The Grid 2
by Sensory Software
Easy to use communication software for people with limited or no speech PLUS access to computers for people with restricted physical movement
The Grid 2 allows people with limited or unclear speech to use a computer as a voice ouput communication aid, using symbols or text to build sentences.
You can also access your Windows desktop and other programs, with the built in Computer Control features.
In addition to this, you can send and receive email and SMS messages, browse the web, listen to music… and more too!
NEW: The latest release of The Grid 2, version 2.7, has been released. Updated features include:
- Autocomplete prediction and TouchType
- Option to hide cells
- Random phrase command
- New commands for text navigation
- Use a mouse or keyboard as a switch, plus other new switch options
- Improvements to Grid Explorer window
- New dwell and scan options for touchscreen, headpointer and mouse users
- New display options
- New symbol support with typing
- Free 60 day trial grid sets included: WordPower, Call Talk, Talk Together, IDV and Starting Blocks
For more information on this release, view the Release notes for The Grid 2.
Latest version supports voice recognition to access your computer. This allows you simply to read the text on a cell to select it! Voice recognition requires Windows Vista or Windows 7/8, or Windows XP with MS Office installed. It also includes a number of improvements to the eye gaze support in addition to fixes.
Features and Benefits
Symbols are useful to people with no literacy skills, as well as helping those with limited literacy to develop a larger vocabulary.
Different users can cope with widely varying levels of complexity in their symbol systems. The Grid can take the user from very simple communication screens to the more advanced arrangements.
- Instant communication
You can set up a grid with just a few cells that speak as soon as they are selected. For example, you could have “yes”, “no”, “I need some help please” and “I want to do something else”.
- Sentence building
Moving on from this, you can have cells that contain elements of a sentence, and build sentences to allow more freedom of expression.
You can link together several grids to provide a larger vocabulary divided into topics (this is often referred to as “dynamic screen communication”).
Typically, the first page the user sees will display a number of topics. Selecting a topic leads to a grid with vocabulary specific to that topic.
- Grid sets
There are a number of ready made grid sets (also known as vocabularies) available, designed for different levels of literacy and with different approaches to arranging vocabulary.
Once you have selected a grid set, you can customise it as much as needed, adding to the vocabulary and expanding the topics available. You can also start from scratch and create your own communication system.Find out more about grid sets/vocabularies included/available for The Grid 2.
Free grids can be downloaded from the Sensory Software Online Grids site.
- Symbol options
The Grid 2 can use any symbol library, such as the Widgit colour symbols, PCS, etc. The complete set of Widgit colour symbols (previously known as Rebus symbols) are included (8000 symbols). The Grid 2 also includes See Sense, a small, free picture library. Sample symbols from a range of sets are included, however you may already have a symbol library or will use other images.
Mayer-Johnson PCS symbol library is also available as an option.
Please contact Spectronics if you need to check which symbol library is suitable for use with The Grid 2.
The Grid 2 is compatible with many types of images and photographs and includes features such as:
- Screen captures – for quickly taking photos from the internet or a digital camera
- Double Picture – easily place pictures side-by-side in a cell
- Picture Editor – for changing colours, combining symbols, and more
The Grid 2 provides quick and accurate text communication for literate users.
Grids can be simple typing grids, or more complicated setups with stored messages and prediction.
Write sentences by spelling words or selecting complete words, and then speak them aloud.
You can type using:
- a physical keyboard (including adapted keyboards such as BigKeys)
- a keyboard grid, displaying a keyboard on the screen
- grids with complete words or phrases
Text Chat features:
- Storing messages
The Grid 2 allows you to create, edit, store and recall 1000’s of messages. When you have written some text that you want to store, you can save it to your message list. To locate a message later, just start typing one of the words in the message and The Grid 2 will find your message for you.
You can also save up to 10 separate message lists. One example for using this is in different social situations (at home, at work, at the shops, etc).
- Writing tools
The Grid 2 has a number of tools to help write more quickly and accurately.
- Choose your keyboard layout
You can decide how to arrange the keyboard.
- Typists used to a computer keyboard may prefer a QWERTY layout
- Early learners may find it easier with an alphabetical ABC keyboard
- Many switch users have frequency-of-use layouts, with the most commonly used letters available in the least time
- If you need really big cells (e.g. for some eye gaze or touch screen users) you can even divide the letters between a number of different grids
- People using auditory feedback might have a the alphabet split into rows, each row starting with a vowel
As you type, The Grid 2 can suggest the word that you are typing. The Grid 2 can display symbols next to words and suggested words can be spoken aloud to help with word finding and identification.
The Grid 2’s advanced prediction system learns as you write, so words that you use regularly are given higher priority. You can choose to spell-check the prediction automatically to avoid it learning mistakes, and you can edit the prediction dictionary to add or remove words.
Using phonetic matching, The Grid 2 can suggest words that sound similar to a word that you have typed, which can be a great way to help find the right word.
The Grid 2 can suggest words with a similar spelling to the one you are writing.
- Verb morphology
You can display the different versions of a verb to aid correct grammar. Symbols can help to identify the parts of a verb and get correct verb agreement.
- Choose your keyboard layout
- Out-of-the-box flexibility
The Grid 2 comes with ready-made grids for text communication. You can also purchase popular communication vocabularies such as WordPower.
You can also create your own grids or edit the provided grids to create your perfect text communication system. You can make a grid with the things that you need on it, and link to other grids with other useful options – friends’ names, alternate word lists, or the option of sending your writing as an email or text message.
Speech output may use the Windows built-in speech synthesisers. Acapela speech synthesisers are supplied as standard; these include Acapela Australian Tyler (Male) and Acapela UK English (Female). Australian RealSpeak can be purchased as an option with the program. For digitised speech, messages can also be recorded using a microphone.
Access and Selection Methods
The Grid 2 has been designed to be accessed by everyone, from those with complex disabilities to people with good motor control.
Switches are one of the most common alternatives to a keyboard and mouse for people with disabilities. Switches come in many shapes and sizes, and can be used almost anywhere there is a reliable, reproducible physical movement.
The Grid 2 supports the use of up to 8 switches, although most people use just one or two.
Making selections using switches involves a process called scanning, in which cells are highlighted in turn. The Grid 2 has many options for scanning to allow all users to get the most efficient and least frustrating setup. Some of the switch features include:
- Simple or row-column scanning
- Automatic, tap-to-advance or hold-to-advance scans
- Adjustable switch timing
- Hold a switch for a long time for a different action
- Use additional switches for extra functions
- Filtering of accidental switch presses
- Switch settings preview (for testing settings as you change them)
The JoyCable 2 or JoyBox USB Switch Interface must be purchased separately to permit USB switch connection – other switch interfaces are not supported. If you plan to use The Grid 2 on the Dialect 3HD or Optimist 3HD, switch interfaces are not required as the switch ports are already built-in.
- Simple or row-column scanning
- Touch screen
Touch screens are a very common way to access a communication aid. A touch screen provides direct access to the options on the screen.
Using a touch screen in The Grid 2 is straightforward. The following options are available:
- Ignore accidental presses
- Select “on touch”, “on release” or by holding down your finger
- Magnified cells
- Fix grid layouts so that a keyguard can be used
Head pointers such as the Tracker Pro detect head movement. The Grid 2 allows you to make selection with a switch or by resting on a cell, and supports use with other programs via Computer Control.
- Eye gaze
The Grid 2 has comprehensive support for several major eye gaze systems: MyTobii, Alea Intelligaze, LC eye gaze and EyeTech Quick Glance (other systems can be used via the mouse control options). The eye gaze features include:
- Select with dwell, blink or external switch
- User-adjustable selection time
- Selection of ways to show highlight and dwell selection, including option to show/hide the gaze point
- Eye monitor to provide feedback from camera
- Rest function to provide a break from eye gaze
- Keyboard and mouse
You can also access The Grid 2 with a standard or modified keyboard and mouse. The speech and word finding features in The Grid 2 allow quick and effective voice output communication, whilst the simplified email and SMS grids can allow people who are not proficient with computers to access these methods of communication.
The Grid 2 includes all the features you need to use everyday Windows programs, without using a standard keyboard and mouse.
- Control your computer
The Grid 2 can replace either a keyboard, a mouse – or both!
The Grid 2 replaces your keyboard, so you can type into other programs, write Word documents or emails, use the internet and more. The Grid is accessible with switches, touch screen, headpointer, joystick… and many more. All of these can be used for Computer Control.
The Grid 2 also replaces your mouse, so you can move the mouse and click anywhere on the screen.
- Get smart, get fast
The Grid 2 uses smart techniques to speed up access. For example, using switches with The Grid 2 you can access a menu item in a program (for example, saving a document in Word) by moving the mouse to the File menu, then clicking, moving to Save and clicking again. This works, but is quite slow. The Grid 2 also allows you to scan the menu directly – so you scan across to File, and then down to Save. Much faster!
Better yet, for commonly used functions you can set up a single cell to perform the action. For example, you can save in Word by typing Control-s on the keyboard, so the MS Word grids include a cell that types Control-s, providing access to the save function in just one selection!
The dictionary options in The Grid 2 allow you to speed up typing with prediction suggesting complete words as you type, automatic capitalisation, abbreviation expansion… and more.
- Use any software
The Grid 2 can be used with almost all Windows programs. Here are just a few that people use with The Grid 2 every day:
- Word processing (Word, Writing With Symbols 2000, Communicate: In Print 2 ANZ)
- Email (e.g. Outlook, Thunderbird, Hotmail)
- Web browsing (Internet Explorer or Firefox)
- Office software (PowerPoint, Excel)
You can design your own grids for The Grid 2, and it is easy to add support for other programs that you want to use.
Editing grids in The Grid 2 has been designed to be easy and fast.
The dedicated “editing mode” allows you to design grids quickly.
- Common tasks
The common tasks bar on the left changes according to what you have selected, so relevant common tasks are available in one click.
- Mouse and keyboard control
Use the mouse to select several cells, drag-and-drop cells and resize cells quickly. Keyboard shortcuts speed up the most common tasks such as copying cells to the clipboard.
- Quick cell editing
All the options for each cell can be seen on one screen, making it quick to see the setup for a cell.
Quick shortcuts allow you to create vocab cells, keyboard keys, jump cells and other common cells in just a few clicks of the mouse.
- Powerful commands
The cells themselves are programmed using a visual system of commands. Simply select the commands you want and add them to a cell; those commands will then be performed when then cell is selected. For example, adding a “speak” command will speak out loud, whilst adding a “jump” command will jump to another grid.
Built-in Tools for More Communication and Control
The Grid 2 provides more tools designed to make computer functionality available to everyone.
The Grid 2 is supplied with:
- Software CD-ROM
- User Manual, printed and on the CD-ROM in PDF format
- Acapela speech synthesiser. Check out sample Acapela and optional Australian RealSpeak voice sounds.
- Full set of Widgit and SymbolStix Symbols
PCS Metafiles symbol library and Australian RealSpeak voice synthesiser are available as options.
Videos about The Grid 2
- Operating System: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP
- System Memory: 1 GB (2 GB for Vista or higher)
- Hard Drive Space: 1 GB
- Processor: 1.5 GHz or equivalent
- Display: 800×600 (1024×768 recommended), dedicated graphics memory recommended
- Sound Card: Required
- Nokia: 6230, 6310i, 6021
- Sony Ericsson: K530i, K750i, K810i, K850i, T610, W810i, W850i, S500i, W715
- Motorola: V360
The Grid 2 is targeted at the following age ranges:
- All Ages
The Grid 2 is designed to foster development in the areas of:
- Switch use
- Access to computers
- Environmental control
Users can access The Grid 2 in the following ways:
- Mouse/ Trackball/ Joystick
- Single Switch
- Multiple Switches
- Eye Gaze
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and technical support visit:
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