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Jose L. Hernandez-Rebollar Innovative Lives presentation

Creator:
Hernandez-Rebollar, Jose L.  Search this
Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Search this
Extent:
0.25 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Slides (photographs)
Transcripts
Audiocassettes
Digital images
Cd-roms
Date:
2005 August 3
Summary:
Jose L. Hernandez-Rebollar was born in the state of Puebla in Mexico. He is the inventor of the AcceleGlove, a prototype device which can translate the alphabet and over 300 words into American Sign Language. The collection contains original and reference audio cassettes of Dr. Rebollar's presentation, "The Process of Invention: The AcceleGlove," a transcript of the presentation, photocopies of his power point presentation slides, and a CD-ROM containing digital images taken at the presentation.
Scope and Contents:
Collection documents Dr. Jose L. Hernandez-Rebollar's invention prototype of the AcceleGlove. In his power point presentation The Process of Invention: The AcceleGlove, Rebollar discusses his childhood in Mexico and his educational background, emphasizing his Ph.D. work on the AcceleGlove at The George Washington University. Dr. Rebollar describes his research and his attempt to solve communication and translation problems associated with turning American Sign Language into spoken words and text. Rebollar also discusses American Sign Language and its applications. A demonstration of the AcceleGlove is given. The presentation concludes with a question and answer period.

Series 1: Original Audio Cassettes, 2005, is one audio cassette recording of Dr. Rebollar's Innovative Lives Presentation on August 3, 2005. The recording is approximately 70 minutes.

Series 2: Reference Audio Cassettes, 2005, contains copies of Dr. Rebollar's Innovative Lives Presentation on August 3, 2005.

Series 3: Transcript of presentation, August 3, 2005

Series 4: Digital Images, 2005, consists of one CD-ROM containing 46 digital images (jpeg files) documenting Dr. Rebollar's Innovative Lives Presentation. The digital images were taken by Richard Straus of Smithsonian Photographic Services.

Series 5: Power Point Slides contains two photocopied sets of the twenty-one slides used during Dr. Rebollar's power point presentation The Process of Invention: The AcceleGlove.
Arrangement:
Collection is divided into five series.

Series 1: Original Audio Cassette, August 3, 2005

Series 2: Reference Audio Cassettes, 2005

Series 3: Transcript of Presentation, August 3, 2005

Series 4: Digital Images, 2005

Series 5: Power Point Slides, 2005
Biographical / Historical:
Dr. Jose L. Hernandez-Rebollar was born in the state of Puebla in México. He completed his B.S. in electronics at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in 1993 and received his masters in Electronics Engineering from the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Optica y Electrónica (National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics) in 1997. In 1998, Dr. Rebollar obtained a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. at The George Washington University. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Science in Electrical Engineering in 2003. He majored in Signals and Systems with a minor in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and Bioelectronics.

Dr. Rebollar's invention, an electronic glove, called the AcceleGlove, can turn American Sign Language (ASL) gestures into spoken words or text. The glove is placed on the hand and strapped to the arm, allowing sensors on the glove to generate signals from the movement, orientation, and positioning of the hand and the fingers in relation to the body. These signals are analyzed by a micro-controller to find the position of the fingers and hand trajectory. The AcceleGlove translates the alphabet and over 300 words in American Sign Language.

The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation was founded in 1995 at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History through a generous gift from the Lemelson Foundation. The Center's mission is: to document, interpret, and disseminate information about invention and innovation; to encourage inventive creativity in young people; and to foster an appreciation for the central role invention and innovation play in the history of the United States. The Innovative Lives series brings together Museum visitors and American inventors to discuss inventing and the creative process and to experiment and play with hands-on activities related to each inventor's product. This collection was created by the Innovative Lives Program of the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
Provenance:
Transferred by Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, January 30, 2006.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Language and languages  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Sign language  Search this
American Sign Language  Search this
Inventors -- 21st century  Search this
Inventions -- 21st century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Slides (photographs)
Transcripts
Audiocassettes
Digital images
CD-ROMs
Citation:
Jose L. Hernandez-Rebollar Innovative Lives Program, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0917
See more items in:
Jose L. Hernandez-Rebollar Innovative Lives presentation
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0917
Online Media:

Safko International, Inc. Records

Creator:
Safko, Lon S.  Search this
Extent:
12.6 Cubic feet (34 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Design drawings
Magnetic disks
Audiovisual materials
Financial records
Legal documents
Correspondence
Marketing records
Photographs
Business records
Floppy disks
Date:
1984 - 1996
Summary:
The records of Safko International, Inc., document an assistive computer technology company created by Lon S. Safko to produce and sell the environmental control systems he invented for the physically disabled, specifically quadriplegics. Through the use of a computer and alternative input devices, the physically disabled were able to overcome physical barriers which inhibited them from attaining an autonomous lifestyle.
Scope and Contents:
Spanning 1984 to 1998, the Safko International, Inc. Records are divided into seven series and consist of approximately 12.6 cubic feet. Collectively these series document the routine affairs of Safko International, Inc., a company created for the production and distribution of the assistive technology inventions of Lon S. Safko from its formation in 1986 to its dissolution in 1995. During the lifespan of this company there was a growing awareness of and sensitivity towards disability issues within American society. Two significant events associated with this change in American society, were the American with Disabilities Act, 1993, and Christopher Reeve's riding accident in 1995, documented within this collection. In addition to documenting the intersection of American society with the assistive technology field, this collection documents how one man's vision of society and that of his company, in conjunction with perseverance and sacrifices, can transform the lives of individuals such as Franklin Halwood and Liz Jimenez. Lastly, this collection documents the evolution of assistive technology devices to provide for the specific needs of the physically and cognitively disabled.

Executive Records, 1986-1998, is approximately 3.6 cubic feet of documents, the majority of which are correspondence and reports. Other documents include: business cards, faxes, form letters, printed emails, brochures, check stubs, invoices, photocopied newspaper and magazine clippings, blank applications, memoranda, license agreements, scrap paper notes, promotional materials, private placement memoranda, annual reports of other corporations, resumes, receipts, deposit slips, meeting notes, directories, press releases, stock listings, maps, non-disclosure covenants, organizational charts, airline ticket stubs, by-laws, stock certificates, and stock warrants. This series is subdivided into eight subseries, each documenting the operational affairs of Safko International, Inc.

Files within the first subseries, Corporate history and formation, provide background information on the incorporation of Safko International, Inc. and its reformation as Synosure, Inc. in 1996. Other files contain documents listing employees and their positions, biographical sketches, facts about the company and products produced, corporate structuring, and Safko International, Inc.'s by-laws. Files found within the second subseries, Administration, contain operational records, the majority of which deal with the company's relationship with its employees. The third subseries, Correspondence, also deals with operational issues, such as recycling and preparing for conferences. Note that correspondence is found throughout the collection, not just in this subseries. Safko filed most correspondence by names and topics, but correspondence found within this subseries was labeled general correspondence and arranged by year. The next subseries, Business plans, are of drafts and final copies of reports that were revised every two years providing information about officers, legal and financial advisors, descriptions of the SenSei system and its market potential, its business and marketing strategies, foreign business relations, cash flow, distribution, sales history, restructuring strategy, its reseller status of other computer products, and pilot projects. The fifth subseries, Minutes, is comprehensive in coverage except for the period between 1990 and 1992. The most information about company decisions and discussions made at these meetings can be found in the minutes spanning 1992 to 1995.

The next two subseries, Board of Directors and Personnel, are not comprehensive in coverage and contain very few documents. Also, files for some of the employees and Board of Directors are not found within these subseries. Employee files include: Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer (Safko), SenSei Program Director (Martindale), Marketing Assistant (Montgomery), Computer programmer (Hirota), Chief Executive Officer and President after Safko resigned (Schembs), Vice President of Sales and Marketing (Zinn), Vice President of Sales and Marketing (Bowman), and Director of Sales (Owen). Within the two files about Safko is correspondence of a personal nature, his biographical sketch, and curriculum vitae. The final subseries, Business relationships, contains files about individuals and companies whose relationship to Safko International, Inc. was unclear or who had a relationship with the company that covered many areas of business. For instance, although Westinghouse Investment Management Company invested in other businesses, it had a "non-financial" interest in Safko International, Inc. Another example is the Apple Corporation, which provided technical support for Apple Computers that Safko International, Inc. resold, but it also marketed Safko's SenSei System in its Aisle 17 publication.

Financial Records 1987-1998, is approximately 1.3 cubic feet of documents, the majority of which are spreadsheets and reports about the company's financial status and correspondence with companies and individuals about investment opportunities. Other documents include: form letters, faxes, financial charts, resumes, memoranda, confidential summary memoranda, executive summaries, photocopied checks, photocopied newspaper clippings, handwritten notes, financial spreadsheets, stock warrants, agendas, private offering memoranda, confidential summary memoranda, drafts and final copies of financial statements, deposit slips, and business cards. This series is subdivided into four subseries, each documenting the fiscal difficulties that Safko International, Inc. encountered and its strategy for overcoming these difficulties.

The first subseries, Bookkeeping, includes records of liabilities, assets, expenses, inventories, payroll, stock transaction history, plans for preventing bankruptcy, and auditing procedures. The other three subseries deal specifically with the pursuit of Safko International, Inc. for financial assistance. The distinction between the third and fourth subseries is significant. The third subseries, Investors, documents individuals and companies that invested in Safko International, Inc. through loans or purchases of stock. The fourth subseries, includes files of individuals and companies from whom Safko requested financial assistance, but either rejected Safko's plea outright or never responded. It may be that some of these files are of companies and individuals that did in fact invest in Safko International, Inc., but there is no documentation within the files themselves to identify these individuals and companies as investors.

Legal Records, 1986-1997, is approximately 1.5 cubic feet of documents, the bulk of which is correspondence. Other documents in this series include: reports, licenses, payment vouchers, receipts, court summons, memoranda, photocopied newspaper clippings and magazine articles, newsletters, business proposals, faxes, promotional flyers for other products, brochures, meeting minutes, agreements, business cards, thirteen 5.25" computer diskettes, fourteen 3.5" computer disks, and phone messages. This series is divided into five subseries, each documenting the attempts of Safko International, Inc. to protect itself and its product.

The first subseries, Poor mans' patents, are packets of certified mail that Lon S. Safko sent to himself from 1986 to 1994 to provide proof of his status as the inventor of SoftVoice and other assistive technology devices. The second subseries, Legal documents, provide background information about the SenSei trademark and copyright application process. It also includes proof for the status of Safko International, Inc. as a legitimate and registered company having been granted the authority to conduct business. The third subseries, Legal representation and counsel, are files of documents created in the course of business between Safko International, Inc. and its various legal representatives pertaining to specific issues including: advice about copyrights and compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, capitalization, liability insurance program, loan and stock agreements, personal service agreements, pledge agreements, a prospective business venture with the Saudi Amoudi Group, articles of incorporation, and dissolutions. Most of the issues discussed within this subseries are administrative or financial.

The fourth subseries, Disputes, deals with legal battles that do not appear to have reached litigation. Documentation can be found about the contractual relationship with the Austin McDaniel Corporation and its subsequent dissolution, a challenge to the intellectual property copyright to "SenSei," Safko International, Inc.'s payment in arrears to other businesses, and the attempt of a board member to seek financial compensation from the company. The final subseries, Research file, is background research into the legal ramifications of the American with Disabilities Act, possible copyright infringements by other companies, copyright status of companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Motorola and their relationship to Safko International, Inc., information on how to deal with software licenses, and incoming and outgoing correspondence with software creators asking for their permission to incorporate their inventions as a part of the SenSei system.

Research Development, and Production Records, 1984-1996, is approximately one cubic foot of documents. It includes: correspondence, promotional materials, catalogs, drawings, photocopied newspaper clippings and magazine articles, manuals, circuit board diagrams, receipts, newsletter, brochures, six 3.5" computer disks, seventeen 5.25" computer floppy diskettes, invoices, faxes, business cards, agreements, photographs, fact sheets, and labels. This series is divided into five subseries, each documenting the revisions and adaptations of SoftVoice and the SenSei System for marketability purposes.

The first subseries, SoftVoice, consists of seventeen 5.25" computer floppy diskettes and some documents. The only documents found within this subseries are in two files, the majority of which are in the SoftVoice telephone file. In contrast, the second subseries, SenSei, consists mostly of documents and only one 3.5" computer disk. Among this subseries are files providing information on other complimentary products that Safko resold as a part of the SenSei System, instructions for installers and users of the system, adaptations of the system to meet particular needs, and information on suppliers, unit costs and suggested retail prices. As a part of the third subseries are five 3.5" computer disks. The strength of this subseries is its documentation of the Siptroller. The fourth subseries, Proprietary relationships, documents the pursuit of and/or actual relationship between Safko International, Inc. and other companies involved in selling, manufacturing, and/or distributing assistive technology devices. Depending on the individual needs of the client, Safko International, Inc. offered and sometimes sold these hardware devices and software programs as a part of the SenSei System. Ways in which the system was or could have been adapted through proprietary relationships include: establishing fire alarm and medical alert systems, programming languages, graphics, European modifications, word prediction software, iconic keyboards, and alternative input devices. The final subseries, Research concerning product development, is like the aforementioned subseries, but there is no documentation to prove that the companies contained within this subseries ever had a proprietary relationship with Safko International, Inc. In fact, within this subseries are files about companies that competed with Safko International, Inc. in the field of voice recognition and imitation. A third aspect of this subseries is that it contains research on technologies, like virtual reality, which were ways in which the SenSei system could be enhanced. This subseries contains documentation of Safko International, Inc.'s involvement in pilot studies to assess how assistive technology devices and systems like SenSei can make a difference in the work field.

Marketing, Publicity, and Sales Records, 1986-1996, is approximately 3.1 cubic feet of documents, including: correspondence, faxes, memoranda, drafts and final copies of agreements, reports, press releases, advertisements, fact sheets, agendas, photocopied newspaper clippings and magazine articles, transcripts, photographs, award applications, diagrams, annual reports, business cards, presentation outlines, notes, delivery slips, invoices, inventory lists, and diagrams. This series is divided into twelve subseries, each documenting an important part Safko International, Inc's. efforts to sell and create public awareness of their products. Also documented is that Safko International, Inc's. marketing to hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and consultants, nursing homes, insurance companies, government agencies, and individuals through mailings, advertisements, telephone calls, and personal relationships.

The first subseries, Product and company information, contains documents that are similar to those in the first subseries of Executive Records. The main difference is that these files are not the master copies. Also, very few files of this subseries actually focus on company history; the majority are documents created to assist individuals, other businesses, and company employees in providing background information about the product, finding funding to purchase a system, and understanding how the SenSei System works. The second subseries, Sales records, provides information on sales transactions. Some of the delivery slips and invoices within this subseries are also located in client files. The third subseries, Marketing agencies and agents, documents the relationship Safko International, Inc. had with public relations agencies. Of all the subseries, this is the one with the majority of information. It reveals the techniques the company and its public relations agents used in trying to initiate contact with other individuals and companies. For instance, there is detailed information about the construction of promotional materials along with timelines and progress reports assessing the work of the marketing agents in meeting the needs of Safko International, Inc. The fourth subseries, Promotional materials, contain documents whose purpose was to sell the Sensei system and other assistive technology inventions created by Lon S. Safko. Unlike the first subseries, Product and company information, the purpose of these documents was to persuade prospective customers. The fifth subseries, Advertisements and publicity, records publicity garnered through magazines, newspapers, video, television, and radio. The sixth subseries, Awards, documents publicity of a different sort. It documents the recognition Lon S. Safko and his inventions received for benefiting society. Within this subseries, one of the files documents the creation of a museum display at the Arizona Science Center. In addition to creating public awareness of the SenSei System, this series documents the training of sales representatives, sales transactions, and distribution.

The seventh subseries, Sales representatives' materials consist of documents used to assist in training the representatives. The eighth subseries, Sales representatives, is of files organized according to the name of the representative. Besides invoices for sales transactions, these files also contain agreements outlining responsibilities, a listing of who to go to for answers to legal questions, information on conventions, and definitions of pertinent medical terms necessary for a sales representative to know. Note that not all files are comprehensive or provide the same kinds of information. The ninth subseries, Conferences and demonstrations, are of presentations given by Safko International, Inc. to inform others about their products and to build relationships with other companies. Representatives of Safko International, Inc. attended to learn from other companies. One such conference was an Innovative Thinking Conference, in which the attendees were involved in brainstorming new marketing ideas.

The tenth subseries, Distribution, documents the expansion of the SenSei System into domestic and foreign markets. Included is background information about various companies and markets, agreements made with other companies, and the process for buying back equipment that distributors were unable to sell. The eleventh subseries, Prospective clients and business contacts, are files for which there is no definitive relationship built with Safko International, Inc. Within these files are letters to prospective clients asking to give them a demonstration, or letters of appreciation for a demonstration given, but no evidence of a follow-up.

Some of the files are of contacts initiated with marketing agencies or distributors that do not appear to have developed into an actual relationship. The last subseries, clients, is composed mostly of invoices and correspondence pertaining to the purchase or lease of SenSei Systems by school districts, individuals, churches, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities. Information about: who the product was shipped to, the cost, representatives or distribution companies responsible for the sale, notes of adaptations to the system for individual needs, assessments by consultants, brief history of some of the individuals who purchased the systems, installation notes, and problems they encountered are found here. Like other files found elsewhere, this subseries is not comprehensive. Many files only include the invoices, but others include more information.

Photographs and Scrapbooks, 1987-1995, is approximately 0.9 cubic feet. Contained are: photographs, negatives, pins, thank you notes, photocopied newspaper clippings, agendas, programs, calendars, memoranda, correspondence, mailers, exhibitor ribbons, stickers, and newsletters. This series is divided into two subseries, each documenting the routine affairs of Safko International, Inc. and the individuals involved.

The first subseries, Photographs and negatives, is mostly promotional photographs of the products or individuals using the products. The second subseries, Scrapbooks, are mostly photographs, but includes other types of documents, and some artifacts. Most photographs found in the scrapbooks are not found elsewhere, but there is some overlap with the first subseries. Photographs in this subseries document board meetings, employees at work, assembling the mass mailings, wall hangings, inside and outside of Safko International, Inc.'s offices, Austin McDaniel Corporation offices, attorney's offices, meetings with TeleNova and InfoLogics, an investment reception, products Safko International, Inc. sold, system modifications, computer screens, the packaged product, setup for taking promotional photographs, setup for presentations, demonstration in a hospital setting, conferences, television interviews, Franklin Halwood, and unidentified individuals. In both subseries, very few of the photographs are captioned.

The seventh series, Audiovisual Materials, 1986-1996, is approximately one cubic foot of materials, encompassing twenty-nine 1⁄2" VHS tapes and four standard audio cassette tapes. Accordingly this series is divided into two subseries, Audio cassettes and Audio visual tapes, both documenting the marketing of the SenSei System. Additionally the second subseries also documents presentations given by Safko International, Inc. representatives and instruction manuals showing how to use the SoftVoice and SenSei systems.
Arrangement:
This collection is divided into seven series.

Series 1: Executive Records, 1986-1998

Subseries 1.1: Corporate history and formation, 1986-1997

Subseries 1.2: Administration, 1988-1996

Subseries 1.3: Correspondence, 1988-1995

Subseries 1.4: Business plans, 1989-1996

Subseries 1.5: Minutes, 1987-1997

Subseries 1.6: Board of Directors, 1988-1992

Subseries 1.7: Personnel, 1988-1998

Subseries 1.8: Business relationships, 1986-1998

Sub-subseries 1.8.1: Apple Corporation, 1986-1996

Sub-subseries 1.8.2: Consultants, 1989-1994

Sub-subseries 1.8.3: Professional contacts, 1987-1995

Sub-subseries 1.8.4: National, 1987-1996

Sub-subseries 1.8.5: International, 1988-1998

Series 2: Financial Records, 1986-1998

Subseries 2.1: Bookkeeping, 1986-1996

Subseries 2.2: Bookkeeping, 1988-1996

Subseries 2.3: Investors, 1987-1998

Subseries 2.4: Investors, 1987-1998

Series 3: Legal Records, 1986-1997

Subseries 3.1: Poor man's patents, 1986-1994

Subseries 3.2: Legal documents, 1987-1994

Subseries 3.3: Legal representation and counsel, 1988-1995

Subseries 3.4: Disputes, 1987-1997

Subseries 3.5: Research file, 1986-1995

Series 4: Research, Development and Production Records, 1984-1996

Subseries 4.1: SoftVoice, circa 1986

Subseries 4.2: SenSei, 1987-1995

Subseries 4.3: Other inventions, 1988-circa 1992

Subseries 4.4: Proprietary relationships, 1986-1996

Subseries 4.5: Research concerning product development, 1984-1995

Series 5: Marketing, Publicity, and Sales Records, 1986-1996

Subseries 5.1: Product and company information, 1986-1995

Subseries 5.2: Sales records, 1987-1995

Subseries 5.3: Marketing agencies and agents, 1989-1995

Subseries 5.4: Promotional materials, 1987-1995

Subseries 5.5: Advertisements and publicity, 1986-1995

Subseries 5.6: Awards, 1987-1996

Subseries 5.7: Sales representatives' materials, 1990-1995

Subseries 5.8: Sales representatives, 1988-1996

Subseries 59: Conferences and demonstrations, 1987-1995

Subseries 5.10: Distribution, 1986-1996

Subseries 5.11: Prospective clients and business contacts, 1987-1996

Subseries 5.12: Clients, 1986-1996

Series 6: Photographs and Scrapbooks, 1987-1995

Subseries 6.1: Photographs and negatives, 1987-1995

Sub-subseries 6.1.1: Administration, circa 1988-1995

Sub-subseries 6.1.2: Promotional, 1987-1995

Sub-subseries 6.1.3: Demonstrations and trade shows, 1988-1995

Sub-subseries 6.1.4: SoftVoice and SenSei System, 1988-1995

Subseries 6.2: Scrapbooks, 1986-1994

Series 7: Audiovisual Materials, 1986-1996

Subseries 7.1: Audio cassettes, 1991-1994

Subseries 7.2: Audio visual tapes, 1986-1996
Biographical / Historical:
Founded by Lon S. Safko in 1987, Safko International, Inc. was formed in response to the encouragement Safko received from demonstrating SoftVoice, his environmental control system. At first, Safko was merely fulfilling a promise to help a quadriplegic, Herb Smith, regain control of his environment. As Safko encountered the many difficulties of adapting existing voice recognition software to communicate with hardware devices, such as lamps, he understood that the only way to fulfill his promise was to invent his own system. Shortly after his first demonstration, on March 3, 1986, he was so inspired at the success of his invention that he decided to continue his work. In October of that year, Safko was contacted to install a system for Leon Mutch, a man who had lost his will to live after being paralyzed from an automobile accident. After installing the system, Safko heard nothing for a few weeks. Then after being telephoned to retrieve the system, he was surprised to find that Mutch had in fact regained some arm mobility, and more importantly, Mutch had regained the hope that he had lost. Less than six months later, on March 6, 1987, Safko International, Inc. was formally incorporated in Kennewick, Washington, to develop, produce, market, sell, and distribute Safko's inventions, primarily SoftVoice and its successor, the SenSei System.

Although Safko International, Inc. was officially incorporated in 1987, the company did not fully develop until its relocation to Chandler, Arizona, in 1989. During 1987 and 1988, Lon Safko continued to work in the computer retail business and as Senior Systems Engineer for the United States Department of Energy, under Westinghouse Electric Company, to produce an Artificial Intelligence computer system. From August to November, 1987, Lon Safko was repeatedly contacted by Debra Purcel, a physical therapist who wanted to purchase the system for one of her patients, a sixteen year old girl with a spinal tumor whose last request was to communicate her thoughts and feelings to others who were suffering from similar circumstances. Safko was reluctant to sell her the system because the girl was using a respirator and therefore would be unable to speak clearly enough for a computer to recognize her voice. Eventually, Safko realized the solution was to modify his system through the use of alternative input devices. He created HeadMouse, an input device modified from an existing model. He named the modified system SoftVoice II. In August, 1987, Safko's environmental control system was renamed the SenSei System. After modifying the system to provide for the needs of the young girl and its successful demonstration, Safko decided to give the system free of charge to her. Unfortunately when he returned to surprise her, he was too late. Her life support systems had been unplugged two days before.

Shortly thereafter, in March of 1988, Safko returned to Safko International, Inc. with a greater determination to reach those individuals trapped by circumstances beyond their control. Also in 1988, Safko International, Inc. was given office space in which to continue research and development of Safko's assistive computer technology systems through the assistance of Westinghouse Electric Company. As of 1988 Safko was President and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Stan Colson was Vice President and on the Product Development team, Bruce Jorgenson was the Secretary and Treasurer in charge of the Finance and Administration division, Bob Hennig was on the Product Development team, and Keith Fischer served as Director of Engineering. The Marketing and Sales division was composed of Roger McDowell and Melanie Strege.

During 1988, Safko International, Inc. began clinical testing at hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. In addition, the company signed a contract with Boyd Fricke of the Austin McDaniel Corporation granting an exclusive international sales and marketing rights to Safko International, Inc.'s products in exchange for financial assistance. Later, Austin McDaniel Corporation attempted to coerce Safko International, Inc. through financial pressure to give up product rights. In 1990 Safko regained sales and marketing rights of the SenSei System. In May of 1988 there was also an attempt to merge with Datex Inc, but the merger did not succeed.

On June 15, 1989, the company officially moved the corporate headquarters, along with the engineering and manufacturing division, to Chandler, Arizona. Also in 1989 the company signed Value Added Reseller agreements with computer companies such as Apple Computer, Inc. and Computerland/ DataPhaz of Phoenix, Arizona.

In the following year, Safko International, Inc. expanded from domestic to international markets. The company built relationships with TeleNova AB, a subsidiary of the Swedish Telecom Group of the Swedish government and InfoLogics, an artificial intelligence computer division. Through the marketing and distribution efforts of TeleNova and its president Tommy Naslund, Safko International, Inc. was able to install SenSei systems in Sweden. In 1990 Lon Safko traveled to Sweden to help InfoLogics translate the SenSei computer system software into Swedish.

In 1991 Safko International, Inc. acquired contracts to construct interfaces which correspond with hospital beds. In particular, the Borg Warner Electronic Hospital Bed interface was created on the behalf of the Veterans Administration Hospital and the Smith and Davis Electronic Hospital Bed interface on the behalf of the Rusk Institute. Additionally, the Environmental PAL was developed in 1991. In regards to corporate structuring Richard L. Bourke became Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and John B. Zinn was Vice President of Marketing.

On February 24, 1992, Safko International, Inc. became an official Arizona corporation. Also during this year, the portable Safko Server and Power Now System were created.

In May 1993, Allen J. Emsley became Secretary and Treasurer of the company and then became Chief Financial Officer from November 1993 until August 1994. In November of 1993 the research and development office was moved from Chandler to Tempe, Arizona.

In January 1994 Safko International, Inc. was acquired by Safko Industries Inc., of Wyoming and Safko Sales International was formed. By 1994 Safko International, Inc. had sales representatives covering Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Washington, Illinois, California, and New York. Reflected in the company's active marketing campaign and its significant increase of personnel, from 1994 to1995 Safko International, Inc. was at its peak in terms of corporate growth.

In 1995 Safko International, Inc. received Veterans Administration and Medicare approval. In the research and development division the company enhanced the SenSei System to be functional for the visually disabled and blind. As of 1995 Sakfo, Bowman, Emsley, Fischer, Honacker, and Hirota remained at the company. New employees included: Teresa Caldwell, Michael Montgomery (Marketing Assistant), Kahn Beal (contract employee), Jill Lund (Secretary), Carl E. McKowan (Vice President Financial), Marjory Bain (Administrative Assistant). Due to financial difficulties, in October of 1995 the entire staff was laid off and only Safko, Bowman, and Fischer continued to work for the company. Conditions only got worse and in November of 1995 Safko, Bowman, and Fischer were forced to leave their office space and work out of their cars and homes.

On May 28, 1996 Lon S. Safko officially resigned from the company and shortly thereafter the company shut down. Immediately following Safko International, Inc.'s closure, Synosure, Inc. was formed and given all rights, copyrights, and trademarks to the Safko International, Inc. products. One of the significant aspects about the company during this time was its attempt to finalize distribution plans with Great Britain, but the momentum was lost. Synosure, Inc. only lasted a year. On June 23, 1997 it dissolved.

Lawrence "Lon" S. Safko was born on August 1, 1955, in Yonkers, New York. He completed his General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.) in 1976 and graduated from Westchester College in 1978 with a three year advanced degree in Civil Engineering. Safko also took courses at Mercy College, Pace University and Hofstra University.

In the spring of 1982, Safko began his entrepreneurial career by forming Civil Consultants, a firm to provide the first ever engineering services using computers. The company specialized in surveying, coordinate geometry, earthworks, highway and transportation design, traffic analysis, and hydrologic computations. In 1985, Safko sold Civil Consultants and relocated to the Pacific Northwest. Wanting to work more closely with computers, he became the general sales manager for two Apple Computer, Inc. retail outlets.

That same year, Safko designed a voice activated environmental control system for the disabled called SoftVoice Computer System. On March 6, 1986, Safko founded Safko International, Inc. and began field testing the SoftVoice Computer System. During 1987, Safko designed an artificial intelligence computer system for the United States Department of Energy and the Westinghouse Electric Company, on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, in Washington State. This system compiled thousands of reports developed by the five uranium and plutonium production companies on the nuclear reservation, analyzed this information, and reported to the operator any signs of potentially hazardous patterns that could result in a nuclear disaster. In 1988, Safko began research and development of a Macintosh-based SenSei Computer System for the Disabled.

Safko holds United States Patent # 7,072,949 for a, "System and method for providing paper models over a wide area computer network," and several copyrights and trademarks. Currently, Safko is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant for Better Homes Seminar and Innovative Thinking, L.L.C. He also is President and founder of Paper Models, Inc., providing corporate specialty advertising and educational paper models.
Related Materials:
Materials at Other Organizations

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA holds several artifacts related to Lon Safko. Accession Lot # X3342.2006 contains:

First RCA TV Sip Controller

First Hospital Bed Nurse Call

Sip Puff IR Controller

Production Version Sip Puff Controller

Smith & Davis Electric Hospital Bed Controller

Sip Puff Modified Mouse

Computer Controlled Telephone

HeadMouse

First SenSei Server (Mac)

Prototype SenSei Server (Mac)

Sip Puff IR Controllers

Sip Puff Accessory Pack

Final SenSei Server Production Model

Final SenSei Server Production Model

SyQuest SenSei Software Back Ups First CD SenSei Software Back Ups
Separated Materials:
The Division of Information, Technology, and Society (now Division of Medicine and Science) holds 18 artifacts related to this collection as accession number 2005.0291 including:

1 Computer, with detached cord

Apple II cpu/keyboard

External Drive, ""Apple Disk II""

External Drive, ""Distar""

Magnavox computer monitor 80

4 Diskettes, ""SoftVoice""

Super Disk Demo 1

Super Disk Demo 2

SoftVoice Trainer

1 PC Daughter Board, ""Speech Recognition for Apple II""

1 Mouse Emulator, ""Head Master,"" with parts and manual in shipping box made by Prentke Romich Company

1 Trackball, ""Kensington TurboMouse""

1 Siptroller Case, Prototype, ""Safko International Inc.""

1 Puff Stick Base, ""Gravis"" with a hand piece and a chin piece only

1 Production Sensei Server, ""Version 2.0 Safko International Inc.""

1 Nurse Call Box

2 Remote Chimes, X-10 Powerhouse, Model SC546

2 Modules: 1 for a lamp and 1 for an appliance

1 Headset, ""MicroMint""

1 Phone with appliance module, ""DuoFone 102, Electronic Telephone Amplifier System"" (appliance module, ""Model no. X10-Am286"")
Provenance:
This collection was donated by Lon S. Safko, 2006.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use.
Topic:
Home automation  Search this
Social medicine -- Sweden  Search this
Assistive computer technology  Search this
User interfaces (Computer systems)  Search this
Computers -- 1950-2000  Search this
Computerized self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Rehabilitation technology  Search this
People with disabilities  Search this
Genre/Form:
Design drawings -- 1950-2000
Magnetic disks
Audiovisual materials
Financial records -- 20th century
Legal documents
Correspondence -- 1950-2000
Marketing records
Photographs -- 1950-2000
Business records -- 1950-2000
Floppy disks
Citation:
Safko International, Inc. Records, 1984-1998, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0911
See more items in:
Safko International, Inc. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0911
Online Media:

Adaptive Mobility Oral History Project Collection

Manufacturer:
Braun Corporation  Search this
Inventor:
Braun, Ralph W.  Search this
Extent:
4.4 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Oral history
Date:
2014
Arrangement:
Collecion organized into one series.

Series 1: Oral History Interviews, 2014
Provenance:
Made for the Smithsonian Institution by Mark Mullen, contractor, NMAH Division of Work and Industry, supervised by Roger White, curator, NMAH Division of Work and Industry. Transferred to the Archives Center, June 2015,
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Researchers must use reference copies available in the Smithsonian Institution Digital Asset Management System (DAMS). Archives Center reference staff will assist.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
wheelchairs  Search this
Cartographic materials for people with visual disabilities  Search this
Blindness  Search this
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
barrier-free design  Search this
Disabilities  Search this
Transportation  Search this
Genre/Form:
Oral history -- 2010-2020
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1359
See more items in:
Adaptive Mobility Oral History Project Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1359

Making Disability Modern Design Histories : Design Histories

Author:
Williamson, Bess; Guffey, Elizabeth  Search this
Physical description:
1 online resource (265) illustrations
Type:
Electronic resources
History
Electronic books
Date:
2020
Topic:
Self-help devices for people with disabilities--Design and construction--History  Search this
Design--Human factors  Search this
Barrier-free design--History  Search this
Barrier-free design  Search this
History of art / art & design styles  Search this
Call number:
NK1110 .M35 2020 (Internet)
Restrictions & Rights:
1-user
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1145706

Alder, ingen hindring : design-konkurrence = Age, no problem : design competition

Title:
Age, no problem
Author:
Bernsen, Jens  Search this
Fløe, Anne-Mette  Search this
Schenstrøm, Susanne  Search this
Dansk Design Center  Search this
Physical description:
48 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 21 cm
Type:
Catalogs
Place:
Denmark
Date:
1990
[1990?]
Topic:
Industrial design--Competitions  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities--Design and construction--Competitions  Search this
Older consumers  Search this
Call number:
TS171.4 A43 1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_696321

Resource directory for the disabled / Richard Neil Shrout

Author:
Shrout, R. N (Richard N.)  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 392 p. ; 29 cm
Type:
Directories
Place:
United States
Date:
1991
C1991
Topic:
Self-help devices for people with disabilities--Information services  Search this
Call number:
HV1569.5.S57 1991X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_431661

Design for accessibility : an arts administrator's guide / prepared and published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the National Endowment for the Arts

Author:
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (U.S.)  Search this
National Endowment for the Arts  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (loose-leaf) : ill., forms ; 29 x 31 cm
Type:
Handbooks, manuals, etc
Date:
1994
[1994]-
Topic:
People with disabilities--Services for  Search this
Barrier-free design  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Call number:
HV3011 .N27 1994
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_480354

Enchiridion; or, A hand for the one-handed

Title:
Hand for the one-handed
Author:
Derenzy, George Webb  Search this
Physical description:
60 p. ill., ports. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1962
1822
1962]
Topic:
Amputees--Rehabilitation  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Call number:
RD755 .D43 1822a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_489606

Designs for independent living : [exhibition] the Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 16-June 7, 1988

Author:
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
[8] p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1988
[1988?]
Topic:
Industrial designers  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Orthopedic apparatus  Search this
Call number:
RD755 .D45 1988
RD755.D45 1988
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_343964

Svensk Form : a conference about Swedish design

Author:
Svensk Form (1980 : London, England)  Search this
Föreningen Svensk form  Search this
Design History Society  Search this
Physical description:
48 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Congresses
Place:
Sweden
Date:
1981
C1981
Topic:
Design--History  Search this
Industrial design  Search this
Decoration and ornament, Swedish  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Call number:
NK1461 .S96 1980
NK1461.S96 1980
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_262845

The use of technology in the care of the elderly and the disabled : tools for living / edited by Jean Bray and Sheila Wright ; foreword by H. S. Wolff

Author:
Bray, Jean 1932-  Search this
Wright, Sheila 1919-  Search this
Commission of the European Communities  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 267 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Congresses
Date:
1980
C1980
Topic:
Orthopedic apparatus  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
People with disabilities--Rehabilitation  Search this
Older people--Rehabilitation  Search this
Call number:
RD755 .U83X
RD755.U83X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_132880

Designing to accommodate the handicapped : 1974 Armco student design program

Author:
Armco Steel Corporation  Search this
Physical description:
[24] p. : ill., plans ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1974
[1974?]
Topic:
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Barrier-free design  Search this
People with disabilities  Search this
Call number:
RD755 .D45
RD755.D45
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_194064

Design meets disability / Graham Pullin

Author:
Pullin, Graham 1964-  Search this
Physical description:
xix, 341 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
2009
C2009
Topic:
Design--Human factors  Search this
Industrial design  Search this
Design  Search this
Engineering design  Search this
Self-help devices for people with disabilities  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_957680

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