Home » Others » HLAA Exhibits – Part Two

HLAA Exhibits – Part Two

HLAA Exhibits – Part Two

By Cheryl Heppner

June 2009

Editor: One of the best things about the HLAA convention is the opportunity to see all the latest and greatest technology. For those who can’t make it to the convention, Cheryl Heppner does an OUTSTANDING job of reporting on the exhibits.


– SafeAwake


Alternative Communication Services (ACS)

Its website proclaims that Alternative Communications Services (ACS) exists to provide the highest quality voice-to-text services possible, delivering Onsite CART, Remote CART, Captioning, Closed Captioning and Text Interpreting services to consumers throughout the world, recognizing the unique strengths of each individual in the process.

I visited with Phil Hyssong to learn more about what ACS business is like these days. Phil said that 60% of their work is now done in education settings. What’s changed, though, is the source of those requests. At one time most of the demand came from higher education institutions which were providing accommodations for graduate students. Then there was a jump in the number of requests for undergraduate students. Now the company is seeing an increasing number of requests to accommodate high school students. Can grade school and the great potential to increase reading levels be next?




Timothy Shaffer, President and CEO of SafeAwake showed me the new pyramid-shaped SafeAwake and answered a barrage of my questions. SafeAwake was developed through a grant from the National Institutes of Health, through which Combustion Science & Engineering, Inc. found the technology to be effective at waking sleeping people in sleep tests. SafeAwake has a flashing white light, and a high decibel, low-frequency audible signal.

I held the round bed shaker in my hand as I listened to an explanation of how it vibrates intermittently, the most optimal way to alert from sleep. The bed shaker reminded me strongly of the quirky mouse that came with my first iMac computer.

Mr. Shaffer explained that the ShakeAwake was built like a medical device and that the final piece of UL approval is expected in October 2009. He wants to be able to sell the product commercially and believes it will also be a good choice for any heavy sleeper with or without hearing loss. Already the power supply for this low-voltage device has UL approval.

From the SafeAwake website:

“Conventional home smoke alarms typically warn people to the danger of fire through sound. That leaves deaf and hard-of-hearing people at high risk – especially while sleeping, because ordinary smoke alarms may not be jarring enough to awaken them.”

The company has its headquarters in Columbia, Maryland.


(c)2009 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org. 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.