Edit videos - without touching mouse, screen or keyboard

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim with Mr Christopher Hills and his father Garry, who held a workshop on tech tools to help people with disabilities.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim with Mr Christopher Hills and his father Garry, who held a workshop on tech tools to help people with disabilities.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Mr Christopher Hills, 21, can edit videos using Apple devices - without touching a screen, mouse or keyboard.

The Australian, who was born with athetoid cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic, has limited control over his muscles and speech, and involuntary, convoluted movements of his limbs.

But, he can use his neck muscles and a button on his wheelchair headrest to use Switch Control, an accessibility tool that helps him to type, select, tap and drag items in Apple devices without touching a screen.

Mr Hills - who started his own video-editing business in 2014 in his home country - and his father Garry, 57, conducted a workshop in Singapore yesterday, to show about a dozen people with physical disabilities how to use Switch Control and other accessibility tools in Apple devices. These tools are already on Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones. The workshop was held at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim also attended the session.

This is the second of four workshops organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Apple to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of assistive technologies for people with disabilities, as part of the Government's efforts to build a digitally-inclusive society.

The first was held in April for people who are blind. Upcoming sessions will be held for people with hearing and intellectual disabilities.

IMDA is also partnering other technology firms such as Microsoft, and plans to train about 160 people with disabilities to be "assistive technology ambassadors" this year.

People interested to go for such workshops can contact IMDA to be included in the mailing list.

At yesterday's session, participants also learnt about other accessibility features useful for people who have weak control over their hands. Graphic designer Kelvin Yong, 28, who has muscular dystrophy, said: "I'll consider using Switch Control after I find out more about how to get the switches needed. I currently use a mouse at work, but it requires a lot of effort."

The senior Mr Hills said the device on his son's wheelchair headrest cost about A$80 (S$83), but noted that other switches - such as those controlled with the chin or foot - could be used with Switch Control.

He said his son has edited videos on his iMac desktop for clients including a a government organisation in Australia."If some people are shut out, the whole society would be poorer, economically and socially."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Edit videos - without touching mouse, screen or keyboard'. Print Edition | Subscribe