Software for communication aids

Rather than borrow a laptop or tablet, some people prefer that their own PC or laptop is used.

We are able to lend equipment such as eye-gaze units, or Headmouse cameras and software for this kind of use. We are unable to install licensed communications software, such as The Grid or Tobii Communicator 5, on someone’s own device. However, we can refer people to sources of free software which can be used in their place.

Here is more information about the different types of software available:

The Grid 2 or 3

The Grid 2 or 3 is an immensely versatile and complex program that, at its simplest, can facilitate communication. The on-screen display is a range of boxes which make up a grid. Each box in the grid can be programmed to do one of many possible things. For example some boxes could be programmed to print one letter only, while another displays the printed letters. Other boxes can be programmed to predict text that fits with the letters typed so far, and yet another button can make the program speak the text which has been written. Links can be made between different grids to form sets, for example one link on the screenshot shown can take you to useful phrases, another to numbers and symbols.

A user can control their copy of The Grid in a number of ways.

  • It is compatible with most eye-gaze systems such as those made by Tobii and Alea,
  • It can be used in a scanning mode and controlled by simple switch controls,
  • “Mouse emulators” such as SmartNAV, Quha Zono or Headmouse can control it as well as a standard mouse,
  • It can be voice controlled too.


Tobii Dynavox Compass and Communicator 5 Software

The Compass and Communicator 5 Software sets are designed to work with Tobii Dynavox eye-gaze AAC devices. In use they have a look and feel that will be familiar to users of The Grid 2 or 3. Communicator 5 can be used with Tobii eye gaze, switches, touch or all widely used alternative pointing device. While being specifically designed for the Tobii Dynavox I-Series+, Tobii M8 and the Tobii Eye Mobile, Communicator 5 works on any Windows computer running Windows 7 or newer.


Free communications software

Due to the price of licences we are unable to install purchased software such as those mentioned above on a person’s own PC or Laptop.

However there is a range of software which is free to download and install on the iPad, Android and Windows operated devices.

For users of iPhones, iPads and Android tablets and phones the most common kinds of use, due to the nature of the devices, will be text to speech applications. For those with Android devices a search on Google Play will give a list of text to speech apps which can be downloaded and installed while those with iOS devices from Apple will find similar apps on the Apple Apps Store. Use the search phrases “text to speech” or “TTS” to see what is currently available. Some of the better apps are listed under “Medical”.

Whether you are using the Apps Store or Google Play, some free downloads do have the option of “in-app purchases” for different additional functions. Before committing to one, check out a range of apps to see which you like best and look for online reviews to see what the in-app purchases entail.



Type of Device Works with
Grid Player iPad Touch input
ClaroCom iPad Touch input
Gazespeaker Windows Eyegaze, keyboard or mouse
Balabolka Windows Eyegaze, keyboard or mouse
Speak it Triple Android Touch input
Text to Speech Android Touch input



Have a question? Contact us for more information.

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