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Communication Impairment Computer Hardware
In general, any computer may be converted into a communication device. There are many software packages available for computers that should be discussed in depth in the software section of this report. The addition of other adapted hardware, such as adapted keyboards, mice, joysticks, head pointers, etc, aid in the use of a standard computer as a communication device.

We will our look at hardware with complete computers designed especially for use as a communication device.
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Prentke Romich Company manufactures some of its augmentative communication devices so they may be interfaced with a computer.

Director II
The Director II is an infrared remote control that has a learning function which will allow it to control TVs, VCRs, stereos, and any other IR devices. The Director interfaces with the Liberator, allowing it to be used to control any of these devices, or to interface with a computer. The Director will work with any communication device that has an RS-232 communications port. One feature of the Director is that it can store command codes for many different types of IR controlled devices. It can control many different devices at the same time. It can also be interfaced with X-10 technology. In order to access a computer, the Director II must interface with PR Infrared Receiver on the computer.

The Gus! Multimedia Speech System for Windows is a package of software and hardware meant for installation on a Windows type computer. It comes with many interesting software products, and a specially modified mouse. It is a two-button mouse, with two switch jacks added on to allow switches to handle mouse clicks. It is designed for switch/scanner computer users, cutting out the need for buying a switch interface box. It is available in serial and PS/2 versions.

Other Aug Com Hardware Devices
Total portable computer system:
Macintosh Computers
The first two systems we will look at have Mac operating systems. The Gemini and the Synergy Mac are fully functioning Mac computers designed to be used as communication devices. They are portable like a lap top, but have touch screens, amplified speakers, large hard drives, CD ROM, optional floppy drives, and ports for switches. These computers can run any communication software designed for the Macintosh operating system. The Macintosh operating system is Y2K compliant. To receive the latest information on these systems, contact:
Windows Based Systems
The first computer is the Communication Station, available from Innocomp. It is designed for augmented communications. It weighs under 6 pounds, and the batteries last over 5 hours. It has an amplified speaker built in, and a pen activated touch screen. It comes with an external keyboard, 3.5" floppy drive, and/or 120 MB LS-120 drive. It has 8 MB RAM, an AMD 100MHz processor, a 2.1 GB hard drive, and a build in switch/mouse adapter. Software packages included are Logical Language: Pictures to Print software with 156 pre made screens, Viewer Program, Screen Creator, and ProVoice Speech Synthesizer. The total price is $4999.00.
Phone: 1-800-382-8622
Fax : 216-242-3638

The Optimist is a tablet sized augmentative communication computer, available form ZYGO. It has a pen touch screen, also accessible with switches, joystick, trackball, adapted mouse, adaptive keyboard, or voice recognition. The computer uses Windows 95 as its operating system (not inherently Y2K compliant). Hardware specs are 8 MB RAM, 1.4 GD hard drive, extra card slots, built in touch screen, sound blaster pro compatible sound, and amplified speaker. It also has a PS/2 port, serial port, external mic and earphone jacks, and an IR port. The battery lasts up to 5 hours. The total package weighs 3.8 pounds. It costs $4,995.00 for the version with a 100 MHz Pentium processor. There is a version with a Pentium 166 and Win 98, larger drives and more memory, which costs $9,995.00. They only come loaded with demo software.

Phone: 503 684-6006
Fax: 503 684-6011
The Madenta Voyager is designed to use with the Tracker for hands free mouse access, or using DragonDictate or ScreenDoors II. It has a touch screen. It may be used with augmentative communication software like Gus software or Talk4Me. It is a Pentium based computer running Windows 95, with a sound card, and PC card slots, optional modem, USB ports, wireless LAN capabilities, and expansion ports for switches or keyboards. It may be purchased with DragonDictate and Tracker software, Windows Access Pack. Gus speech or Talk4Me. It may also come with ECU software, and a Data Rover wireless link.

Assistive Technology Inc.
Phone: 800 793-9227
Fax: 617 641-9191
Mercury is the first fully integrated Microsoft® Windows® XP-based Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device. The Mercury provides individuals with a voice to communicate socially and a fully accessible Windows® computer to work independently. Included on every
Mercury, are pre-programmed infrared signals for most brands of televisions, VCRs, DVD players, satellite and cable receivers.

Assistive Technology Inc.
Phone: 800 793-9227
Fax: 617 641-9191
The Gemini is a universally accessible Macintosh® computer and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device suited to a range of motor control abilities and access methods: touchscreen, switch input, on-screen keyboard, joystick, headmouse, external keyboard and mouse or alternative pointer. 
Synergy Mac
Phone: 508 668-7424
Fax: 508 668-4134
Speak-Out interfaces with a serial or parallel port, and can be used with both PCs and Apple computers. It is battery powered. Includes built in clock and calendar features, as well as an alarm. Costs $650.00.

Sounding Board speech synthesizer offers responsive, good quality speech inexpensively. Cost $395.00.

DECtalk made by Digital Equipment Corporation has high quality synthesized speech output. Available in several different versions, it can run off AC or battery power.

DECtalk PC costs $995.00. DECtalk Express (type II PCMCIA card) costs $1,095.00.

Information about obtaining these speech synthesizers may be obtained from GW Micro, Inc. 725 Airport North Office Park, Fort Wayne, IN 46825 USA Voice: 219/489-3671 Fax: 219/489-2608.

This paper written by Michael Papp   11 June, 1999
Speech Synthesizers (Hardware only)