Friday, January 15, 2021

Switching it up

 Hey Tek-ninjas! Today I want to talk about a recent find that has me excited. 

Warfighter Engaged is "a 501(C)3, volunteer charitable non-profit with a mission to improve the lives of severely wounded and disabled warfighters through custom adapted devices. They modify video game controllers, make prosthetic enhancements, recreational and other novel devices for greater independence". For access to communication systems or computers and the population many of us work with, this means switches! 

A friend mentioned them on Facebook, and when I went to check them out, I was impressed by their mission AND their low prices. Today, my order arrived, and I'm equally  impressed by their build quality. 

I purchased a single switch, called the Solo. This switch has a nice heft to it. It appears to be made with a 3D printer, and the action on the button feels good. Additionally, it has non skid rubber feet, and sticks nicely to my wooden dinning room table. The Solo retailed for the unbelievably low price of $28. Competition, if you don't know, retails for $60 and up. If this was the only product they offer, I'd be impressed, but it's not! 

I also purchased a double switch, called the Duo-T. This switch has the same build quality, button action, and rubber feet on the bottom. It retails for only $55. I paired it with Snap Core First on an iSeries. I setup a scanning page with 2-step scanning and was very pleased to see it work with no other editing. 

In my eagerness I purchased the Mouse-X, a joystick and mouse interface. It retails for $30. This is 100% my fault, but in my eagerness, and because I didn't read the decription, I was thinking it was simply a switch to PC interface. It's not - it's much more. I reached out to Warfighter Engaged, they heard my issue, and responded to me within a few hours. Ken offered to customize it to what I need. He was so accommodating. I opted to keep it, and order another one, getting it customized to my needs. I'll report back when I've tried it. 

Finally, this is out of stock, but they offer a Proximity switch called the SOLOProx for only $45. If you don't know, a proximity switch is a non-contact sensor switch device. It will act like a switch when you place your hand or finger within 1.5cm (3/4”) of the top surface.  As soon as it comes into stock, you bet, I'll order one.  A leading producing of proximity switches retails theirs for $225. I'll report back after I get one! 

So. If you are in need of switches to facilitate communication or computer access, consider checking out Warfighter Engaged. Their products are top notch. They are super affordable. They are working hard to facilitate and provide access to meaningful occupations for our wounded and disabled veterans. And if you don't find what you need, it's very likely they can and will be willing to fabricate it for you! 

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