Sip and puff

This assistive technology is a form of switch system that sends signals through air pressure by having users sip (inhale) or puff (exhale) through a tube, straw or wand.

Related terms

Illustration: A person with glasses on sits at their desktop computer with a sip and puff device positioned near their mouth. Two monitors sit on the desk, with one showing a moving cursor to represent the control the user has through inhale and exhale actions.
Illustration: A person with glasses on sits at their desktop computer with a sip and puff device positioned near their mouth. Two monitors sit on the desk, with one showing a moving cursor to represent the control the user has through inhale and exhale actions.

Long definition

The Sip and Puff (or SNP) device was invented by Bill Cameron to help his cousin Neil Squire communicate after he became quadriplegic following a car accident.

The original SNP used a form of sips and puffs to translate air pressure into morse code, which is a system of dots and dashes representing alphabetical letters. With SNP air pressure signalling morse code, a user could “breathe” their statement out without needing to verbalize words or gesture in sign language.

Today, SNP devices have evolved to be customizable to the user.

Users can calibrate their SNP device to recognize their personal ability to sip and puff, which opens opportunities to further program their device to complete certain customized tasks like navigating elements of a webpage, opening links, or activating buttons.

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