Hands Free Download for Assistive Communication Mobile Technology

By Jim Hasse, ABC, GCDF, Disability Employment Expert
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As a hands free download, AntzFree is a free iOS and Android app that can give people who have limited use of their upper limbs the control of their devices, connecting them with the digital world.

Developed by two Italian development engineers, Davide and Massimo, AntzFree is meant to be used just through head movement.

You can obtain AntzFree, the hands free download, at www.antzfree.com. Start it, and follow the app's tutorial. Also see an AntzFree video presentation.

AntzFree includes a keyboard that allows the user to write text messages and speak them. The app's computer vision software engine processes the images captured by the front-facing camera, and with no calibration, the user instantly learns how to move a circular pointer on the touch screen through natural head movements.

"We tried to minimize the 'friction' to achieve the best user experience starting right from the installation," says Davide, Research and Development Engineer at OverIT. "In the future, we would like to include Twitter, a browser to surf the net and maybe even a game."

Davide and Massimo are two engineers that have spent some of their time on this hands free download since last year.

"We are skilled in computer vision," Davide points out, "and some years ago developed a desktop application based on eye tracking to help people who are severely impaired to use a desktop/laptop computer."

The algorithms and the advanced prototype the two partners developed did not become industrial products because, they say, the need for customized hardware/software and distribution became issues.

"At that time, mobile phones and tablets were not as powerful as they are nowadays," Davide points out. "So, one year ago, we decided to bring our ideas and technology to smartphones and tablets that have all the hardware we need on board, giving us trustworthy distribution."

The two engineers admit they are still at an experimental stage of this hands free download and need as much feedback as possible about use of the app and the future prospects of AntzFree.

"We are looking forward to explore opportunities for integrating and expanding our technology," Davide says.

He can be contacted at antzfreeapp@gmail.com.

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