Hands-free access to handy tech

Canada (Toronto)

Submitted by you:

Tecla is a switch-wheelchair interface suitable for anyone who can’t easily use a smartphone, tablet or computer. It allows users to interact with their phones and devices by connecting them to touch-screen devices using the adaptive devices they are familiar with – including buttons, sip-and-puff controllers, head arrays, joysticks and the driving controls of a wheelchair.

The little blue and orange box and the tapping of a switch allows those with limited upper-body mobility resulting from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, or stroke to make connections with the world.

Legislation introduced in 2010 in the US mandates that all devices that connect to the internet must be accessible. This has forced device manufacturers to improve the accessibility features in the products. Tecla have worked with Apple, Google and Amazon to improve the accessibility of their products and allow users with limited mobility to access them hands-free.

The technology is also used as part of accessible voting stations in the US, where by 2020 all voting station must be accessible. Modular voting stations featuring Tecla were used in districts in Colorado during the 2016 presidential election.

Komodo OpenLab, makers of Tecla, is a certified B corporation that develops inclusive technology to improve the daily lives of people with disabilities. Founders Jorge Silva and Mauricio Meza are biomedical engineers who have worked with people with disabilities for over a decade.

Working with beta testers was key to Tecla’s global success. One beta tester, who suffered a devastating fall now lives with quadriplegia, helped shape the product to what it is today.  Through Tecla they want to enable simple and easy access to smartphones and tablets for millions of people with mobility impairments.

Written by

Kaela Malozewski (31 January 2017)


Communications Coordinator, Tecla

Project leader

Mauricio Meza and Jorge Silva, Komodo OpenLab

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