There are 4 buttons on the LabQuest device, which are named as follows: Power, Collect, Back, and Home.
The Power button:
The Power button is location on the top of the device. If the user presses the power button and releases quickly, it will suspend the device saying “Suspending”. Similarly, press it while the device is suspended, and it will resume. If the user holds down the power button for a few seconds, it will shut the device down saying “Starting power down, power down in 10 seconds”. Again, pressing it while powered down will power it back up.
From being suspended the LabQuest should start talking almost immediately (please note that while in suspense mode this does cause it to consume some power so if it doesn’t start try plugging it in) but from a full shutdown it will be up to 40 seconds before you hear the 1st beep indicating it is initializing the voice, after the beep and about 5 more seconds it should say “Starting Talking LabQuest please wait”, with up to 20 seconds following that until it says “starting LabQuest Application please wait” at which point the device is fully on.
The Collect button:
There is a cluster of three buttons on the right side of the front of the device. The button closest to the top of the device is the collect button. The collect button is used to begin data collection when in one of the main Panels of the LabQuest Application. These Panels are the Sensor Panel, the Graph Panel, the Data Table Panel, and the Notes Panel. When the Collect button is pressed anywhere but in one of those panels, it does nothing. When it’s pressed within one of those panels, and there is an active sensor attached, it begins data collection for the mode specified in the Sensor Panel, and forces the user to the Sensor Panel for the duration of collection. Alternatively, the F3 key on the keyboard may be used for the same purpose.
The Back button:
There is a cluster of three buttons on the right side of the front of the device. The button closest to the bottom of the LabQuest is the back button. The back button closes apps, and returns the user to one screen up from where they were. Alternatively, the escape key on the keyboard may be used for the same purpose.
The Home button:
There is a cluster of three buttons on the right side of the front of the device. The center button is the home button. The home button toggles the user between the current active app, and the main desktop. Alternatively, the F4 key on the keyboard may be used for the same purpose.
The TLQ supports the use of an external keyboard. Users are encourages to navigate with tab and back tab to get from widget to widget. To navigate within a widget, the arrow keys are the most effective navigation.
There are also several buttons on the keyboard that have specific functions:
F1 makes LabQuest speak softer
F2 makes the LabQuest speak louder
F3 starts/stops data collection when within the LabQuest App
F4 Toggles between the current active app and the main desktop
F5 makes LabQuest speak slower
F6 makes LabQuest speak faster
F7 announces the current battery status
F8 if set properly under system folder will announce the current time
F10 opens menus
F11 toggles high contrast mode on/off
F12 and Shift+F12 may be used to toggle between tabs in the LabQuest App
Within the calculator app you may arrow around the calculator’s functions and press the Space Bar to select a function. Please note while you may use the numbers and operators on the keyboard, at this time only the numbers will voice so we suggest arrowing to the proper operator and pressing the Space Bar to assure proper function selection has been input. Pressing Enter is equivalent to selecting equals and C may be pressed to clear all.
Within the Periodic Table you may use the arrow keys or Tab and Shift+Tab to move between elements on the table. You may press and hold with the stylus or your finger to slightly magnify the currently selected element if desired. Pressing the Enter key on the keyboard will open up facts about an element including a physical description, melting point, boiling point, and many others. To exit out of a selected element fact page simply press Escape on the keyboard to return to the Periodic Table.
Types of widgets and how to interact with them:
Static text or generic Focus-point:
Static Text or Focus Points are best tabbed through. Problems arise when the user attempts to left or right arrow through text. This will cause the device to try to navigate within the widget by arrowing through letter by letter without reading any information to the user. Text is not announced as what it is, so chances are if the user doesn’t hear a role associated with something the device speaks, they’re in text. Text is best Tabbed through. There is no other function associated with text, it’s merely informative to the user.
Text-entry-boxes and Numeric-entry-boxes:
Text-entry-boxes have some of the most complex behaviours of a single widget, and demand their own section for explanation. Arrowing left and right will change the cursor position on existing letters just as it would with any word-processing software. At the end of an entry, the device will notify the user by saying “Blank.”
Arrowing up and down within an entry-box will allow the user to change the character they’re currently positioned on. It will edit based on the currently selected character set. Arrowing up or down when on the “Blank” character will insert a new character at the end of an entry.
Pressing the O.K. key will change the character set currently selected. For Numeric-entry-boxes there’s only one character set, and that’s numbers. For Text-entry-boxes there are 4 entry modes: Lower case letters, upper case letters, symbols, and numbers.
Pressing the Menu button will bring up the Clipboard menu, where users can delete a character, insert a character into the middle of an entry, select all, copy, cut, or paste their entries.
Combo-boxes are simple, and pretty unchanged from what one might expect. Pressing up and down on a Combo-box will allow the user to change the option selected within the combo-box without opening it. It will also announce itself in shorthand, without corrected units, meaning that it will say ‘s’ instead of ‘seconds’ when it isn’t open. The user can press O.K. on the combo-box to open it, then up and down navigate through it with fully spoken units. This is the recommended method of using combo boxes. Pressing O.K. again will close the combo-box, then the user is free to Tab away.
There is no special navigation associated with Push-buttons. They are simply a widget that a user navigates to, and presses O.K. on to confirm their selection. Each Push-button on a page is treated as its own widget, and is not skipped by Tab or Back Tab.
Radio-buttons come in sets, and are treated as a single widget by Tab and Back Tab. However there is never a single Radio-button all by itself. If the user encounters a Radio-button, arrowing left and right will reveal all the other Radio-button options available. The default button that a user will fall on with Tab and Back Tab is whichever Radio-button is currently selected, meaning that the user is not always dropped on the left most button, or the right most button. Other than that, the only other navigation is pressing O.K. on an unselected Radio-button will select it, and deselect all others within the set of Radio-buttons.
Check-boxes do not come in sets. They will tell the user whether they are checked or not. And Pressing O.K. on a Check-box will change whether it is checked or not checked. No other special navigation is required for Check-boxes.
Expandable Sections conceal and reveal information. When they’re opened, all their information is navigable, and revealed. Conversely, when they’re closed, the information within them is inaccessible, and hidden. Opening and closing an Expandable Section is done by simply pressing the O.K. button on it.
There is only one other piece of information on Expandable Sections. Navigating within them is the same as navigating anywhere else, except where the left arrow key is concerned. If the user left arrows all the way to the left side of inside of the Expandable Section, they will be returned to the Expandable Section’s header.
When the user encounters a Menu, it means that arrowing Right will reveal new Menu Items. Subsequently, if the user has arrowed right to get to the items inside a Menu, they can then arrow Left to get back out. Arrowing up and down will take the user to other Menus and Menu Items within the current Menu.
Menu Items aptly named, as they are items within a Menu. Pressing O.K. on a Menu Item will mean the associated action will be taken.
Sliders range from 1 to 100, and by left and right arrowing on them, the user can change the value. Left lowers the value, while right raises it.
Page-tabs are at the top of some dialogues. Page-tabs some in sets of two or more, meaning that to Tab they are treated as a single widget. Arrowing left and right when on a page-tab will reveal the other Page-tabs available. Once arrowed to, the page below the tab will have changed, and options will be different.
The Graph Panel is something that shows up within the LabQuest Application Graph Panel Menu dialogues. There is no navigation associated with it, no information to be collected from it. It merely informs the user that there is a Graph displayed on the dialogue.
Toggle buttons are used exactly like Check-boxes. They have two states, and pressing O.K. on them will change the state. There is no other navigation associated with them, and they do not some in sets.
Buttons only exist in one place on the Talking LabQuest. Inside the Calculator Application there are Buttons. These act exactly like Push-buttons, but when you press O.K. on them them, the give slightly different feedback. There is no special navigation associated with these widgets and they will accept Tabbing, Back Tabbing, and arrowing through them without any issues.
Other New Features:
Live Tone Play:
Adds a tone with a pitch that increases as the sensor readings go up and decreases as sensor readings go down giving an auditory idea of where the data is. This may be useful when waiting for a sudden rise in temperature or other defining data point. May be activated in the LabQuest App by going to the Readout menu. To enable during Data Collection only the “Live Tone Only During Collection” check box must be checked and you must select the sensor you want the live tone for in the “Live Sensor Tone” submenu also.
Bluetooth Sensor Compatibility:
In the “Sensors” menu of the LabQuest App go to “Wireless Device Setup” and choose “Go Direct”. Each Go Direct sensor has a serial number you will need to know prior to entering the menus. Press the Enter key when you hear the proper serial number read then tab until you hear “Okay” and then press the Enter key again. Note if you have several temperature sensors in one area such as in a classroom setting, it may be best to use an analogue sensor or have a specific order for turning the sensors on in order to ensure that you are collecting the data from the correct experiment and not someone else’s.
Once you have data recorded you may go to the Graph Page in the LabQuest App then select the Sonify menu and start sonification.
Plot Details Box:
In the Graph Page of the LabQuest App, you may tab around until you hear “Plot Details box” then press Enter on the keyboard. Use the up and down arrow keys to get pre-calculated statistics including delta x, delta y, samples, standard deviation, mean, max, and min of your data set.
Several new resources have been placed in the Science Resources Folder. To access this folder, go to the Lab Instructions Page within the LabQuest App, then select View from the menus and then select View Lab Instructions. Scroll down until you get to the Science Resources folder. You may also access some cool experiments from Vernier in this folder.
This is available for change by selecting “System Folder” then “Languages” by using the arrow keys up and down then pressing the Enter key to select. Please note that this is only available if you have purchased additional languages and a change of languages will result in the device needing to reboot. Do not open files or unsaved data from using the LabQuest in one language when the LabQuest is in another language mode. This will trap the LabQuest between languages and you may lose speech temporarily and have to completely restart your device.
The LabQuest is defaulted to a male voice as most of our customers find it better for hearing in louder environments, if you prefer to have a female voice simply go to the “Preferences Folder” then “advanced Preferences” press the Tab key until you hear “Edit Preference” then press “0” on the keyboard or press the down arrow once to select “0” then select “Okay” after a few seconds the LabQuest will speak in a female voice and does not require a reboot of the system. In order to change the voice back to male then following the same steps press “1” on the keyboard or press the up arrow once then select “Okay”.