Using an Augmentative and Alternative Communication Device to Program and Control Lego Robots

Kim Adams, PhD(c)1,2 , and Al Cook, PhD1

1 University of Alberta
2 Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
Edmonton, Alberta


A Speech Generating Device (SGD) was used by a 12 year old student to participate in a Lego robot programming activity as part of a school curriculum. The infrared capability and mouse emulation capabilities of the SGD were customized to allow the participant to send commands to a car-like robot and control the screen based icons in the robot software to create programs.  The fine cursor control required for some programming tasks was difficult for the participant, but she was able to write a simple program, download it into the robot and then test its operation. This experience allowed her to access a portion of the school curriculum that her peers were studying and also taught her problem solving and logical thinking skills.  The study also revealed underlying challenges that exist when using a SGD for tasks such as programming and control of external devices.


AAC, SGD, mouse emulation, Lego Robots, user performance

Author Contact Information:

Kim Adams,
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
3-48 Corbett Hall
University of Alberta