Disability & Accessibility

Startup Creates Touch School Desk for Learners with Disabilities

A Massachusetts startup has built a 32-inch multi-touch table intended to be used as a school desk by students with intellectual, learning and motor disabilities. Sonzia is seeking funding through Kickstarter to distribute its new Touch Easel to "facilities in need."

While the table can be used as a computing or Internet device by a lone student, its multi-touch capability also can work as a collaborative surface for multiple learners. The company said in a statement that this capability "was particularly interesting for facilities where social interaction among clients is a challenging goal."
The Touch Easel can be used as an Internet device by a single student or as a collaborative surface for multiple learners.

In a pilot project at Heartsprings in Wichita, KS, a center for children with special needs, the majority of clients have reported that they prefer it "to any tablet," said Allyson Bell, a clinician at the facility.

New development is focused on creating monitoring features that allow instructors to control and document user activity.

"This is the first assistive device I've ever heard of to help people with motor dysfunction like Parkinson's to get online" said Erwan Bezard, director of the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Bordeaux.

The company has until April 19 to raise an additional $25,000 toward its $49,000 goal, which would enable the organization to donate 20 of the tables. The Touch Screen is also available for purchase for $2,450.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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