Innovator Gives Voice to the Voiceless

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ten days from today, 10 individuals could receive the life-changing gift of speech as Project Vive launches its first crowdsourcing campaign. Once its $10,000 goal is achieved, the startup will be able to provide one of its unique, portable, speech-generation devices – the Voz Box – to 10 Pennsylvania adults who have conditions – including cerebral palsy and ALS – that prevent them from speaking. Tax-deductible contributions can be made at which links to the Indiegogo campaign page, according to Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, Project Vive’s founder.
The campaign, “A Journey to Ten Voices,” refers to the planned delivery of a custom Voz Box system for the recipients. It has been in development for over a year and now offers the device for $1,000. This covers equipment, including hardware and software, maintenance, and training for the users and their caregivers. If the goal is exceeded, the company will customize more devices for individuals on its waiting list.

“Devices on the market today are very expensive and many times very difficult to get,” explained Scott Maust, Deputy Director of Alleghenies Unlimited Care Providers (AUCP) in Johnstown. Non-profit AUCP offers in-home, non-medical personal care services to individuals of varying abilities; the elderly and those recovering from an injury or illness with a focus on helping people with disabilities live independently.

McCulloch noted that Project Vive recently hosted a poetry reading for Arlyn Edelstein, who has cerebral palsy. Edelstein, 70, uses one of the original Voz Box units, and is now able to share her poetry out loud – word for word – with her audiences. “Project Vive has provided me, through the use of the Voz Box, a way of being understood by the general public,” she said through her device. “I have written dozens of poems, but now I can say them before an audience.”

“This is a milestone for our project as we’ve reached the point where we can provide a turn-key, field tested unit for a fraction of the cost of the other products currently available. Our aim is to give voices to the tens of thousands of people who need to be heard, but before now, haven’t had an affordable, accessible device for easier communication,” said McCulloch. “It is truly amazing to see and hear the impact giving a voice has, not only for the recipient, but also for their loved ones and friends.”

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