I’m currently at Communication Matters 2013, which is a conference for people with interests around AAC communication. It’s my second year – the first time I was introducing the Domesday Dataset, this year I’m doing presentations on research, ethics, and open source technology (It’s entirely possible I overreached with the abstracts, we’ll see).
The first thing to say is that the Leeds University Staff and facilities have been largely faultless. Staff are helpful and well organised and the facilities are a big set up from last year’s setup.
The conference proper hasn’t started yet – today is a couple of general events like dinners, quizes and talks and the opening of the exhibition.
The absolute star of the event so far has been Mark Rowland who is a musician and an AAC user – who was funny, insightful, and excellent to listen to. Particularly on subjects such problems with devices and issues with education (“[school] put fucking bells on my fucking feet” is, I think the correct quote, but I didn’t write it down properly…).
(I’m just trying to find Mark on iTunes and not getting very far – if anyone has a link, that would be lovely…)
At the exhibition I’ve only had a chance to look at a few things… I might be behind the times but I’ve only just found out that Toby Churchill have a scanning version of their flagship lightwriter out… It wasn’t obviously to me why that’s a feature that a lightwriter user would want (because I can’t see a scanning user picking a Lightwriter as a primary device) , but it was (patiently) explained to me that Toby have a lot of long-term users of Lightwriters that are having to resort to scanning and who would like to keep using a Lightwriter.
In much the same moud – I got to play with a Techcess Allora for the first time. It’s main selling point for me is that its secondary display is detachable, although I’m waiting to see that used in practice – certainly if there is also, say, a secondary unit that plugs into tv’s and speakers and the like, then I can start to see some uses, but I’m going to have to think about it a little more (Techcess themselves have a prize draw for people to submit cool ideas).