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How Do People Use The Computer Without Hands
There are people who have very limited ability to move their hands, or they cannot use their hands at all. Fortunately, computers are available to them as well. The combination of built in operating system functionality, voice recognition systems and switches among other assistive solutions can help them interact with their computer.
When people are able to type to some extent, they can make use of the sticky key functionality, where keys like the control and shift become toggle switches, the first press turns them on, the second off. This way it is easy to type even with one finger, as people don't have to hold more than one key down at a time.
Another way to use the computer without hands is with a voice recognition system. These systems are very advanced and work with a very high accuracy rate. After some initial voice and intonation training, when the program gets used to the users voice and speaking habits, the accuracy can be more than 99 percent. Users can either dictate text to the computer, or switch to a command mode, where they can give instructions to the computer, such as starting e-mail, selecting a line of text, etc. This way when applications are designed to be accessible, the computer can be used totally hands free. Voice recognition systems are much more difficult, or impossible to use for those who have a more severe speech impairment. Read more about voice recognition systems.
When voice recognition systems are not an option, people can use different kinds of switches to interact with their computer. These switches are individually customized in many cases, to make use of any movement a person is able to carry out. Some people are only able to hold an object in their mouth, nod their head, or blow into a tube. Switches help navigating the operating system and applications. A switch for example, allows the user to navigate on the screen, and select letters from an on-screen keyboard. Very often they are used together with an auto complete feature which guesses the word the user wants to type in order to decrease the amount of time typing takes. Still, using switches can be very slow, though great efficiency can be achieved with practice.
Another, relatively new approach is using brain signals to operate computers. Read how people can use Twitter with brain signals only
Switches can be hard to demonstrate, but you can try the sticky keys. From the Windows Control Panel, pick Accessibility, and under the keyboard tab turn on the sticky keys.
In addition, if you have MS Office installed, it comes with Microsoft Speech. It is a relatively good voice recognition system, but it will take at least an hour of training to achieve a decent recognition rate.