Ability Research FAQs

Frequently asked questions

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Hand Held Voice

Q: How many levels are there?
A: The Hand Held voice doen't have fixed levels. You can create and modify a great many boards (screens with symbols on them). You can think of the screens as dynamic "levels."

Each symbol on each screen can have a message recorded and the symbols can also be programmed to link to another board if desired.

Q: How long will the batteries last?
A: Between 1 and 4 weeks, depending on usage is typical. Battery life depends a great deal on how the unit is used. The highest battery consumption is when playing audio, especially at higher volume. Next highest consumption is with display on but no audio. When the unit is asleep, hardly any battery is used. Best life will be if unit is set to sleep in the shorted time (30 sec). Caution: The unit can wake up while being stored ot transported if something touches the white keys (which wake the unit up). If the unit is to be stored or transported (other than carrying it around for normal use) it's a good idea to turn it off to save battery life. Duracell Ultra and similar long life alkaline batteries do give somewhat longer life in the hand held voice.

Q: Do I need expansion cards?
A: Expansion cards are very handy, but not needed unless you need more recording time or board capacity than already in the base unit. The cards are very handy, though, because each is completely self-contained... You can instantly change the boards and messages in a Hand Held Voice simply by swapping to another expansion card.

Q: How long can each recorded message be?
A: Messages are not of any set length. Each can be up to as long as the time remaining in the unit when the message is recorded. An 8 minute card could have 1 message of 8 minutes or 240 messages of 2 seconds each, for example.

Q: Is the Hand Held Voice durable?
A: The Hand Held Vocie is durable, but not indestructable. It is most durable when in the optional carrying case (which provides extra padding).

Q: Can I back up my boards to a computer?
A: You can with the optional HHV BoardLink software and computer adapter. The present release of software allows you to save the boards stored in the base unit or expansion card to a Windows 95 or Windows 98 computer. It can then restore them to the unit from the computer. This is also a handy way of quickly setting up a Hand Held Voice with a pre-dessigned set of boards. We hope a some point in the future to have several sample sets available. NOTE: The present version of software does NOT save or restore the recorded messages... only the boards and links. This is still very helpful, since about 90% of the set up time is in setting up the boards.


(For existing owners; currently out of production)

Q:How many messages are there?
A: The ActionVoice-1E has 10 messages. The ActionVoice-2 lets you use 10 messages on one level or 18 messages on two levels (9 on each). Messages can be changed over and over and individually.

Q: How long can each message be?
A: It depends on your choice of operating modes. Normal mode allows up to 6+ seconds per message (12+ on the 1E) and allows any message to be re-recorded anytime without any concern for order or previously recorded messages. Long message mode allows any message to be as long as the total time remaining. Messages can still be recorded freely, but there are cases where a new message may "bump into" an existing one. In this case, the ActionVoice informs you and the existing message is erased or cut short. You can change between modes any time. In long message mode, a single message might be up to 2 minutes.

Q:How long does the battery last?
A: It depends very much on how the unit is used. There is no power switch. The ActionVoice automatically uses as little battery power as possible. When idle, almost no power is used. Scanning uses a small amount. Auditory scanning uses quite a bit more. Playing of messages uses the most. Further, the louder the volume setting, the more battery power is required. We estimate a 9 volt Alkaline battery should last for between a week and a month of normal (fairly heavy) use. Auditory scanning life will be less. Light use will last for months. For very heavy use, there is a 9 volt lithium battery available (called a LongLife, I think). It has about twice the life of an alkaline.

Q: When using scanning, are all the messages scanned or can I use just a few?
A: The ActionVoice will scan the messages you've recorded and will skip any you've erased. On the ActionVoice 2 using two levels, you have a choice of whether the scan will cover both levels or stay within one level (use the OPTION 1 key in setup mode to control this). In short, you can scan from one to as many all of the messages.

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