Freedom is a four-channel device switcher that allows one switch to be routed to up to four devices, allowing a disabled user to select for him/herself which device the switch is to be used with at any point in time. Selecting the device can be achieved either by an extended press of the input switch, or by momentarily pressing a secondary select switch (where the user has the motor capabilities to operate two switches). Where an extended press is to be used, the duration of the press may be programmed from the keypad.
Devices may be of any form, provided they have a conventional switch input via a 3.5mm jack socket. Typical configurations might comprise a communicator, a mobile telephone and a tablet computer. Some devices (for example the phone and tablet in the above example) may require additional equipment to allow connectivity, such as the APPlicator from Pretorian.
The number of devices present may be programmed into the unit, so that unused devices are not included when moving from device to device.
Furthermore, once all the necessary settings have been made, the keypad may be locked, preventing further changes. This allows a rehabilitation centre to configure the unit and then send it to the client without fear of the settings being changed, for example.
Freedom operates from a rechargeable lithium battery which is charged via a standard USB cable, or alternatively the unit may be permanently powered using a power pack or wheelchair auxiliary port. When using the battery, the unit will operate for several weeks without ever needing to manually turn off the power. This is vital since the user may not be able to turn off the power.
Both audible and visible low battery indicators are provided to prompt the user the recharge and if the battery should become exhausted, the unit ‘fails safe’ by routing the main switch to device 1, allowing the switch still to be used on the most important device. If the device is, for example, a warden call system or a mobile phone, help may then be summoned to rectify the situation.
All four outputs are fully isolated so the unit can work with devices which do not share the same ground/ earth connection. Freedom is supplied with a charging cable and four device connection cables.