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Janelle Schulenberg

Tacet Resources





Freedom Box, Freedom Box Network to create America Online-like environment for the blind

MINNEAPOLIS -- March 18, 2002 -- Serotek Corporation today unveiled Freedom Box, a new Internet accessibility product that unlocks the Internet for the blind or anyone unable to use standard point-and-click technology.

Freedom Box, which combines special browsing software, high-quality speech-recognition and audio technology, allows users to access and navigate email and the Internet using simple, intuitive voice commands. An integral part of the Freedom Box offering is the Freedom Box Network online community, an Internet portal that provides content and services expressly designed for the disabled community.

"One of the great ironies of the Internet revolution is that the community that stands to benefit the most from the Internet - the blind and disabled - have no easy way to access it," said Michael Calvo, the creator of Freedom Box who has been blind since childhood. "Freedom Box and the Freedom Box Network will do for the blind and disabled what America Online did for the technology-challenged - make the Internet easy and exciting to use and a central part of their lives."

Breaking Down the Accessibility Barrier

Nearly all Internet-access technology relies on a graphical user interface (GUI) that requires the use of standard point-and-click technology and a computer monitor. Freedom Box employs a completely conversational interface as one of several mechanisms that opens a wide array of the most desirable online services to the disabled, including email, news services, Internet chat, and online shopping, simply by talking. Indeed, no monitor need be attached to the device.

Freedom Box connects to the Freedom Box Network, which is custom-designed for audio-friendly content. Freedom Box also provides powerful browsing technology that allows users to leave the Freedom Box Network and surf the World Wide Web.

Freedom Box services will include:

  • E-mail - with recording, text-creation and address-book creation capabilities
  • News and information services
  • Internet chat
  • Online shopping - custom designed for accessibility
  • Online banking and financial services including bill payment
  • Employment search resources
  • Entertainment - radio, games, audio books, movie channel (fully described)
  • Research - beginning with access to all disabled-friendly sites
  • Internet hosting services with special site hosting rates for businesses run by the disabled for the disabled
  • Online auction sites

Untapped Markets

According to the most recent U.S. census figures, nearly 54 million are disabled, with about 14 million of those individuals experiencing vision loss. Disabled Americans generate total annual personal income of approximately $1 trillion, representing significant spending power. For Internet retailers, this represents a significant market that before Freedom Box was virtually unreachable.

"Freedom Box and the Freedom Box Network will not only empower the blind and disabled community, it will also aggregate and deliver to online merchants an entirely new and previously untapped market," said Michael Fox, president and chief operating officer of Serotek. "But even more important are the unique spending characteristics of this community. Unlike many of us, they will rely on the Internet for more than just an occasional discretionary purchase, but also for the day-to-day necessities of life."

Freedom Box Product Packages

Serotek offers three Freedom Box product packages:

  • Freedom Box PC software - for personal computers meeting minimum system requirements* at the introductory price of $99.00.
  • Freedom Box SA - the plug-and-play Internet access appliance for everyone, packaged in one of the smallest high-powered devices on the market today and priced at $999.00.
  • Freedom Box Lifestyle - builds on the Freedom Box SA by adding features and functionality designed for advanced computer and Internet users. It comes complete with Freedom Box software and will run virtually all applications customized for disability access. Technical specifications for Freedom Box Lifestyle, which is priced at $1,499.00, can be found at

All three product packages feature Serotek's unique Flexible User Interface (FUI) which will allow users to combine keyboards, keypads, and computer mice with the standard voice-operation features of Freedom Box to create a user interface customized to his or her own needs and skill sets. The company also hopes soon to introduce touch-screen peripherals.

Product specifics, a demo, and ordering information is available at or by calling Serotek toll-free at 1-877-661-3785 to talk to a customer-service representative.

Freedom Box Network

Freedom Box Network, the online-service companion to Freedom Box, is a complete Internet service provider and specially designed online community focused on the interests and needs of the disabled. This online community provides access to a wide range of Internet services and content from providers such as CNN, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and more than 2,500 radio stations. Freedom Box Network will also offer a variety of content produced exclusively for its online community members. обзор optionfair. Dial-up access to Freedom Box Network costs $21.95 per month and is available through more than 4,000 local telephone numbers providing dial-up access in the United States and Canada. Broadband digital-subscriber line (DSL) service is provided through DirectTV, with subscribers paying DirectTV a monthly charge for broadband service and an additional $9.95 per month for access to the Freedom Box Network online community. Users purchasing the Freedom Box software who already have an Internet service provider (ISP) can subscribe to the Freedom Box Network for $9.95 per month.

Additional information

Serotek invites interested parties to visit its Web site at for more detailed descriptions of the products and services. This invitation is extended to companies who are interested in providing their products and services to the Freedom Box Network community and to investors interested in participating in this barrier-free Internet opportunity. Information packets in Braille and demonstration tapes are available by calling 1-877-661-3785.

About Serotek Corporation

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., Serotek Corporation designs and develops Internet-access technologies and services that unlock the power and potential of the Internet for the blind and disabled.

America Online is registered trademark of America Online, Inc. Freedom Box is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by America Online.

* The minimum system requirements for Freedom Box software are a 366 MHz or faster processor, 128 MB of RAM, and 600 MB of free hard-disk space. The recommended system requirements are a 500 MHz or faster processor, 256 MB of RAM, and 1 GB of free hard-disk space. The software also requires a multi-channel sound card, Microsoft Windows 98 or later, and Microsoft Windows Media Player 6.1 or later.


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