Quartet ECU Systems
Environmental Control Unit Systems
If you cannot independently operate your phone, lights, television, or bed controls, you may benefit from a Quartet ECU
What is an ECU?
An Environmental Control Unit (also known as Electronic Aid to Daily Living or EADL) is a means to purposefully manipulate and interact with the environment by accessing one or more electrical devices via switches, voice activation, remote control, computer interface, and other technological adaptations. The purpose of an ECU is to maximize functional ability and independence in the home, school, work and leisure environment.
ECUs are used primarily by quadriplegics or others who have lost the use of their arms and hands. The Quartet ECU is designed with an integrated telephone, allowing independence in communication (works with land line and cell phones). The Quartet ECU also controls lights, fans, television, cable, bed controls, door openers, and more. All of this is controlled by voice, or by adaptive switch input, according to your abilities. Quartet ECUs integrate seamlessly with Dragon voice recognition software.
For the severely disabled (quadriplegics, MS, ALS, etc.), accomplishing very mundane tasks is impossible. Frequently an attendant or family member must be on call or at bedside continuously, which is costly, invasive of the person's privacy, demeaning, and unnecessary if an ECU can be installed.
Do I need an ECU?
If, due to injury or illness, you cannot independently control the television, the telephone, lights, a hospital bed, or open a door, then you are medically eligible for an ECU. Having this device will increase your independence significantly.
The average smartphone has voice recognition built into it, allowing dialing, searching the web, and more. Add-ons can allow control of television and entertainment devices. For some people with mild to moderate levels of disability, that may be sufficient, and we can help you evaluate your needs. We will never recommend equipment more complex than you need.
Why Quartet brand ECUs?
Quartet is the market leader, with 33 years of development, stability, and experience. Quartet ECUs are the most durable, robust, proven, and flexible ECU solution available. And, they are the only ECU on the market which has full FDA and UL compliance certification as a "patient-connected device". Some of the other ECU's being marketed don't even have UL approval, and are therefore actually not even legal for sale.
Why not a smart phone or a consumer home automation system?
Other devices are available for able-bodied hobbyists and homeowners to automate their homes, but ECUs discussed here and sold by 1stVoice are specialized devices designed to allow people with significant disabilities to control their environments.
Quartet ECU Advantages:
Quartet ECU is truly hands-free: Despite the advances in devices such as smart phones, they are not purpose-built for the disabilities community. Often, despite their power, you can't get to a specific voice-enabled functionality without first touching the screen. And for the severely disabled that simply isn't possible.
Quartet ECU is designed for altered speech: Speech quality determines how well an ECU work. Many people with disabilities have limited, altered, slurred, or garbled speech. Many have impaired respiratory function, and cannot speak more than a syllable or two at a time.
The Quartet ECU relies on "speaker dependent" voice recognition training. This allows each user to train it to respond to their particular voice in just a few minutes. For people with respiratory or verbal control issues, this means if you have trouble saying the word "answer", you can train that function as "pickup", or anything else that is easy for you to say. Words can be retrained at any time, as vocal qualities change.
Quartet microphone quality: Microphone quality and the amount of variable ambient noise in the end-user's environment significantly impacts how well the device will respond, and how reliable it may be.
The microphone designed for use with the ECU is specifically tuned to listen to one human voice at close range and to filter out environmental noise. This allows the Quartet ECU to be reliable even under chaotic and loud situations – or simply when the television is on, the dog is barking, and the phone is ringing all at the same time.
Quartet ECU is reliable and comprehensive: Off-the-shelf home automation systems, including alarm clock thermostats that you can talk to, suffer from the same limitations as smart phones. They are susceptible to environmental noise interfering with their operation, they are not reliable. Integrating several unrelated technologies to meet the needs of the seriously disabled leaves a lot of gaps, and a lot of places where things can go wrong.
Two important functions of the ECU are to activate a nurse call/emergency alarm bell and to use the telephone. When depending on your device for emergency functions, reliability is crucial.
Quartet ECU is a stand-alone unit: Many off-the-shelf home automation systems rely on a computer for both set up and operation. Many folks with severe disabilities are not up to the task of running a computer to run their home, or maintaining the computer and its related software and systems. The Quartet ECU is a standalone device, not relying on a computer, running independently, day in and day out, for years on end. A computer interface is not required to set up and configure the Quartet ECU. The Quartet ECU does not require a home network or router to control devices in the home.
Quartet ECU is truly hands-free: The ECU is designed specifically to function without any hand or finger input at all if needed – purely by voice, from A-Z, or with input from any adaptive switch, whether eyeblink, sip and puff, or manual.
Quartet ECU is designed for the disability community: Add to that the flexibility of being able to control hundreds of infrared commands for your television and other entertainment devices, as well as controlling almost every hospital bed on the market, controlling lights and fans, door openers, and more, and you start to understand the added value of a purpose-built ECU.