Plaphoons

Figure 1

Plaphoons is a communication tool for people physically handicapped, for example people with cerebral palsy. It can also serve for learning reading and writing and helping to control the computer for these people. Also can help other people with communication difficulties as persons with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), people with Down syndrome, etc.

Source: Projecte Fressa

Product identification
Version/Model
v:974
Published
Application type
Desktop
Discontinued
No
Information source
Website of the entity
Features
Figure 2
  • Conversation with symbols.
  • Text conversation.
  • Creation and edition of boards (plaphons) quickly.
  • Many access options.
    • Scan
    • Switches
    • Touch screen
    • Head mouse
    • Gazing mouse
    • Mouse and keyboard
    • "Color Ull"
  • Languages
  • Word prediction
  • MSAgent synthesizers
  • Recorded messages

Communicator features
General
Text communication
Yes
Symbols communication
Yes
Cells/Keys
441 (21 x 21)
Included symbols
No
Symbols library
Storage of boards/resources
Local storage
Access
Access method
Scanning with a switch
Scanning with one or more switches
Scanning with pointing device
Scanning with keyboard
Voice scan control
Direct with pointing device
Eye gaze
Touch screen
Scanning
Yes
Scanning specs

Menu Control offers some submenus that can activate another kind of access systems.

  1. Automatic scanning
  2. Manual scanning (to move, right-click)
  3. Automatic scanning activated by right-click pressed

In all cases there are two alternatives.

  1. Without vertical scanning. Designed especially for younger children that they may have difficulty in the concept, vertical scnannig, and after, horizontal scanning.
  2. When click, don't initialize the mouse position. Normally in scanning when a box is pressed, the scanning begins again in the beginning (top left corner). By this option, the scanning follows in the same place.
Image of the Plaphoons Control menu
Figure 3 — Control Menu

 

Autoclick
Yes
Interface
Feedback
Text-to-speech
Audio recording
Sound
Visual
Speech synthesis
Yes
Audio files
Yes
Users
Multiuser
No
Management by end-user
No
Boards
Board design
Rows by columns
Board creation and edition
Integrated in the application
Boards hierarchical structure
Yes
Writing Area
Not editable
Pictograms
Text
Cells
Cells type
Communication
Navigation
To open external programs
Cells shape
Rectangular
Cell size
Automatic, according to the number of cells
Create symbols using "Drag and drop"
No
Supportive Writing and Printing
Virtual keyboard
Board creation
Word processing function
No
Text prediction
Yes
Symbol prediction
No
Write in external program
Yes
Print
Screen board
Personal organizer
Calculator
Yes
Advanced functions
Interactive educational games
Yes
Help resources
Example boards
Yes
Built-in help
Yes
User's manual
Yes
Further properties / Remarks
  • Does not include pictograms, except those used in the example boards. It is advisable to download the symbols for free from the Araasac page.
  • If you allow Can edit with Drag/Drop in the Edit menu, you can swap the contents of two cells and if there are two Plaphoons windows running simultaneously, you can drag/drop a cell from one window to the other. The original window cell is not lost.
  • The writing area (message bar) supports up to 21 cells, but on one line.
  • Plaphoons is the management program to create the boards that are used in AndroidPlaphoons.

Specifications / Requirements
System
Multi platform
Yes
Operating system
Windows
Language
Catalan
Spanish
Euskera
French
Galician
English
Portuguese
Internal storage
24 MB
Comments / Specifications / Additional Requirements
  • Although there is no information on the technical requirements for the operation of the program, the truth is that it is a lightweight computer application without great demands on the system.

Product suitability
Table 1 - User functional requirements
Disability Functional description ICF code Qualifier Product use
Physical Control of simple voluntary movements b7600.1 MILD problem It is possible to use the product with a MILD level of difficulty in this functional description
Physical Control of complex voluntary movements b7601.3 SEVERE problem It is possible to use the product with a SEVERE level of difficulty in this functional description
Visual Visual acuity functions b2100.1 MILD problem It is possible to use the product with a MILD level of difficulty in this functional description
Auditory Speech discrimination b2304.3 SEVERE problem It is possible to use the product with a SEVERE level of difficulty in this functional description
Cognitive Intellectual functions b117.2 MODERATE problem It is possible to use the product with a MODERATE level of difficulty in this functional description
Table 2 - Application scope, product features
Functional description ICF code Qualifier Product function that solves the difficulty
Communicating with receiving-spoken messages d310.4 COMPLETE problem Communication boards
Writing messages d345.4 COMPLETE problem Communication boards
Producing signs and symbols d3351.4 COMPLETE problem Communication boards
Suitability according to the manufacturer
  • If the motor control of the user is not enough to tap the tablet, Plaphoons offers a lot of other ways to control the program.
  • And also can help adults who have lost the ability to speak because of have been injured  or having an illness.

More information
Compatibility
Comments about compatibility
  • All types of adapted input peripherals, such as mouses and keyboards, should be considered complementary products.

Commercial information
License type
Proprietary software
Distribution method
Free

Sellers / Distributors of Plaphoons

Entities that distribute the product
Table of entities that sell or distribute the product In the first column the name of the suppliers is shown, in the second "Territory" the countries where they are commercialized, in the third if it is sold by electronic commerce, in the fourth face-to-face sale and the fifth sale on request (telephone, form, mail etc.)
Entity Country E-commerce Physical Store Tele-commerce
Projecte Fressa Internet, Spain

Analysis and evaluation
Rating functional information (0-5)
4.5
Rating technical information (0-5)
1.0
Overall rating (0-5)
4.0

Positive
  • Plaphoons has been evolving and improving over many years thanks to the contributions of users and the responsiveness of its creator, Jordi Lagares, to their demands.
  • The program has numerous access options to manage it, covering the needs of the different disability profiles.
  • It does not require installation, it is simply downloaded, unzipped and placed in the directory that the user wants.
  • It is well documented and with many examples to learn how to handle it.
  • Despite its complexity, it is intuitive and easy to learn.
Improvable
  • The program does not allow storing the message as a document. This is a rare functionality in communicators.
  • The graphic design of cells and boards has limitations that do not allow for overly creative styles. For example, cells can only be rectangular, they cannot be circles or rectangles with rounded corners. But it is a minor problem.
Conclusions

Plaphoons is a very complete communicator, with functionalities suggested by the users themselves to its author over the years. As a communicator it is quite powerful, so the design of the boards requires a certain period of training, using the documentation, examples and video tutorials available on the Projecte Fressa website.

I believe that few communication programs have their range of access options to manage the program, thus adapting to almost any type of physical disability.