Producer: Sensory App House Ltd.
Compatibility: iOS and Android
Sensory App House Ltd. has released a series of sensory apps designed for, “simulation, relaxation, [and] fun”. Electra, Magma, iMeba, and Plazma are four apps from this series that specifically focus on cause & effect interactions. Electra and iMeba are advertised as sensory stimulation apps and targeted towards individuals with special or complex needs. In contrast, Magma and Plazma have been designed as calming, relaxation apps and advertised to a wider demographic as appropriate for all ages. All four apps are switch compatible and advertisement/in-app purchase free. At this time only Electra and iMeba are available for Android (under the names Sensory Electra and Sensory Ameba), though all four apps are available for iOS.
- No settings screen which allows for quick access for use and prevents unintentional changes by users;
- High contrast images ideal for users with visual impairments;
- Low-stimulation graphics when idle to maintain user interest without inadvertent reward;
- Sound and high-stimulation graphics upon user input for immediate reinforcement;
- Simple design makes apps extremely user friendly;
- Compatible for use with AppleTV and could potentially be used in a designated sensory space, or with a small group for peer-to-peer interactions.
- Sound effects are short and slightly jarring which may encourage repetitive stimming behaviour;
- iMeba is significantly less reactive than its sister apps and requires user accuracy to initiate a response, making it less suitable for individuals with motor or coordination impairments;
- When tested with various switches on iPad, Apple’s accessibility switch default settings override app programming allowing only one response verses the four different responses as advertised (though this may not apply to all switches).
Ease of Use: Grab and Go ★★★★★
Adaptability: No Modification Options ★☆☆☆☆
Accessibility: Broad Range of Users Served ★★★★☆
Cost vs. Value: Free ★★★★★
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Sensory App House Ltd. has put obvious thought into the needs of the frontline caregiver when creating these apps. The choice to not include a settings screen, allow advertisements, or in-app purchases, makes all four of these apps truly ‘grab and go’. Enabling Apple’s Guided Access feature prior to use will ensure that the screen remains on during each session and that the user is able to use the app without risk of accidently closing the program or inadvertently swiping over to another unintended app.
All four of these apps are ideal for sensory integration activities, teaching case & effect, introducing single step switch operation, and are appropriate for a broad range of users. The ability to modify some settings, such as reaction speed, sounds, colours, etc., would be a valuable feature that hopefully will be available in future updates, though at this time it is not. Regardless, Electra, Magma, iMeba, and Plazma are four apps that would be useful additions to any frontline caregiver’s toolkit, and well worth the download.