We are thrilled to announce that for a second consecutive year, Not Impossible Labs has received a SXSW Interactive Innovation Award in Austin, Texas. "Don's Voice" was awarded Innovation in Connecting People giving us back-to-back wins after our 2015 Innovation Award for “Project Daniel.”
“Don’s Voice” is a heart-warming look at the true story of Don and Lorraine Moir, a farming family debilitated by ALS and living outside of London, Ontario. The husband and wife married in 1989. Six years and three children later, Don was diagnosed with ALS. Week by week, Don lost more of his motor-neurological functions. On May 21, 1999, he was finally fitted with a ventilator. He hasn’t spoken since.
Don communicates via a letter board: a simple sheet of paper with the alphabet divided into quadrants. The disease has forced Don to communicate silently through others, letter-by-letter, word-by-word, for more than a decade.
After hearing Not Impossible Founder Mick Ebeling on the radio, Lorraine contacted Not Impossible to help create a digital solution for her husband. The Not Impossible team, led by volunteer programmer and engineer Javed Gangjee, utilized its know-how, the incredible people at HP, the HP x360 Convertible PC and SpeakYourMind Foundation to develop a simple interface that replicated Don’s paper letter board. Don was able to access a new world of technology and communication for the first time since being diagnosed.
Through this simple technology, Don independently wrote a love letter to his wife and was able to audibly say “I love you, Lorraine” for the first time in 15 years.
After yesterday’s win, Mick Ebeling commented: “We are beyond thrilled to win not one, but two SXSW Innovation Awards. I hope that the Not Impossible stories of Don [Don's Voice], Daniel [Project Daniel] and Tempt [the Eyewriter] will continue to inspire people around the world to “Help One, Help Many” and to continue to strive to cause meaningful, accessible change. We could not be more honored to have worked alongside the incredible team that made this project transcend concept to reality. A huge thanks goes out to HP for being brave early and committing to doing the Not Impossible.”
“We hope ‘Don’s Voice’ will inspire and remind others to tell their loved ones they love them, and to use technology to connect with each other rather than disconnect,” continues Ebeling. “In the midst of busy schedules, and the madness of everyday life — sometimes you just need a reminder to #VoiceYourLove to those you care about most.”
Made possible by Hewlett Packard & Not Impossible.
HP: Vikrant Batra, Katie Nauman. Executive Producers: Mick Ebeling, Caskey Ebeling, Elliot Kotek, & Andrew Moir. Producers: Mat Lundberg & Sophia Dilley. Directors of Photography: Lost & Found (David Usui and Ben Wu). Edited by: Matt Chessé. Sound Editor / Sound Mix: Suzanne Goldish. Original Score Composed by: Leah Curtis. Color Correction: Beau Leon. Visual Graphics: Simon Robson. Associate Producer: Leah Carnahan. Assistant Editors: Scott Chrisman & Matthew Sweat. Content Manager: Brian Mitchell. Location Production Assistant: Vincent Pun. Marketing and PR: Raconteur (Alison Williams, Joseph Pineda, Olia Ougrik, Allison Krieser, and Marissa Puget) Empowered by: SpeakYourMind. Software Developers: On-screen Keyboard evaluation program: Javed Gangjee, Not Impossible. Main Interface: SpeakYourMind, Javed Gangjee, Dan Bacher, Michael Weinstein. Word Prediction: SpeakYourMind, Javed Gangjee, & Michael Weinstein. Software Testing: SpeakYourMind, Javed Gangjee, & Kelsey Evans. Software Training and Support: Javed Gangjee, Not Impossible. Hardware Procurement: Not Impossible & David Putrino. Laptops provided by Hewlett Packard. Hardware Configuration: Javed Gangjee.