This is part 2 of a 3 part series that explores the LipSync device. To read part 1, click here(new window). In this edition, we interview Chad Leaman, Director of Innovation at Neil Squire Society, for the inside scoop on the LipSync.

Q. Can you describe the reception that the LipSync has gotten over the past year?

A. It’s unbelievable. The reception has been great, from all corners. From a user perspective, we’ve been able to refine the technology (like the joystick), so it is a lot more comfortable. One of my favourite stories is of Omar, who received a LipSync from us earlier this year. He had initially just wanted to help us out with testing. But it profoundly helped him out. He was telling me about how he was writing an exam at BCIT, and he could do it himself. He is a quadriplegic, and he was telling me how rare that it is to do a test without a scribe, without someone else helping him there. It really gave him independence in that moment.

Makers have had a great time at our Buildathons, and we’ve been seeing a high success rate in LipSyncs built by first-timers, people who have never soldered, etc.

One of the real pleasant things recently, was to hear the reaction of a lot of occupational therapists. They are key to connect with, as they would be the ones to recommend the LipSync or similar technologies. Talking with them, they really related to the maker idea, and to how they themselves often had to make solutions themselves, as they weren’t available on the market.

Q. Has the LipSync been used in any ways that you didn’t expect?

A. Yes. One particular example is the ‘Wake up Honey’(new window) assistive technology developed at our Access Makeathon. In this event, makers were tasked with creating an access solution for a person with disability in 48 hours. For Jim, as a quadriplegic, if he awoke in the middle of the night and needed help, he’d need to wake up his wife. However, his wife is hard of hearing, and with the spinal cord injury, Jim has a hard time speaking loud enough. The makers came up with a solution that was a modified LipSync, which using sip and puff, would activate a vibrating alarm under his wife’s pillow and wake her up. Click here(new window) to see their story.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of the LipSync Update, where we continue our interview with Chad Leaman.

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