4/28/2003 - Freedom Scientific announced the availability of the PAC Mate, a revolutionary personal digital assistant for people who are blind. This launch signals the first time a mainstream PDA product has been available to people with disabilities. Built on the Microsoft Windows® CE platform and tightly interwoven with Microsoft Pocket PC applications, the PAC Mate is equivalent to Pocket PC devices for sighted users, supports many of the same third-party applications and enables individuals who are blind to use these devices at their desk or on the go. The PAC Mate runs on the Applied Data Systems (ADS)' Bitsy embedded systems platform.
Using Microsoft Pocket PC technology in combination with the JAWS screen reader running on the Microsoft Windows CE operation system, the PAC Mate converts objects and text to speech so users who are blind can hear documents, images, and Web content. In addition, the PAC Mate integrates easily with desktop software and other Pocket PC devices, making data exchange, including infrared wireless transfer with sighted people fast and convenient. Other benefits include the ability to take notes and keep track of appointments in real time.
The device is built around platforms from Applied Data Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of XScale and StrongARM/ RISC-based systems, and a Microsoft Gold Level Partner. Since these RISC-based cores are compact in size and consume relatively little power, the PAC Mate is very portable and will run through performance cycles without requiring frequent replacement batteries.
The PAC Mate was introduced during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October 2002.
"Technology is uniquely positioned to empower people with disabilities to pursue careers that suit their individual talents and skills," said W. Roy Grizzard, Jr. Ed. D., assistant secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy for the U.S. Department of Labor. "Technology can be a key factor in leveling the employment playing field for people with disabilities."
The PAC Mate is currently available and is being demonstrated at ADS Booth #742 during ESC. For more information, contact Freedom Scientific about assistive technologies, or ADS.
About Freedom Scientific
Freedom Scientific is the world's leading manufacturer of technology products for those who are blind and vision-impaired including software, notetakers, Braille displays, embossers and products for the special education and learning disability markets. For more information, contact www.FreedomScientific.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. For more information, contact www.Microsoft.com Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and or other countries.
About Applied Data Systems
Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, Applied Data Systems (ADS) is a leading developer of RISC-based embedded solutions. ADS' solutions are ideally suited for mobile and Internet-enabled applications requiring wireless connectivity for numerous applications including process control, GPS, fleet management, and point-of-sale / kiosk. For information about ADS, see www.applieddata.net or call 301-490-4007.
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