RESNA 27th International Annual Confence
Use of DynaVox® Augmentative and Assistive Communication Device to Access PlayStation 2®
PlayStation 2® is a video game entertainment unit with DVD player produced by Sony Computer Entertainment America®. DynaVox® is an augmentative communication device that has infrared environmental control capabilities, produced by DynaVox Systems®. In this article, we will provide simple instructions and information on how to program a DynaVox 3100®, via the DynaVox® infrared ECU (Environmental Control Unit) functions, to perform/function as a game controller for PlayStation 2®. The DynaVox 3100® and DynaMyte 3100® have been successfully programmed and used to play certain games on PlayStation 2® via the infrared environmental control unit functions on the DynaVox®. This provides the user with several options for user technology interface, e.g. single switch scanning, direct select on touch screen via head pointer or hand. This is a fun and exciting way to provide independent recreational activity for people with disabilities and an excellent means of practicing accessing assistive technology and improving visual motor coordination.
DynaVox, DynaMyte, PlayStation, infrared ECU control
This article is intended to provide practitioners and consumers with easy to follow procedures for utilizing the DynaVox 3100® or DynaMyte 3100® to access PlayStation 2®. Finding out how to do this simple application of an ECU took a significant amount of time. This article provides simple instructions and information on how to program a DynaVox 3100, via the DynaVox infrared ECU functions, to perform/function as a game controller for PlayStation 2®. It also provides basic information about PlayStation 2®. We began exploring this application after a parent's suggestion that her physically disabled son wanted to play PlayStation. The student currently uses a DynaVox3100®, which he accesses using single switch auditory scanning. At that time, the student had just learned how to use the DynaVox® as an ECU for his TV and DVD player. The DynaVox® was programmed for environmental control use via an infrared (IR) signal from the TV and DVD infrared remote controls.
After receiving this student's request we started exploring different possibilities. It seemed logical that a wireless infrared remote control for PlayStation 2®, if it existed, would perform in the same manner as the TV and DVD remote controls. Our investigation revealed that there are companies that make wireless game controllers for PlayStation 2®. However, the only ones we located worked on radio frequency (RF) rather than infrared (IR).
Although this avenue of pursuit was fruitless, another tactic proved to be successful. PlayStation 2® can also be used as a DVD player, operated by a PlayStation 2® DVD infrared remote control. This remote also contains buttons for game control. These buttons will allow game play with this remote. However, because the infrared remote was not designed for game play, it does not work with all games.
It is necessary to have a PlayStation 2® and the PlayStation 2® infrared DVD remote control. (We have used the DVD remote with IR Receiver Unit, manufactured by Sony, model # SCPH 10171, which can be found on the PlayStation® web site http://www.us.playstation.com/hardware/more/ ). The remote control costs approximately $19.99 and Playstation2® costs approximately $179.99.
The first step is to follow the directions for set up of the PlayStation 2® and DVD remote control. The infrared remote comes with an infrared receiver that is plugged into the front of the PlayStation 2® in the game controller port. Be sure to remove the cellophane wrapper from the infrared receiver. Next, you need to program the DynaVox® with the name of the device (PlayStation 2®) and the operations it will be performing (e.g., right and left), and then "teach" the DynaVox® those operations using the PlayStation 2® remote control. Follow the procedures outlined on pages 195-198 in Reference to Commands, Menus, and Step-by-Step Instructions: DynaVox Software (1).
After the infrared learning procedure has been completed, a page must be created on the DynaVox® for the PlayStation 2® game control functions. This will be the "controller" page. Again, follow the procedures in the reference manual for putting in the function or functions for each "button"; the functions are programmed in the Verbal Cue. When the DynaVox® user and/or programmer becomes familiar with specific games, the DynaVox® "controller" page can be customized to maximize efficiency in game play (i.e. having multiple buttons on the page for frequently used game functions may make it easier for someone who has difficulties with access).
It is helpful to initially play the games using the PlayStation 2® IR DVD remote, prior to trying the game with the DynaVox®, in order to assess the difficulty of the game and to make sure the game can be played using an infrared remote. In one game, we found we were able to start the game using the IR DVD remote but were unable to make the moves necessary to play the game. Interestingly, while the IR DVD remote is unable to produce two different button controls simultaneously or in quick succession, the DynaVox® "buttons" can be programmed to contain more than one operation (e.g. right and X). This produces in a quick succession of the two commands. Some more advanced moves on many games require two different game control buttons being hit simultaneously or in a quick secession to perform various moves.
Unfortunately, the DVD infrared remote control for PlayStation 2® does not work as a controller for all PlayStation® games. After multiple times contacting the PlayStation® assistance phone number (1-800-345-7669), we were informed that the infrared remote was not designed for game control. Nevertheless, SCEA® (Sony Computer Entertainment America), producers of PlayStation, provided us with a list of games, which were published by SCEA, that do work with the DVD infrared remote control. There are numerous companies that produce games to be played on PlayStation® and PlayStation 2®. SCEA® was only able to provide information on the games they produce. Through much trial and error we have come across some games by various companies that can also be played using the infrared remote control. We have begun to compile a list of games that work using the infrared remote and some brief notes on games we have been able to try.
Any student currently using a DynaVox® augmentative communication device has the potential to be set up to use the PlayStation 2® video game system. Once the DynaVox® is programmed and the PlayStation 2® is set up, you can play using whatever means are used to access the DynaVox®. We have successfully used single switch scanning and direct selection via a head pointer to play PlayStation 2® with a DynaVox®.
The ability to play games on the PlayStation2® game system has provided children and young adults with a powerful and motivating activity to practice and improve the use of their assistive technology access and also to improve visual motor skills. For those who are typically only able to observe video game play, playing PlayStation 2® games is a thrilling and exciting opportunity to be independently engaged in a leisure activity.
The administration, staff and students of the Henry Viscardi School
Maureen Aliani, OTR/L, ATP,
Sue Giles, CCC-SLP
The Henry Viscardi School
201 IU Willets Rd
Albertson, NY 11507