2004 Conference Proceedings

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NEW AAC DEVICES FROM ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, INC.

Presenters
John C. Standal,
CCC-SLP, Sales Director
Assistive Technology, Inc.
7 Wells Avenue
Newton, MA 02459 USA
Phone: 617-641-9000
Fax: 617 641-9191
Email: Jstandal@assistivetech.com

Assistive Technology, Inc. offers people with communicative impairments a voice to speak and the technology to lead more independent and productive lives. In this session, ATI will present its newest solutions for communicating and learning:

Mercury: a fully-integrated Windows XP-based AAC device

MiniMerc: a portable, fully-integrated Windows XP-based AAC device and computer Link Plus: a lightweight speaking keyboard with a large display window and scanning

Attendees will learn about ATI's latest offerings, how to customize applications for individuals, and how to utilize an integrated computer system for learning, communication and control.

MERCURY - updated with new features

ATI's Mercury is a fully-integrated Microsoft Windows XP-based Augmentative and Alternative Communication device. Mercury provides users with a voice to communicate socially and a Windows computer to work independently. The device combines the power of a Windows XP computer with the flexibility of a universally accessible communication device.

*A Fully-Integrated Device*

ATI's Mercury is called an integrated device because it allows users to do more than verbalize thoughts - the device is a complete computer, which allows a user to utilize commonly used software programs like Microsoft Office. With Mercury, a user can get on the internet, use email, and talk on the telephone. He or she can also listen to CDs and watch DVDs on Mercury. The device has ports for switches, head pointers, joysticks, and other access methods. Users can also control their environments from Mercury, including changing channels on a TV and turning lights on and off. Finally, Mercury is customizable, allowing a user to add photos to the device to personalize communication boards.

Mercury can be used through its touchscreen, a keyboard and mouse, on-screen keyboard, switch, wheelchair joystick, headmouse or other alternative pointer. The device can be powered on with the power button or a switch. Outfitted with ATI's custom stand/mounting plate, Mercury can be operated from a wheelchair, desk, or any flat surface. Mercury also features a fully-integrated speakerphone, which allows conversations via telephone, and comes with a 56K modem to give a user easy internet and email access.

ATI's updated Mercury is now more powerful with its clock speed of 933 MHz. The device comes with 256MB RAM and has a full 20GB of storage on its hard drive. Mercury's battery life has been extended to up to 8 hours, and it now comes with a CD/DVD player.

*More Ways to Communicate*

Mercury now comes pre-loaded with Functionally Speaking, a new three-set series of ATI-designed communication boards. For younger AAC users, there are two levels of functional, ready-to-use language board sets, each with over 35 functional boards. Close to 40 graphical boards are available for the scene-based user. Functionally Speaking is built upon the Speaking Dynamically Pro software.

ATI's optional Communication Software Bundle is a complete and integrated solution that bundles popular programs manufactured by Mayer-Johnson, Inc., including Speaking Dynamically Pro and Boardmaker.

Mercury fully supports the use of digital images to create custom, personalized boards. Photos or images can be taken from scanners, digital cameras, or photo CDs. Users simply need to copy and paste images into Speaking Dynamically Pro to make communicating more personal and fun.

*Environmental Control Capabilities*

Included on every Mercury are pre-programmed infrared signals for most brands of televisions, VCRs, DVD players, satellite and cable receivers. This eliminates the inconveniences usually associated with programming a device. Additionally, the X-10 command center allows users to turn on and off lights and household appliances (additional equipment required).

*Dedicated Option - Mercury SE*

Mercury SE is a dedicated speech generating device and also an environmental control unit. The device conforms to established Medicare coverage guidelines, which makes it ideal for users who have insurance that will not cover a computer-based system.

MINIMERC - a new, compact version of Mercury

MiniMerc is ATI's newest and smallest addition to the Mercury product line of communication devices. Like Mercury, it is a fully-integrated Microsoft Windows XP-based Augmentative and Alternative Communication device. It is approximately half the size of Mercury, as it weighs only 3.5 pounds, and its 8.4" LCD display is several inches smaller than Mercury's.

MiniMerc balances durability and portability nicely with its sleek aluminum design, and is easy to transport between home, school and work. Its aluminum case, shock-mounted hard drive, and detachable shoulder strap make MiniMerc ideal for an ambulatory user. The shoulder strap may be removed when the device is placed on a table or mounted onto a wheelchair.

MiniMerc can be used through its touchscreen, a keyboard and mouse, on-screen keyboard, switch, wheelchair joystick, headmouse or other alternative pointer. MiniMerc's telephone features and modem can be utilized via CardBus.

MiniMerc utilizes infrared technology and works in the same fashion as Mercury. Over 4,000 pre-programmed signals for most brands of televisions, VCRs, DVD players and other household appliances are built into the unit. The device has a clock speed of 677 MHz, comes with 256MB RAM, and has a full 20GB of storage on its hard drive. Its has a battery life of up to 8 hours.

Like Mercury, MiniMerc comes pre-loaded with Functionally Speaking, a new three-set series of ATI-designed communication boards. ATI's optional Communication Software Bundle is recommended for the MiniMerc as well, and MiniMerc fully supports the use of digital images to create custom, personalized boards.

MiniMerc Special Edition (SE) is the dedicated version of the Windows-based MiniMerc AAC device. For users looking to fund a unit through Medicare, this is a viable option. MiniMerc SE has been engineered to conform to the Medicare guidelines for coverage established for speech-generating devices (SGD).

LINK PLUS - speaking keyboard with scanning

Link Plus is an easy-to-use, full-sized keyboard and AAC device that speaks as the user types. It offers all the popular features of ATI's classic LINK device - including flexible readback options, a standard keyboard and abbreviation expansion - combined with many new features. Link Plus has a larger display window, word-prediction, six language and nine voice options, and a single switch scanning option via the onscreen keyboard.

The large display window on Link Plus (16 lines by 60 characters) enables the user and others to easily see what is being typed, while the new word-prediction feature helps the user to communicate quickly. The abbreviation expansion feature allows the user to develop "short cut" abbreviations for quick access to words or phrases. The single switch scanning option is perfect for those who need a compact, scanning AAC device.

Link Plus utilizes DECtalk™ speech output with 9 different voices to select from: 4 male, 4 female and 1 child. The device also offers users 6 language options, including US English, UK English, Latin-American Spanish, Castilian Spanish, French and German. Link Plus has flexible readback options - messages can be spoken by letter, word, sentence, or paragraph.

For speaking on the telephone, Link Plus has built-in telephone access and an onscreen dialer so the user can make phone calls independently. Users can also upload stored files from their Link Plus to a PC or Macintosh computer, and download text files to their Link Plus. Other interesting and useful features include a spell checker, calculator, spreadsheet software, and a personal organizer.

Link Plus is appropriate for individuals who have suffered from a stroke, traumatic brain injury or have acquired ALS or other speech disorders.


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