Google and Tobii Dynavox, a company known for its accessibility-friendly tablets and mobile apps, are working together to bring Google Assistant to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. AAC devices support people with disabilities, like cerebral palsy, to control smart homes or other devices through other methods beyond speech.
Tobii Dynavox’s Snap Core First software is already well-known, thanks to an easy to use tile system. Users can access preconfigured tiles on its dedicated tablets and apps through touch or eye gazing and scanning.
The tiles can already accomplish tasks like outputting speech, but they’ll do even more with Google Assistant. Users can create a tile to accomplish nearly any task you would normally use Google Assistant for, like turning on and off smart lights and plugs or asking about today’s weather or schedule.
Google promises an easy setup too:
First, 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 is also expanding its recently announced Action Blocks to help with the effort. You can already use Action Blocks to condense a multi-step command to a single tap, but it does take some effort to learn how to set a block up.
And starting today, Action Blocks will work with Tobii Dynavox’s library of tens of thousands of Picture Communication Symbols. That means anyone already familiar with Tobii Dynavox’s system won’t have to relearn a new system, drastically reducing the curve to get started.
You can embed Action Blocks directly in switches. That’s a great benefit, as then tapping a physical button will trigger a Google Assistant action on your phone. With a quick tap, you can make a call, start a video, or turn off a smart light, and more.