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General Questions

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Software Questions

Learning for Children Questions

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Maintenance Questions


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Hardware Questions

What operating system do I need on my computer?

Cosmo’s Learning Systems™ needs the following system parameters:


Windows®, Windows® 98, Pentium® II, 64MB
Windows® 2K, Pentium® III, 128MB
Windows® XP, Pentium® III, 128MB


Macintosh® Classic Power
Macintosh® G3, 9.2, 64 MB RAM
5.1 Macintosh® OS X Power
Macintosh® G3 running OS 10.1.5, 10.2.6, 10.3 128 MB RAM

What is Mission Control?

Mission Control is a new computer interface device that surpasses the functionality of a standard keyboard or standard mouse and allows for increased learning and game play.  It can be used to access computer-based educational software and provide access to children of all abilities.  Mission Control has four (4) aFFx Activators and a built-in microphone.  It can also accommodate four (4) additional switches in the front ports for a child who uses his/her own switch.

How large is Mission Control?

Mission Control is approximately the size of a regular keyboard (with a bit more height).  The dimensions are 18.5 inches in length, 8 inches in width, and 5 inches in height.

How do I connect Mission Control to the computer?

You connect one end of the USB cord (included) to the computer and the other end of the USB cord to Mission Control. 

Do I need to plug Mission Control into an electrical outlet?

No, it is similar to a keyboard.  Just connect Mission Control to the computer with the USB cord.  It uses the power from your computer, just like your current keyboard. Additional power is not needed to run Mission Control.

I plugged Mission Control into the USB port and my computer is not recognizing it.  What should I do?

Some machines require that you plug in the device prior to starting the computer.  Try shutting down, plugging in Mission Control and restarting the computer. 

I plugged Mission Control into the USB port and a message appears on my laptop that it requires more power. What should I do?

Mission Control uses minimal power from your computer.  If you get this message, plug your laptop into an outlet, as your laptop may be low on power. 

Will I lose control of the keyboard and mouse functions once I plug in Mission Control?

No, your keyboard and mouse will not be affected. As long as they are plugged into the computer, they will remain active.  You will need the keyboard to enter the child’s name and other data, and you will need the mouse to navigate the student management and data collection sections.  You can also use several keys on the keyboard to skip (s) through an activity, quit (q), or toggle different features.

I work in a Rehabilitation Center and we have many computers.  Can I load the software onto all the computers?

When you purchase Cosmo’s Learning Systems, you are purchasing one license.  Each computer needs one Cosmo’s Learning Systems.  If you have purchased the product, please refer to the End User License Agreement in the Curriculum Guide for additional information.

Can I use Mission Control with software other than Playground Discovery?

Yes, if the software is controlled through standard keyboard or mouse commands.  A driver enables you to map the keyboard or mouse controls to the aFFx Activators. 

What is the target age range of this product?

Mission Control is designed for children with a developmental age of 2 – 8 years.  However, as an accessible interface device, it may be appropriate for children who are older than 8 years and cannot use a standard keyboard. 

What is an aFFx Activator?

An aFFx Activator is a round button-like device that you push to activate the software.

How are aFFx Activators unique?

The aFFx Activators are unique in that they are analog or proportional – meaning, the activators recognize force and duration.  When comparing a binary device and an analog device, think of a light switch: an on/off light switch provides one effect (either on or off), while a dimmer switch provides multiple effects.  For example, in the Bubbles activity of Cosmo’s Play and Learn™ software, the aFFx Activator is used to blow bigger and smaller bubbles.  As the child presses the aFFx Activator, the bubble increases in size; the faster the child presses the aFFx Activator, the faster the bubble increases. The aFFx Activators on Mission Control are compatible with AbleNet button caps.  

Are there specific steps I need to follow to map the keyboard or mouse controls to the aFFx Activators?

Yes.  You must use the Mission Control driver to map the controls.  The program can be loaded into your computer CD-Rom drive.      

What if the child I am working with uses head switches for access?  Can these switches be plugged into Mission Control?  What functionality will they have?

Yes, the switches can be plugged into Mission Control.  Playground Discovery recognizes the four switch ports under each activator in the front of Mission Control in the following ways.  Under the Yellow activator is the skip function, Green activator is the quit function, Blue activator is the toggle of the on/off function for the text labels, and Red activator is the alt/tab function.

Can I plug Mission Control into a switch-activated toy?

No. While Mission Control is comprised of four (4) aFFx Activators (proportional switches), Mission Control is truly an alternative keyboard. Therefore, it will not work as an input device to control switch-activated toys. 
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