Staying connected with pe …

Personal Communication Devices

Communication devices allow people to stay connected no matter where they are. These devices also offer accessibility for those with physical restrictions or disabilities.

In Virginia, using a handheld personal communications device while driving is a traffic infraction (Va. Code SS46.2-818.2). A conviction could lead to a $250 fine.

Cell Phones

Cell phones allow us to instantly connect to others around the globe. However, the ability to easily connect can also cause distractions that detract from our daily tasks. For example, texting while driving is responsible for 8.5 percent of all traffic accidents.

A cellular phone is a handheld, wireless receiver that communicates via radio waves to and from a tower-based transmitter/receiver system. It resembles the receiver on a traditional telephone landline but is much smaller. More expensive versions of these devices can also store music and photos, play games and browse the Internet.

Martin Cooper of Motorola is credited with making the first publicized handheld mobile phone call on a DynaTAC model in 1973. The first commercial cellular network went live in 1979. The earliest mobile phones used analog technology, and the handsets were bulky and 2-plus pounds in weight. Eventually these devices got smaller and more powerful, with the introduction of digital cell phone technologies such as GSM, CDMA and TDMA.


Computers are electronic devices that accept data input from a keyboard and display output on a screen or, in some cases, to a printer. They can perform numerous tasks such as storing, analyzing and retrieving information, writing documents, and playing games. They can also be used to access the Internet and communicate with other people through email or instant messaging software.

Many personal communication devices are actually specialized computers. Cellular mobile phones, for example, have advanced computing resources and are sometimes called smartphones. Laptops, which are lightweight and portable, incorporate these same computing resources but run on battery power. Wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches are essentially miniaturized computers.

Employees may use University-owned personal communication devices for occasional personal use, but must abide by the Acceptable Use Policy located on the ITS website. Authorization for individual devices must be given by the person’s immediate supervisor and in accordance with policies departments may establish. Telecommunications will advise individuals on monthly plan options and costs to ensure the device selected is appropriate for business use.

Gaming Consoles

A game console is a device that is designed specifically for playing video games. Most gaming consoles are able to connect to television sets and come with controllers that allow players to interact with the game. Game consoles can also be used to play movies and online services like Netflix.

Many game consoles have ports for connecting power, controllers, televisions or video monitors and external storage devices. They are typically enclosed in a case to protect the internal components from damage and constrain air flow for cooling.

Many games consoles have built-in parental controls that can be configured to limit the type of content a child can access and the amount of time they can spend on a game. Parents should explore these features and discuss them with their children when choosing a gaming console to purchase.


Tablets use a touch screen interface, making them simple to operate for people of all ages and technical backgrounds. They are smaller and lighter than laptops and have long battery life, allowing them to be used for extended periods without charging.

Most tablets are Wi-Fi enabled, enabling them to connect to the internet and stay connected on the go. Many have a rear camera for taking photos and videos. Some also have a front-facing camera for selfies and video chats.

Using a tablet as an assistive communication device is a great option for ALS patients who have lost the ability to communicate with their hands or have significant weakness in their muscles. Many apps allow the user to input text through a keyboard or with other methods such as mouse access and head tracking. Some even offer “text-to-speech” functionality that converts any message into speech for quicker access. The best tablet for you depends on your specific needs and budget.

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