Connecting an iPad to a Wheelchair

My son received his first wheelchair today and my first though was how amI going to hook up his iPad. One of the parents was gracious enough to allow me to photograph their setup.So I though I would share with you what I learned.

What I like about how this worksis that it take more thenjust the iPad in to account.It includes a solutions for a head switch and a speaker. The iPad touch interface and speaker, in certain situations and with some users, is not the right way to go.


Let’s start with the iPad arm. There are two pictures of the arm and the iPad holder. It is hard to tell from the photo but the iPad is in a snap-in clear plastic holder which is attached the support arm. This is nice as it is easily removed from the support arm to be used elsewhere.

iPad arm connected to wheelchair
iPad arm connected to wheelchair


On the arm in the picture above you can see a bluetooth speaker. Being bluetooth, it connects to the iPad wirelessly. It is attached via velcro to make it easily removable. Below is a close up of the speaker.

Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Head Switch

Here we have a wireless switch attached to an arm which is attached to the chair. The switch is connected to a bluetooth switch interface designed for the iPad.

Head Switch connected to Wheelchair
Head Switch Arm connected to wheelchair
Bluetooth iPad Switch interface

Notes: Important and otherwise

  1. Mostof theequipment is available from RJ Cooper.
  2. Keep battery life in mind when buying accessories for the iPad. The iPad has a 10 hour life span between charges (depending on usage) so buy a speaker with at least the same.
  3. Bluetooth switches and iPad software: This is VERY IMPORTANT,the softwareyou want to use with a switchMUST BE designed toaccept a switch signal. This means that mostiPad software will NOTworkwith a switch.

4 thoughts on “Connecting an iPad to a Wheelchair

  1. My son has cerebral Palsy and cannot talk. He uses a Dynavox to communicate which is just fine. It uses software that is constantly scanning until he selects something with his head switch like the alphabet or words. The device is heavier than the Ipad, and might be a little dangerous to use while we drive my son in the van. I\’d like to be able to mount an ipad on the back of the driver\’s or passenger seat, and have my son use that while driving, so he can communicate with us. Ideas?

  2. I would like to mount an ipad to the back of the driver\’s or front passenger seat in our handicap van, and have my son use it to communicate with us. He has cerebral palsy and normally uses a Dynavox to communicate with a head switch which works great, but not a good idea for the car. Ideas?

    1. Kevin

      That is a very good question. First, let me comment on ipad software. If you can use switchable software (and there are not that many), you could mount the device to the head rest. If not then you will have to mount in such a way as to be reachable ie on the chair.


      Predictable ( works without the need of switch, it moves from item to item on the screen and the screen itself becomes the switch. There are also a number of apps that can have a switch. Here is a switch link list created and maintained by Jeremy Brown There a also a number of switchable apps on the ipad. Here is a link to RJ Coopers switchable apps R J Cooper\’s List of Apps and Developers of Switch ( posted by (Both are great resoures and we have links from our site)


      My first thought is the ZooGue but he may not be able to reach. With a switch that may not matter. and it is real easy to move around.

      Form there you are looking at mounting hardware for a source like RJ Cooper. You could mount to is chair or to a part of the car. (i am thinking you might need to make some modifications to mount to the car)

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