Comspec & ComLink
The project: Comspec
Usually it isn't easy to connect hardware and software - such as switches, a word processor for a
graphical language and a speech synthesizer - and make all these
things work together. Manufacturers and users of rehabilitation software know that from experience.
Comspec, a European project, aimed at developing standards for software for disabled people. With the standards, components can be made in such a way that they are "made for each other". Within the Comspec project some Comspec-defined components have been made, as well as a program to join components into one application (ComLink). The project ended in 1998.
Contact Handicom when you are interested in the Comspec-definitions.
The software: ComLink
ComLink is in fact a do-it-yourself kit, with which components - that meet the standards developed
in Comspec - can be put together to form one application. The application
could be a speaking clock, or environment control, a game, or teaching
material, or any other application that you would like to build.
Making ComLink applications is teamwork. A trained staff member of a rehabilitation centre configures the application. A speech trainer adds vocabulary
components to the application (without having to have technical knowledge of the
components). A facilitator makes a toolbar with buttons to allow the user to make minor changes to the application, e.g. to put the volume down.
ComLink consists of four editors. It depends on your task, which editor (or editors) you will use.
- Configuration Editor: to select and link the components used in an application. Most components have settings, which can be adjusted via the Property Display.
- Layout Editor: to design selection sets and screen layout, as seen by the end-user.
- Vocabulary Editor: to add the language resources used by an application
- Toolbar Editor: to design a toolbar with simple controls to make changes to, for example, scan speed or volume.
If you want to read more about ComLink, visit the ComLink pages.
ComLink has been written in Java, a multi-platform language.
However, some componentens (such as digitised speech output and switches) are platform specific. Therefore ComLink can only be used on Windows 95 or Windows NT.
To run ComLink effectively you need at least a 166MHz Pentium with 32 Mb RAM. Full installation of the program requires 18 MB disk space, minimal installation takes 8.2 MB.
Extra space is needed to install JRE (Java Runtime Environment). If you don't have JRE, download it from Sun's website. (N.B. Comlink was developed with version 1.1 and hasn't been tested with later versions.)
This download contains the fully functional demo of ComLink version 1.0: ComLink.zip (7,4 MB).