or phone (650) 726-7067 to request
An evaluation is typically the first step to ensure tailor an ECU system to the client's needs and abilities.
Please contact 1stVoice by email or phone for more information or a printed brochure.
Quartet Technolgy and 1stVoice
The Quartet and 1stVoice Partnership
We are both pleased and privileged to partner with Quartet Technology; to sell, install, and service their products. 1stVoice is the exclusive Quartet dealer for Northern California and Northern Nevada, with coverage to Hawaii. 1stVoice has been working with the Quartet ECU system for over 15 years.
Quartet's ECU's are the best available
Quartet is the oldest and most established company in the ECU industry. They have an incredible level of commitment to their products and their customers. They have more units in use in the field than all of their competitors combined, and for good reason. The units are rugged, reliable, and easy to use. They give the users verbal feedback on what the ECU is controlling. Other units frequently utilize a screen for navigation through control menus, which require excellent vision and adequate light. Quartet gives users the option of switch or voice input, or both. State of the art technology and product diversity have made it the company rehabilitation specialists look to first when seeking to return their clients to their greatest possible level of independence.
Quartet Technology Company History
Since its inception in 1983, Quartet Technology, Inc. has grown to be a world leader in the development and sale of environmental control units (ECU's).
As a young engineer working with voice recognition systems in the early 1980s, Michael Rourke wondered if there was a way this new technology could be adapted to help his mother, who had progressing Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The few devices on the market at the time were of little help to quadriplegics who could not use their hands well enough to use keypads.
Banks and even venture capitalists were skeptical, so Mike Rourke gathered some private investors and set to work in 1983 in the basement of his home. The bankers may not have known what helplessness looked like, but the son of a quadriplegic knew all too well:
Undeterred, Mr. Rourke tinkered, fine-tuning each invention by trying it out on his mother. During this process he learned a lesson that has proven to be the cornerstone of Quartet's ongoing success. "You have to listen to your clients and imagine yourself in someone else's body. You have to ask yourself what you would need if you were them. We always have to remember that our clients are smart; they're just trapped in a body that doesn't work." Rourke serves as president of Quartet and remains active in new product development.
Working with his mother brought him down to earth many times in the course of developing his first ECU and taught him another valuable lesson. "You have to learn not to be embarrassed by your mistakes," Mr. Rourke says. "I was so proud of the first unit I made for my mother because I gave it a keypad so she could dial the phone. She said, 'That's nice, Mike, but how am I going to push those buttons?' That was the start of my education and I'm still learning."
By the time Ellen Rourke passed away in 1996, she had long since traded in round the clock attendant care for a few hours of help each day and Quartet was introducing its third generation of voice and/or switch activated ECUs, each opening possibilities the physically disabled could only have dreamed of in the past.
As rewarding to Mike Rourke as any other aspect of his success was seeing the change in his mother's personality as she began to do things for herself. He saw that this new technology could provide benefits that went far beyond mere physical assistance.
"Once she could move herself around in her chair, open doors, dial a phone, turn pages in a book by herself and write on her computer, she became the person we could only vaguely remember from before her illness," he recalls.
"It had really done a number on her self-esteem to have to constantly ask people to do things for her. It made her cranky, and understandably so. That first unit was pretty crude compared to what we're doing now, but I don't remember anything bringing a smile to her face like that before."
Rourke and the rest of the Quartet staff and dealers continue to be inspired by the improvements they see in the lives of their customers. In addition to constantly refining and expanding their product line and support services, they also take an active role in advocating for better services for the physically disabled. Their goal is to see every disabled person equipped with whatever assistive devices allow them to meet their highest potential, whether those devices are Quartet products or those of another manufacturer.
Through its ongoing product development, committment to end-users and superior service, Quartet Technology, Inc. expects to remain the leader in finding solutions for their clients' current and future needs.
Today, Quartet is the only company to offer ECUs that are controlled by spoken command -- the only method of activation feasible for up to a quarter of all quadriplegics -- without reliance on a PC or an uninterrupted source of electricity.
Expanded features for each of our existing units are already on the drawing board, and Quartet continues to welcome suggestions and comments for improving its products and services to best fit the needs of its users.
Quartet Technology has grown to include a network of dealers that extends around the globe, we continue to be guided by the personal vision that inspired and continues to inspire our founder: that of restoring self-esteem and dignity to the physically disabled.