Google has brought new updates to its Assistant that will help people with disabilities gain more independence in controlling smart devices and appliances around their homes. For International Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness Month, Google has brought Assistant to US company Tobii Dynavox's applications and services.
"Tobii Dynavox Snap Core First software — available on dedicated tablets and mobile apps — has a preconfigured set of tiles for users to communicate about everyday things and is accessible through touch, eye gaze and scanning," said Praveen Chandran, Product Manager at Google.
"By integrating Google Assistant with Tobii Dynavox's technology, people with cerebral palsy can easily assign a tile to a Google Assistant action, control compatible smart home devices and appliances, like lights, thermostats, TVs and more, that have been set up in the Google Home app.
Tiles can also be configured to get answers from Google Assistant to questions like "What's the weather?" or "What's on the calendar for today?"
This is how it works:
- Create a Google account and set up a smart speaker or smart display in the Google Home app on Android or iOS.
- After providing access to the Snap Core First app, you can then configure tiles by selecting a button in edit mode, tapping on "Add action" and then tapping on "Send Google Assistant command."
Google rolled out ‘Action Blocks' feature last May that makes it easier for people who have a cognitive disability to use Android phones and tablets with the help of Google Assistant by introducing customizable buttons on their home screens that can complete actions like calling a parent, turning on the lights, or watching a favourite show with one tap.
Now, Tobii Dynavox's library of tens of thousands of Picture Communication Symbols can be used to create Action Blocks buttons, so that people who might be accustomed to assistive technology for communication can use a familiar interface on their Android phones and tablets, Chandran informed.