January 2020: VoQoL (Voice-activated-Quality-of-Life) developed in Cape Town by Coral Tech, makes it possible for quadriplegic and paraplegic persons to perform basic functions themselves in order that they may reach a level of freedom in their daily lives. Users are able to carry out functions such as turning on the lights in their bedrooms or changing their TV channels by means of voice commands or prompts, which increases their personal independence, and gives them a sense of self-sufficiency. The brainchild of Cliff Court, the founder of Coral Tech, VoQoL uses voice-activated technology that allows users to turn on their TVs, as well as change the channels, switch on fans, and stream almost any South African radio station of their choice, including Umhlobo Wenene FM, iKhosi FM, Fine Music Radio, Metro FM, Smile 90.4 FM, and Radio Sonder Grense. The system also enables users to ask VoQoL to call for assistance by sending a SMS to their caregiver’s cell phone to alert them that the patient needs help. Apart from the sense of freedom it affords patients, caregivers are also able to allocate more time to those tasks which are vital to their daily caregiving routines. According to Cliff, there has been a visible boost in the self-esteem of VoQoL users, with a patient commenting that using VoQoL has been life-altering. Generous donations from the Telkom Foundation, Rotary Claremont, and SAB Foundation, have made it possible for VoQoL devices to be installed in over 65 rooms in 5 physically-disabled residential homes in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Gauteng, giving renewed self-sufficiency to over 80 residents. For those who also have speech impediments, Coral Tech has developed an electronic voice recorder which allows someone with a clear voice to pre-record commands. Paraplegic individuals with speech impediments can then use VoQoL by triggering the recorded voice commands they want using a remote-control unit. There are many more residents at …
Ed Richardson is the managing director and brain behind the Siyathetha brand and is rumoured to be one of the most effective weapons of mass communication in the Eastern Cape.
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