Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Free Dynamic Display Communication Software

Tico is a free, open source symbol (or text) based dynamic display AAC program for the Windows operating system.  The Tico Application is part of the collaborative project between the Department of Computer and Systems Engineering from the Higher Polytechnic Center of the University of Zaragoza and Public School Special Education Alborada. Tico's software and hardware for individuals with physical and or cognitive disabilities.  

When in Editor (what in Boardmaker would be Design Mode) boards can be created and re-arranged as needed.  Currently the software requires recorded speech (like a Dynavox M3 or SpringBoard), but the application supports making those recordings right in the button editing pop-up window.  (You can also record video there!)

Tico is able to be used in the "Interpreter"  mode (think Boardmaker use mode) by direct selection (via touch screen, mouse, head or eye tracker) or by scanning (which is built into the software).

Tico uses the full ARASAAC symbol set, a free, open source symbol set anyone can download.  January 15, 2010 the ARASAAC Web Portal went live in English and is attempting to be a free, world wide resource for AAC.  To use the ARASAAC symbol set with Tico you should download it from the link on the Tico page and follow the (easy and intuitive) instructions to set them up.  I was also able to import Mayer-Johnson Picture Communication Symbols from the Metafiles bundles, Inclusive TLC clip art, Widgit symbols, the free Mulberry symbols, jpg photos and SymbolStix from the SymbolStix Online Website into Tico without any problems. 

Although originally designed in Spanish Tico (and ARASAAC) work fine in English.  Some support materials are not in English yet, but thus far I have not found a need to reference them or have been able to use on line tools like Google Translate or BabelFish to assist me.  

Here are a few sample boards:


Board images and some information from:


  1. Hello,
    I only want to make a clarification.
    Tico now lets you record sound but no video. The application plays pre-recorded videos.
    Thank you very much,

  2. I have always been curious about functionality in websites and, well, the world in general. I read this article with great interest. It does seem to me that the reason we comment is to speak our minds so why not have the comment field first? However, as others have pointed out, one gets used to the conventions regardless of reason.
    love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.

    study abroad

  3. My name is Jose Manuel Marcos and I work as a speech terapist in a state school of special education in Saragosse (Aragon, Spain).

    I collaborate with other professionals in my community (engineers, teachers and other speech therapists) and with the Aragonese Center for Educational Technology (CATEDU) in the design and development of technical aids, pictograms and free resources for communication, including the Project TICO (, the Project Communication ( and ARASAAC (

    After three years of work, the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) has included ARASAAC as an official language at the 14th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Barcelona, 2010), where we are going to show a workshop.

    We are very pleased for having named in this post and we are at your disposal.

    Sorry for my English.

  4. Jose, your English was near perfect. You are to be commended. I have been following ARASAAC for a few months now and recently started following the Informatica Para Educacion Especial Blog. The Tico Project and all of the ARASAAC work is amazing. Let me know how I can help.


  5. Thanks for sharing this, Kate. It looks like it has tremendous potential, especially for those who can't afford the high monetary cost of using Boardmaker! --Paul

  6. Another tool that is using the Arasaac symbols is Picto Selector. It is mainly usefull for creating sheets with symbols.


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