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Patrick and his Tobii C15

Tobii C15 User Story Making communication much easier

Patrick and his Tobii C15 Tobii C15 User Story Making communication much easier
Patrick and his Tobii C15 Tobii C15 User Story Making communication much easier


Patrick and his Tobii C15

Now I fill my life with

shopping, going to theaters, concerts

Over my life, I have tried a whole raft of communication systems, from the Toby Churchchill’s Lightwriter to a Smartbox, all with a 2-step switch scan system, which I used head switches for. I was quite fast but not fast enough to keep up with what I was thinking of. This is no lie, but I always wished, I could have a direct input method that I could use with my eyes; so when I came to Naidex, last year and saw the Eyegaze (Tobii C15 with CEye) fully working, I thought, from hell or high water, I MUST have one!!

A year on, here I am! I had to wait several

months, for my financial people to release the money, in order to go ahead with the purchase; but since December 2010, the Tobii C15, has changed my life, in making communication much easier all round.

I went first to the Spastic Society’s Craig

y Parc School, in South Wales, from 5

to17 years of age. At Craig y Parc, I used

a possum typewriter and hand switches

to operate it. The Physio Therapist always

wanted me to use my hands, but when they were out of the classroom, I reverted to use my nose, because it was far easier!

My name is Patrick Bates and I am 43 years of age. I am severely physically disabled, with Cerebral Palsy. I live in Coventry, with 24hr care.

based communication system, I learned over 1000 words and accessed it via another grid reference system, but this time, I used an Etran Frame by looking at 2 corresponding numbers.

A year before I left Craig Y Parc, a local

school, to where Mum, Dad and I were living, in South Wales, raised £4,000, for my first computer and a communication aid. So my first computer was a BBC Beeb, and an Elfin Emulator, which I operated with head switches.

I left Craig y Parc, in 1985, to go to the

National Star College near Cheltenham, for

3 years, and it was the first time I boarded.

I took my first exam here. I had my first

communication aid, it was the Elfin Portable Communicator.

The Portable Communicator (PC) was an excellent device and, for that time period, it was advanced, also it went on my electric wheelchair, so I could drive through the PC.

Amongst the qualifications I did was, GCSE Computers and I passed it, mind you, the exam took me 3 days to complete!

In 1988, I got a place at Hereward College

days to complete! In 1988, I got a place at Hereward College Social Sciences. By this

Social Sciences. By this stage, my Portable Communicator gave up the ghost. This put me at a disadvantage really and I got behind with my essays; despite having 6 years to do my degree, so am afraid I asked my friend to write the essays up, from my notes and book research; but I did the editing of the essays. After having an extra year, to complete my degree, I came through with a 2.2 with honors.

I feel if I had a chance to take my degree again, using my Eyegaze (Tobii C15), I could keep up with my essays and seminar work, and go on to do a MA.

Now, I fill my life with going shopping, going to theaters, concerts, computers, traveling, going on holiday, photography, meeting people, etc. Since writing this, it has spurred me on to write my life story.

The first communication method I used was


Coventry. Here, I studied amongst other


the Bliss Symbols, which I learned over 400 symbols, I used a basic grid reference

qualifications, 4 further GCSEs and a BTEC in Business and Finance. I was at

(in fact, to this day, I use the Elfin Emulator


system to access it. Numbers and letters were on a long board, and I pointed to a number and letter to find the Bliss Symbol. Again, I was supposed to use my hands, but invariably, it was my nose; of course, when

Hereward College, 8 years and throughout, my PC worked. But of course, the BBC Beeb computer was replaced by IBM and Windows; but I still used the Elfin Emulator.

P.S. This document has taken me 7 hours, to write on my Tobii C15, compared with about 4 days, if I was using my switches with my computer

the Physio Therapist wasn’t looking!!


access my desktop computer).

When I was 14 years of age, the Speech Therapist moved me on to Splink, a word

After Hereward, I secured a place at Coventry University, to study Applied

Note: Patrick uses his Tobii C15 to paint. To see his work, please visit

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