device list.

Setting the iOS command

  • Press the ‘CHAN’ button on the APPlicator to select the channel you will use to connect the switch to. Let’s say ‘1’.
  • Press the ‘MODE’ button repeatedly until the the letter ‘T’ appears in the red window.
Image showing the APPlicator and iPhone being used to make a switch accessible telephone call.

Make switch accessible calls with APPlicator and the iPhone

Letter ‘T’ represents an iOS instruction that has been programmed into the APPlicator and gets sent to the iPhone when the user presses the push-button switch. When the iPhone receives the letter ‘T’ it knows what it needs to do. I know that sounds a bit ‘techie’ but it all goes on in the background and when you’ve set it you can forget it.

Finally, connect the switch into the channel you chose. That’s channel ‘1’ if you are following me step-by-step.

Making a call

This is where it all comes together and you can make your first switch accessible telephone call. 🙂

  • Press the switch for a slightly longer period that you normally would – perhaps for half of a second (a bit of trial and error may be needed to get the best results for each individuals circumstance)
  • Letter ‘T’ tells the iPhone to leave any app it’s in and launch Siri.
  • Siri then asks ‘what can i help you with?’
  • Tell Siri to call ‘home’ or ‘mum’ or an individual telephone number such as ‘01630 123456’

I also found that if you have two switches programmed with channel ‘T’ then this can help if the iPhone throws a wobbly and gets a bit stuck. If that happens try pressing the second switch to get back to Siri.

It works, it’s far from perfect but it is certainly worth playing with. I’d love to know if it works for you.

Get in touch via our Contact Us page or why not give me a call; my mobile number is 07774 318443.

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