2004 Conference Proceedings

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Roberto Gonzalez
ALVA Access Group, Inc.
436 14th Street, Suite 700
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 451-2582
Fax: (510) 451-0878
Email: rgonzalez@aagi.com

ALVA has been a prominent provider of solutions to enable blind and visually impaired persons to access computers and communication systems for nearly twenty years. Specializing in refreshable braille technology, ALVA's mission is to foster productivity and creativity for blind and visually impaired persons using proprietary and evolving technologies. Worldwide, ALVA recognizes the increase of visually impaired people who are participating or want to participate in the rapidly expanding information age. Most importantly, active participation requires access to information and interaction with people in any situation whenever and wherever. The ALVA MPO is a first of a kind mobile communication tool that fulfills the demand of instant communication and access to information for a blind person.

The MPO combines an organizer, mobile phone and notetaker into a conveniently sized, durable case with speech and braille output. Arguably, utilizing an MPO as one's channel for communication and information, the blind user is afforded a sense of security and control, anytime, anywhere, especially on the move. For low- and no-tech users, the ALVA MPO 5500 is the perfect tool toward professional achievement in an information and communication dependent world.

This presentation will focus on specific functionality of the ALVA MPO 5500. Available since the fall of 2003, the ALVA MPO 5500 integrates a GSM phone, SMS (Short Message Service), contact directory, agenda, clock, alarm and notebook. Support for US Grade two braille, USB slave and PC Synchronization (including e-mail) will also be demonstrated. In addition, new models in the MPO product range may be announced or even shown as a prototype.

Objectives of the presentation include an introduction to and demonstration of the ALVA MPO product range. We will explain how ALVA has translated technological trends and user demands into newly available products as well as innovations in upcoming products in the form of working prototypes.

The audience will learn about unique communication devices with braille and/or speech output, and about how these address the needs of the mainstream visually impaired consumer group.

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