Gone FREE! Mobile Mouse Pro turns your iDevice into a wireless trackpad / mouse / remote for your PC & Mac

Happiness is apps going free.  Double happiness is WIRELESS apps going free.  For an unspecified length of time, Mobile Mouse Pro has gone FREE on the App Store!  Got an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad?  If so:

  • do you need to give a presentation and your laptop is feet away from the podium?
  • want to control your computer’s music wirelessly while you’re seated in your couch?
  • hooked up your computer to a giant LCD screen and you need to go through your media apps wirelessly?

iDevice + a Windows- or Mac-based laptop + wireless network and consider yourself free of wires and stuck in your seat.  How do you go about getting this app and getting it to work?

  1. make sure your private wifi router is on or you are hooked onto an ad hoc network
  2. download the free Mobile Mouse Pro into your iDevice
  3. download the free Mobile Mouse Server into your Windows- or Mac-based computer from mobilemouse.com’s Downloads section
  4. follow the instructions at mobilemouse.com’s Support page
  5. check your settings, fire it up, and you’re good to go

What does MMP have in store for you?  Oh heck, a lot.  Lifted from the app’s home page are the following:

  • Accelerometer based mouse
  • Trackpad with vertical and horizontal orientation
  • Media keys with volume and eject controls
  • Web keys
  • Application switcher/launcher
  • Application notifications
  • Unlimited custom media and web remotes with scripting capabilities
  • Remote keyboard with modifier keys
  • Function keyboard with arrow keys
  • Oversized numeric keypad
  • Programable hotkeys (can be set to run a program or keyboard combination)
  • Scroll pad
  • Multitouch gestures (supports scrolling & right click)
  • Remotely wake up and put your computer to sleep
  • Password protection
  • Custom sensitivity settings
  • Foreign language keyboards
  • Supports Bonjour or static IP
  • No screen size limitation. Works with multiple monitors
  • Works over WIFI, no line of sight limitations
  • Built from the ground up for Mac and Windows

If you are using a Mac, you can still use the two-finger approach to scroll up and down pages, pinch to resize, and even assign hotkeys.  For some reason however, the four-finger swipe down did not bring out my Expose.  Still, this is one mean, indispensable app. Highly, HIGHLY recommended.

Image Quest rolls image recognition, association, word retrieval together with temporal stress

Just last night I was telling my mom how I’d love to get her an iPad and plug in as many cognitive stimulation apps in it for her to use.  She knows that with age comes a certain degree of cognitive decline, so she asked me to send her a ‘cognitive care package’ full of activities for her to do.  So, while I’m in the process of putting one together, I decided to write about one of my favorite apps on the App Store: Image Quest.

This game’s no lightweight.  Right now it’s on the App Store for $0.99 but you can check out its Lite version for free just so you can get an idea exactly what I am talking about here.  Image Quest lovingly messes with your recognition, association and word retrieval skills via pictonyms:  distinctly different images that share a common word.  The startup screen asks you to choose your game style: Standard Play or a Tournament Play.  Select, say, Standard Play, and you need to choose your category.  The Full version packs a total of 30 Levels, some of which are:

  1. Spectra
  2. Easy – Things
  3. A is for…
  4. Three, Please
  5. Garage Sale
  6. Eats
  7. Miscellany
  8. Play
  9. Whereabouts
  10. B’s
  11. Athletics
  12. Grab Bag
  13. Foursome

… and so on.  Right now I am on Level 12.

Each level gives you one kind of keyboard or another to play with:  a Scrambled Keyboard (8 select yet scrambled letters), and a Full Keyboard.  Tap on a level to start the game.  When the timer starts a set of pictonyms flashes on the screen.  You, as the player, must look at the image very closely and try and see the associations the pictures have with each other, what their common characteristics are, how these pictures’ labels correspond to the other pictures, and retrieve a common word.

Sounds complicated?  Not really.  It’s the TIMER that gets to you, consider yourself forewarned.  You are given 20 seconds to study the pictonyms, make associations, retrieve a word, and type your answer in.

What makes this app truly awesome:

  • attractive gaming concept:  perfect for those who frequently want a cog fix
  • well-designed splash screens
  • clear and specific pictonyms (no matter how small they end up looking, them being scrunched up in an iPhone / iPod Touch’s screen
  • a scoreboard that gives one feedback how they’re doing in terms of correct vs. wrong answers plus gives the player a boost for retrieving words fast.
  • 30 different levels! All of gradually-increasing levels of difficulty.
  • 500 pictonym puzzles! Totalling to 7,500 different images
  • you get to play with other I.Q. gamers via the Tournament Play option
  • one can customize the app’s music and instead allow the user’s music to play as the game continues

What this app could improve on:

  • bigger, more responsive keyboard:  I found myself tapping a tad bit harder for the game to recognize my tapping.
  • bigger pictonyms:  of course, this may be bigger on the iPad compared to the iPod touch

To perfect this game, the player must get 3000 points.  3000 points!!

This app is not strictly an app for therapy.  However, taking into consideration that there can be individuals with aphasia who have better semantic systems than the rest of them combined, plus the significant number of cases of high functioning autism, who knows?  Maybe this app could actually attain a therapy material designation!

Price: $0.99 (also available:  Lite version)
Weight51.1 MB
Updated: 5 November 2010
Version: 1.0.4
Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad.  Needs iOS 3.0 up.
Seller: GeeThree
Target Population: young adults and older
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • facilitating visual attention
  • facilitating image recognition
  • recognizing similarities and differences among the pictonyms
  • identifying the common factor among all the pictonyms presented
  • word retrieval
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 smileys
iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys

SmallTalk Aphasia: making communication extra functional

There aren’t many apps on Apple’s App Store that caters to the needs of individuals with language disorders.  While there is a host of apps that utilize the iOS’ text-to-speech function such as Type N Talk (free) (there is also a Type N Talk Deluxe!) and Talk Bot, they are not designed for the population that need specific and functional phrases paired with simple yet engaging illustrations to communicate exactly what they wish to say.  Enter SmallTalk Aphasia.  There are two kinds:  SmallTalk Aphasia–Female and SmallTalk Aphasia Male.

Designed by the folks at Lingraphicare, SmallTalk Aphasia converts your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad into a communication board of sorts.  Each illustration–minimally colored and simply yet effectively drawn–accompanies a short, functional phrase often needed (and used) by clients with aphasia.  One can utilize these functional words and phrases by using the app’s “icons” or

“videos.”  The user taps on “icons” and the illustration and functional phrase are shown as a scrollable list where one can tap and select a flashcard, and the card fills the screen followed by a voice that reads out the text.  Tap on “videos,” and while the same scrollable list comes up, selecting one plays a video of a mouth (female or male, depends on which app you choose to download and install) speaking the selected text.

The scrollable list is divided into main headings:

  • me: “I have aphasia.”  “I had a stroke.” etc.
  • conversation: yes/no, basic social greetings
  • telephone: basic phrases that can be played onto a phone’s mouthpiece such as “I am using a speech device to talk to you.”  “Speak slowly.”  “I cannot write down your message.”
  • emergency: “I need help.”  “Call 911.” etc.
  • meals: meal names, common food names such as “fried chicken,” “waffles,” “sandwich”
  • restaurants: “Starbucks.”  “Pizza Hut.” etc.
  • health: “I don’t feel well today.”  “pain.” etc.
  • pain scale: a 6-point scale showing face illustrations ranging from “no pain” to “worst pain possible.”

Hold the iOS device upright and it shows the scrollable list.  Hold it in landscape position and the choices are presented in cover flow mode.

The videos’ scrollable list have a slightly different set.  It includes several conversation-appropriate lines such as “It’s hard to talk.”  “What should we do today.” days of the week, common color names, and several phonemes such as /b, d, g, k, w, ow, s/. Each video clip repeats a chosen word twice and a chosen phrase once.

There’s much to love about this app, aside from the fact that it IS free.  Several of these nice points are:

  • easy-to-use interface
  • functional, applicable words and phrases:  has many of what a client with aphasia needs to say
  • the included videos of a mouth speaking can be beneficial to both the client and the person he/she is talking to: the client can use the video to cue him/herself to say the same word/s
  • big tap areas:  perfect for not-so-small fingers and not-so-fine hand/finger movements
  • cover flow on landscape position:  easier way to swipe and select among flashcards
  • illustrations are simple and easy to process visually
  • clear voice clips, and reasonably loud at max volume setting

This app falls short on a few areas:

  • could have included a button to bring the user back to the main screen (to select “icons” or “videos).  Instead, one has to hit the Home button on the iOS device and go start the app again
  • can be used by only a select group of clients with aphasia, namely by those who have enough processing and visual/reading comprehension that allows them to select their desired picture/word
  • could have included options for customization:  the present selections appear to be culturally bound.  Not everyone has bagels for breakfast or goes to Olive Garden for dinner.  Options to allow a caregiver or family member customize the app by taking a picture and adding it to the flashcard library, inserting text under it, and recording a voice to say the card won’t only make this app astoundingly functional, it would have made it my dream app!

I can go on and on about including options to customize within apps for special populations.  As any allied health professional would know, each client has specific needs, and each culture has its own reality sets and languages.  And as any speech-language pathologist working with adults would know, not all aphasic clients have English as their primary language.

But since this app is not by and large designed to replace any form of language intervention, it is perfectly reasonable to value its pluses for itself.  Ask me to design an app for clients with global aphasia or even Wernicke’s, there is a good chance I won’t be able to make one.  The problems that aphasia presents (and the combinations thereof) are numerous and vary widely, and it may be nearly impossible to design an app that covers the communicative needs of the majority.

Have I used this at therapy?  No, not yet.  Have I shared this with my clients and their families?  Yes.  It does its job and for many aphasic clients, this app can mean the world to them.

Price: FREE
Weight: 24.7 MB
Updated: 16 November 2010
Version: 1
Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad.  Needs iOS 3.0 up.
Seller: Lingraphicare Inc. @ Lingraphicare America Inc.
Target Population: individuals with aphasia
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • facilitating production of speech
  • facilitating imitation of sounds, target words
  • facilitating communicative exchanges
  • facilitate selective attention
  • facilitates word retrieval during word/phrase search within the app
  • Wh- questions whose answers are within the app’s word/phrase database
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 smileys
iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys