Frequently Asked Questions
VisuALS Technology Solutions, LLC is a company formed with the mission of loving our neighbors by restoring independence, dignity and hope through affordable assistive technology solutions. The company’s first product, also called VisuALS, is an integrated solution that enables our neighbors to communicate with loved ones and control their environment with their eyes.
The VisuALS system was originally developed by students at Oklahoma Christian University as part of an engineering senior capstone project. They were originally tasked with helping ALS patients communicate with their eyes. They brainstormed the name VisuALS based on those requirements. Although we know that the VisuALS system can help many with non-ALS conditions, we have kept the name because it reflects the eye tracking nature of our solution and to recognize the genesis of the solution, product, and company.
We are motivated by love. While we are a business which must earn enough profit to continue operations and to grow to help as many people as possible, our primary focus is on affordability and simplicity to make alternative communications solutions available to as many people as need it. We pray for the day when no one will need our solution, and we celebrate when others take steps that improve the lives of those we exist to serve. We aren’t striving to charge as much as we can, but as little as we can.
About the VisuALS System
The VisuALS System is an integrated solution that combines a tablet computer (currently a Microsoft Surface Pro with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage), an eye tracking device, a powerful bluetooth speaker so you can be heard in public settings, a case to properly position the eye tracker and tablet, a C-clamp stand to mount the case to a table or desk, and the VisuALS software. We cannot legally resell the eye tracking device, so in addition to ordering the VisuALS System from us, you will order an eye tracking device from Amazon to be delivered to us for integration.
The VisuALS software currently includes a main menu, a text-to-speech module, a note taking module, a web browser module (that can also be used for e-mail and social networks), and a home automation module.
The home automation module is designed to work with Amazon’s Echo line of voice control devices, and with a variety of home automation products that are integrated with the Echo (including light bulbs and home theater remotes). Since some already own an Echo, these optional products are ordered separately. We provide links to products that we have integrated with VisuALS on our add-ons page.
The mount that we provide is also compatible with wheelchair mounts also linked on our add-ons page.
With your purchase, you also receive unlimited telephone customer support and automatic software updates for two years.
We applied to be a reseller of the eye tracker, but we did not meet the manufacturer’s criteria to qualify. We are pursuing alternatives, but in the meantime, since we cannot legally resell that product, our customers are required to purchase it from an authorized reseller. We will integrate it for you with the rest of the VisuALS system.
The case that we provide has been specifically designed to hold that model of eye tracker and the VisuALS software has been extensively tested to work as smoothly as possible with that brand and model. So, yes, that brand and model is required.
As long as you legally obtain the same brand and model of eye tracker, and ship it to us for integration into your system, we are happy for you to get it anywhere. We won’t be able to complete the integration of your system until we receive the eye tracker. We have chosen Amazon because they have competitive prices, they make it easy for us to pre-fill our shipping address for you, and many people get rapid shipping from Amazon, but feel free to buy the eye tracker elsewhere.
In developing our product, we have found the optimal system settings and configurations that make our solution work as seamlessly as possible for someone with limited use of their hands. We have also found that the use of the tablet for other purposes can create issues when using the VisuALS system. For these reasons, we do not offer a software-only solution and require purchasing the tablet component as part of our total solution.
The C-Clamp mount securely attaches to many tables and desks to ensure that the VisuALS system doesn’t get inadvertently knocked to the ground and damaged. However, we also recommend the Dual-Arm Desktop Mount which has the advantage of being easy to move from room to room. The base of this mount is quite heavy (around 4 pounds), so it is unlikely to get knocked off. This is a more expensive option, but does provide flexibility as you move around the house.
Ordering and Paying
To date, we have focused on making the VisuALS System affordable and accessible. We have specifically targeted getting the price lower than many have previously had to pay as co-pay on more expensive systems covered by insurance. Most people purchasing the VisuALS System are pleased that they can purchase at any time without having to wait for the insurance process. To further help with affordability, customers can establish a Family & Friends Love Fund, to which people can contribute to help pay for the VisuALS System.
We typically ship your VisuALS system within one business day of receiving the Eye Tracking hardware that you ordered and had shipped to our location. Depending on where you live, it typically takes 2-3 days from when we ship before it will arrive at your home. For many of our customers who have 2-day or less shipping with Amazon, they can receive their VisuALS system about a week after placing the order.
VisuALS has established a crowdfunding mechanism so that family, friends, and even complete strangers can contribute to the cost of a VisuALS System. We call these Love Funds.
Before ordering their VisuALS System, customers can establish a Family & Friends Love Fund. They can share the link via e-mail, text, and social media so that contacts can contribute directly towards the purchase of their VisuALS System. The customer selects how long they want to run their campaign and the target amount they want to raise (from $250 up to the total cost of $2700). At the end of their campaign, VisuALS will apply the amount raised as a discount, reducing the purchase price dollar-for-dollar. Unlike other crowdfunding services, VisuALS does not charge any fees for this fund-raising service.
If contributions to a Family & Friends Love Fund exceed the total purchase price of $2700, the extra money is added to the Neighbors Love Fund. Similarly, if a customer starts a Love Fund but ends up deciding not to purchase a VisuALS System, the money raised is added to the Neighbors Fund. Anyone can also choose to contribute directly to the Neighbors Fund. This fund is used to help close the gap when Family & Friends campaigns come up short of their goal. All money contributed to any Love Fund will be used to help cover the costs of a VisuALS System for someone needing one.
VisuALS is not a registered non-profit, so contributions are not tax deductible.
Bug fixes and updates to the VisuALS software will automatically be installed as soon as available for two years following purchase. Microsoft provides a 1 year warranty on the Surface Pro. Logitech also provides a 1 year warranty on the bluetooth speaker. The Joy Factory similarly provides a 1 year warranty on the mount.
You can reach us at 866-767-4997. Our customer service hours are:
- Monday – Friday: 12pm – 8pm Central US
- Saturday: 10am – 2pm Central US
You can also send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.