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National Park Service Adds Assistive Technology System

National Park Service Adds Assistive Technology System

April 2011

Assistive audio solution enables all guests to enjoy the experience of our National Park Service

Softeq Development Corporation is proud to announce the completion of the Durateq(r) Assistive Technology System offering assistive listening and audio description at the New River Gorge National River (U.S. National Park Service) Canyon Rim Visitor Center in Lansing, West Virginia. The New River Gorge team wanted to make their visitor center experience accessible to all guests and partnered with Design & Integration, Inc. and Softeq for their solution.

“We applaud the National Park Service for their Accessibility Initiative to build a universal experience for all their visitors. We successfully teamed with Design & Integration to create a customized assistive technology solution for this inaugural location,” said Trey Litel, Vice President of Softeq. “The spectacular Canyon Rim Visitor Center is outfitted with our Durateq ATV system which delivers automatic audio description and assistive listening for all visitors to enjoy!”

Originally developed for the Walt Disney World theme park, the Durateq Assistive Technology Version (ATV) handheld devices with its ALiCE (Assistive Listening and Captioning Engine) software makes the visitor center experience accessible to anyone requiring audio or visual assistance. The system provides audio description (AD) for visitors who are blind or have low vision, and assistive listening (ALS) for visitors with hearing loss. The audio content is triggered automatically, synchronized with the videos in the visitor center’s theatre, and even provides some navigational assistance.

“We are pleased that the New River Gorge National River Canyon Rim Visitors Center is making its information accessible to people with vision loss through descriptive audio tours,” said American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) National Technology Associate, Brad Hodges, who helped user test the new tour. “Softeq’s technology demonstrates a creative and flexible approach to presenting narration in a large museum environment.”

“The technological solutions available today from companies like Softeq and others make this an exciting time to provide more effective communication for our visitors,” said Michele Hartley, Media Accessibility Coordinator for the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior. “The doors for providing more independent and universal access are opening more each day.”

The Durateq ATV is the most advanced assistive handheld solution available today that helps public venues meet Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

“We had a great experience developing our first audio description tour for Softeq’s versatile Durateq ATV system. Its infrared emitters combined with its audio menu feature gave us exceptional flexibility to deliver spot-on descriptions for visitors who are blind or have low vision,” said Bill Patterson, CEO of Audio Description Solutions.

About New River Gorge National River

New River Gorge National River, near Charleston, WV, encompassing over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/neri.

About Canyon Rim Visitor Center

Canyon Rim Visitor Center is in Lansing (north of Fayetteville), WV, and primary purpose is to act as a visitor contact station for area information and for interpretation of the natural, cultural, recreational, and historic values of the New River Gorge. For more information, visithttp://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/crvc.htm.

Softeq Development Corporation

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Softeq specializes in software services, system integration, product development, and assistive technology for Fortune 500 companies worldwide. For more information, visit www.softeq.com.

Design & Integration, Inc.

Headquartered in Baltimore, MD, DI is a full-service audiovisual integration firm specializing in AV engineering and design services, custom installation solutions, equipment sales, maintenance, and control system programming for a variety of venues. For more information, visitwww.designandintegration.com.

Audio Description Solutions

Located in New Oxford, Pennsylvania, ADS provides audio description services and audio description training to a wide variety of clients across the United States. ADS has over 30 years experience writing, editing, narrating, and recording objective descriptions for film, video and interactive multimedia products used by visitor centers, museums, and live theatre. Please visit www.audiodescriptionsolutions.com.

Source: Softeq Development Corporation