5 InvoTek products to increase independence

Many companies aspire to develop products and more in the hopes of granting independence to individuals with disabilities.  Some examples of products include any assistive device you can imagine, from AAC devices to both low and high-tech writing supports.  Founded in 1988, InvoTek is an example of such company.  “Since 1995, InvoTek has focused on pursuing new ways for people with disabilities to access computers, environmental controls, and augmentative communication devices.”

InvoTek’s mission according to the company’s website is:

InvoTek’s mission is to empower people with severe disabilities through the development of accessible technology.  The people we serve are integral to our research and design process.  They are our teachers and our critics, ensuring that the products we design meet their needs.  If InvoTek fails to do this, we fail at our calling.

In order to develop their products, InvoTek collaborates with leading researchers from the University at Buffalo, the Health and Sciences University in Portland, Penn State University and more, as well as InvoTek’s clients to develop products based on each individual’s unique needs.  Even after someone has purchased a product, InvoTek employees observe the client using the product and actively request comments and suggestions.  What are some of these life-changing products developed by InvoTek?

5 products by InvoTek

1: BlueTalk

BlueTalk is a wireless personal communication device that can be used with computers, phones and tablets.  It features a two-line text display and speakers that are optimized for playing synthesized speech.  It connects to one’s smart device or computer via Bluetooth and automatically reconnects each startup.

BlueTalk features:

  • Headphone jack
  • Adaptive speaker volume control based on ambient noise
  • Relay output jack for signaling and controlling other devices like battery-operated toys
  • Batteries are rechargeable and can last up to 10 hours of use time

Click here to learn how BlueTalk works.

2: Safe-Laser System

The Safe-Laser System allows users to communicate with their family, friends, medical providers, user their favorite computing devices and more!  It features an easy-to-use, eye-safe laser pointer and specialized keyboard with a built-in Bluetooth interface.  “A single word for describing the Safe-Laser System is ‘simple.’ Young children find moving the laser light easy to do.  Adults who have suffered a brain injury often find moving a light easy to do.”

What the Safe-laser System can do:

  • Help individuals who’ve experienced a brain-stem stroke relearn head movement.
  • Provide up to an hour of synthesized speech output.
  • Provide an easy to access communication board accessed by the laser.
  • Type messages on the display with or without word prediction.
  • Select TV channels, turn lights on/off, and operate an automatic door opener.
  • Use the laser keyboard to operate a computer, tablet, or phone through a USB cable or wirelessly with Bluetooth.

Click here to learn how the Safe-Laser System works!

3: Voice Switch

Voice Switch is a “sophisticated switch” that can distinguish between one’s voice and room noises.  With this switch, users can either use their voices or another sound to control different technologies.  Using the Voice Switch (and an appropriate controller) users can turn on and off a light, toys, computer games, and appliances.

Features of Voice Switch:

  • Requires a microphone for use.
    • There are two microphones offered by InvoTek, though any universal style cellphone mic may be used:
      • 1. The standard earbud microphone: this is the ideal choice for users wanting to use sounds other than a vocalized sound.
      • 2. Throat microphone: this mic doesn’t pick up background noises, so it can be used to avoid accidental switch activations from noises in the room.
  • Features special software which analyzes sound to determine if it is a human voice or background noise.
  • The switch can be setup by the user to accept only speech sounds, or accept any sound that meets input requirements.
  • Two knobs found on the Voice Switch’s top panel enable the user to adjust the sound duration and volume required to activate the two output relays.

Check out the Voice Switch Manual (PDF) here!

4: Mini-Keyboard with Keyguard

Several individuals with limited hand mobility find standard keyboards difficult and fatiguing.  InvoTek developed their Mini-Keyboard with Keyguard to benefit said individuals who type with one finger or pointed assistive device.  It helps individuals in three ways:

  1. The small size of the moisture-resistant keyboard reduces the distance that someone has to reach to access all of the keys.
  2. The keyguard fits between each key thus preventing simultaneously striking two keys next to one another.
  3. The thickness of the keyguard is slightly taller than the keys to allow resting one’s hand on the keyguard without activating keys.  

Other features of the Mini-Keyboard/Keyguard:

  • Wireless via Bluetooth
  • Rechargeable battery that charges using a standard USB port
  • The keyboard will work with any Bluetooth-compatible device, including several Windows and Mac computers, tablets, and phones.
5: WordPsychic

For some individuals, sitting and typing each letter and word can be exhausting if not impossible.  WordPsychic is a possible solution for said individuals!  It is a word-prediction software which reduces the amount of typing required to enter text onto any Windows-based program.  “It does this by predicting the word you are typing as you type.  After entering each letter, a new list of predicted words is displayed.  When you see the word you want in the prediction list, just click on it or type the number in the upper right corner.”

Features of WordPsychic:

  • Reduces number of keystrokes required to produce text by approximately 50%
  • Can help slow typers type faster
  • The software learns the words of each user and gets better at predicting said words.

Click here to view the WordPsychic Manual (PDF).

To learn more about InvoTek and their products and resources, be sure to visit their website here!

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