Had a bit of a play with the new USB Switch from Pretorian Technologies when I was visiting the Hollybank Trust the other day. The idea is simple, you plug the switch directly into the computer via an available USB socket and the switch is ready to go. No drivers, no switch box needed. It’s a medium sized switch much like the Jelly Bean from Ablenet and can be mounted in the same way. Like the Simply Works range also from Pretorian, this new switch has the same LED display and small buttons on the base to set switch functions like space and enter plus some new features like switch acceptance delays and multiple press filtering. Two 3.5mm sockets have been added to enable you to plug in standard wired switches.
I like anything that simplifies the process of using switches for colleagues in the classroom and a plug and play switch without drivers sounds fab… but… I’m not a fan of the LED and buttons on this or the Simply Works switches.
To use them properly you need to know what key presses the switch needs to emulate to operate the software you are using. If it’s an Inclusive Technology program, it’s always SPACE for switch 1 and ENTER for switch 2. Switch software from other companies use different keys often 1 for switch 1 and 2 for switch 2. Getting this right requires somebody in the classroom knowing which software requires which key presses. Best keep that switch manual handy.
Another problem is the USB cable which plugs into the computer AND into the back of the switch. Some of our students just love to pull those wires and I can envisage lots of frustration when the student unplugs the cable from the switch over and over when they tug on the wire. What a shame that the cable couldn’t have been molded onto the switch.
Available in purple (and only purple) to differentiate the USB Switch from the iSwitch which has an identical case. The USB switch is available from Inclusive Technology for £79.00 + VAT