Clarity's Fortissimo(TM) Voice-Activated Speakerphone One of 15 Nominees From Around the World Selected as 2013 da Vinci Awards

Clarity's Fortissimo(TM) Voice-Activated Speakerphone One of 15 Nominees From 
Around the World Selected as 2013 da Vinci Awards(R)
da Vinci Awards -- Created by Michigan Chapter of National MS Society
-- Celebrate Innovations in Assistive & Adaptive Technologies That
Provide Equal Access and Opportunity for All; Finalists Representing
the United States and United Kingdom Chosen From Entries Received
From Around the World 
CHATTANOOGA, TN -- (Marketwire) -- 03/25/13 --  Fortissimo(TM) -- a
voice-activated and hands-free speakerphone from Chattanooga's
Clarity, a division of Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) -- is one of 15
innovations selected as a 2013 da Vinci Awards(R) finalist.  
Since its inception in 2001, the da Vinci Awards(R) has become a
prestigious international forum for the most innovative developments
and research in adaptive and assistive technology. The awards
celebrate people who triumph over disabilities and recognize those
who have developed new technologies and innovations that enhance
mobility and enable all people to function at their fullest.  
A finalist in the Communication/Educational Aids category, Clarity's
Fortissimo is a voice-activated speakerphone designed precisely for
the 19 million Americans with mobility challenges. It features 85
dBSPL of loud and crystal clear amplification, which allows users to
have conversations from anywhere in the room in which the
speakerphone is located. Fortissimo can be operated with a
microphone-equipped remote pendant or users can activate various
features by blowing gently on a connected puff switch or touching a
connected pillow switch with their arm, leg, head or shoulder.
Additionally, Fortissimo includes ClarityLogic(TM), an innovative
customer service technology through which Clarity technicians can
remotely access and adjust the volume, program the phonebook or make
upgrades for the user.  
"We are honored to be recognized by the National MS Society on this
international stage," said Carsten Trads, president of Clarity. "From
day one, we designed Fortissimo for people living with MS and others
who face severe mobility challenges. Clarity has a rich history of
designing solutions that address health challenges like hearing loss
or low vision, and we decided to focus Fortissi
mo on mobility. We're
excited Fortissimo is making a positive impact on the MS community
and grateful to be a part of the da Vinci Awards." 
Finalists representing the United States and the United Kingdom were
chosen from entries received from around the world. U.S. finalists
are from 11 states with three from Michigan.  
Many technologies that help improve the quality of life,
independence, and sense of control of individuals with disabilities
are among this year's da Vinci Awards(R) finalists. These include a
wearable robotic device that enables paraplegics to walk again, a
drop-in rowing system for rowboats and canoes that can be operated
without the use of hands or arms, and a shopping cart that allows
special needs children and adults the opportunity to shop with their
families or caregivers. 
Videos submissions for each finalist are featured at with a special people's choice award
called 'The Leo' presented to the finalist receiving the highest
number of "thumbs up" votes.  
Entries were submitted in five categories including:  

--  Communication/Educational Aids
--  Environmental Adaptation/Daily Living or Work Aids
--  Prosthetics/Orthotics/Controls
--  Transportation and Mobility
--  Recreation and Leisure

Finalists and their innovative technologies will be honored April 11,
2013 at a special awards event at the Ford Conference and Event
Center in Dearborn, Michigan, with the 2013 da Vinci Award(R) winners
announced live that evening. The gala event benefits the National
Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter. Tickets and additional
information are available at 
About MS and the da Vinci Awards
 Multiple sclerosis is a chronic
disease usually diagnosed in young adults and the National MS Society
understands the difficulties people experience when faced with
physical disabilities.  
About Multiple Sclerosis 
 Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable,
often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the
flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.
Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.
The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person
cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are
moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are
diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three
times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS
affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide and over 18,000 in
The Michigan Chapter of the National MS Society
( created the da Vinci Awards(R) in
2001 to foster innovation and hope by recognizing the latest
developments and research in adaptive and assistive technologies,
which play an important role in helping people overcome physical
The da Vinci Awards(R) were named after Leonardo da Vinci because of
his documented talents as an inventor, philosopher, engineer,
architect and artist. The name itself captures the spirit in which
the awards are given. 
An impartial panel of judges representing the technology and
disability communities selected the finalists and da Vinci Award
winners in each of five categories. 
A complete list of past award winners can be found at 
Image Available: 
Ryan Witherell
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