Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) is any piece of technology, ranging from low-tech to high-tech that can assist individuals with disabilities. For this purpose, Rutgers has compiled a list of some assistive technologies (including some that Rutgers has worked with), tutorials, and instructions on how to acquire the tools.


Keyboard & Mice Alternatives

BigKeys LX
Standard keyboard with extra large (1-in.-square) keys.
Cost: $$
BIGtrack Trackball
A large mouse with a 3-inch track ball and large mouse buttons.
Cost: $$
KinderBoard
Standard keyboard with bold, extra large (1-in-square), color coded keys.
Cost: $
Rock Adapted Joystick
A joystic style mouse. Features 3 interchangable handles- straight stem, t-bar, and a large ball.
Cost: $$$$
VisionBoard2
Standard keyboard with extra large (1-in.-square) keys. Available in yellow or white keys for vision aid.
Cost: $$

Screen Magnifiers

ZoomText Express
Works only on Windows XP and Windows 7. Not compatible with Windows 8 or 8.1.
Available for: some Windows computers Cost: $

Screen Readers

ChromeVox
Available as an extension for Google Chrome on Windows and Mac OS.
Available: Chrome browser Cost: Free
JAWS
Short for Job Access With Speech, JAWS is a popular screen reader that provides speech and Braille output. JAWS is for Windows only.
Available: some Windows computers Cost: Free trial (Full software: $$$)
Kurzweil 1000
Windows-based software that converts printed or electronic words to speech. Users can open and read nearly any file on a computer with text, download and read material from the WWW, and choose from a variety of reading voices.
Available: some Windows computers Cost: Free trial (full software: $$$$)
Kurzweil 3000
Mac and Windows, Kurzweil 3000 is for users in grades 3 and above.
Available: some Mac computers some Windows computers Cost: Free trial (full software: $$$$)
Natural Reader
NaturalReader is both Windows and Mac in six languages. Each language has at least two voices and eight reading speeds to choose from. The software contains all text-to-speech functions and is compatible with PDF, Word, and webpages.
Available: some Mac computers some Windows computers Cost: Free
NVDA
For Windows XP and newer. Short for NonVisual Desktop Access, NVDA works with Microsoft Windows and is available in 43 languages.
Available: some Windows computers Cost: Free (but you can make a donation of varying amounts to NV Access upon purchase)
Read&Write
Provided by Texthelp, this software is both Windows and Mac (although certain features are currently only Windows-based systems), as well as available products for Chrome, Android tablets, and iPads. Software includes a toolbar and features for text-to-speech, reading support, writing and self-editing, study skills and research, and more.
Available: some Mac computers some Windows computers some iOS mobile devices some Android mobile devices Chrome browser Cost: Free trial (full software: $$$)
TalkBack
This app comes preinstalled on most Android devices. Activate it by turning on Accessibility (instructions vary by device).
Available: Chrome browser Cost: Free
VoiceOver
VoiceOver comes built-in on Macintosh computers. Activate it by going to the Apple menu and choosing System Preferences. Then go to Universal Access and click the VoiceOver Utility button. Turn on VoiceOver by pressing Command-F5. Then, hold down the Control and Option Keys and press F8.
Available: some Mac computers Cost: Free

Smart Pens

Equil Smartpen 2
Works on all devices.
Available for: some Mac computers some Windows computers some iOS mobile devices some Android mobile devices Cost: $$
LiveScribe
Connects to most devices, including smartphones and tablets.
Available for: some iOS mobile devices some Android mobile devices Cost: $$

Speech to Text

Dragon Dictation
Provided by Nuance, Dragon Dictation works on iOS systems to dictate documents, perform web searches, send email, and much more
Available: iOS Cost: Free
Dragon NaturallySpeaking
Provided by Nuance, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is both PC and Mac in several different versions. Users can dictate documents, perform web searches, send email, and much more.
Available for: some Mac computers some Windows computers Cost: $$
Dragon Mobile Assistant
Functions on Android. Provided by Nuance, Dragon Mobile Assistant is a hands-free, eyes-free way to operate your smartphone. Features include texting, operating social media, email, and web searches. Users can choose a voice and name for the assistant.
Available for: some Android mobile devices Cost: Free
iOS Speech Recognition/Siri
Siri comes pre-programmed as the personal assistant on iPhone 4S or later, iPad 3rd generation or later, iPad mini, and iPod touch 5th generation. Internet access is required.
Available for: some iOS mobile devices Cost: Free
S-Voice
The S-Voice comes built-in on Samsung Galaxy S3 or later.
Cost: Free
Windows Speech Recognition
Available on Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Available for: some Windows computers Cost: Free

Word Prediction Programs

Co-Writer
Provided by Don Johnston, Co-Writer uses word prediction to help students express their thoughts in words.
Available for: some Mac computers some Windows computers some iOS mobile devices Chrome browser Cost: $$$
SoothSayer
Provided by Applied Human Factors, SoothSayer includes word prediction and a built-in set of speech tools.
Available for: some Windows computers Cost: $$

Other Assistive Technologies

AMIS
AMIS (short for Adaptive Multimedia Information System) is a self-voicing software program used to read DAISY books, including full-text/full-audio, audio-NCX, text-only, and multi-volume. AMIS is for Windows only.
Available for: some Windows computers Cost: Free