The Herbi Writer app running on a Smart Board, with Guy writing in the app.



I'm Guy Barker, and I run the web site. I'm a professional software developer with an interest in how today's technologies can be used in new ways to help people. In 2003 I met a student with a speech disability, and since I was working in the Tablet PC team at Microsoft at the time, I was very interested in whether a Tablet PC could provide an alternative means of communication for him.

So I built a simple app to explore how the student might write directly on the Tablet PC screen, and then for the Tablet PC to speak what the student had written. Since then I've looked or other simple tools to build which might fill a gap in what's available to people today. Everything I do at is freely available for anyone to use.

I was privileged to have the opportunity a few years back to discuss some of the assistive technology tools I've built, at the CSUN conference. Some notes on those tools are at Too much fun at CSUN! The two apps I've built most recently are at Herbi HocusFocus and Herbi Speaks.

The aim of my site is to provide free simple tools which can plug gaps in what's available to people with disabilities. So if you have suggestions for how the tools could be made more useful to you, please do let me know. It's your input that makes the difference.

Guy's signature


Herbi is a herbivore dinosaur that I've been doodling for the last 35 years. Sometime he's a dragon - it depends what mood he's in. A long time ago he made a very brief appearance in a newspaper as part of my Open Minds cartoon strip. He comes from an ancient land of Pungaea, where word play was everywhere...

Herbi half submerged in water, looking at a bar of soap. There are creatures crawling all over the soap. He's saying "Bleargh! Life sprang from the primordial soap!" 


Below is Herbi's first appearance in the newspapers, back in December 1991.

Apologies: A transcript of the article is not yet available.

An article in the Leicester Mercury newpaper. It shows a picture of Guy at a desk, and two Herbi cartoons.