SOURCE: Clarity, a division of Plantronics

Clarity, a division of Plantronics

Clarity, a division of Plantronics

March 25, 2013 14:48 ET

Clarity's Fortissimo™ Voice-Activated Speakerphone One of 15 Nominees From Around the World Selected as 2013 da Vinci Awards® Finalist

da Vinci Awards -- Created by Michigan Chapter of National MS Society -- Celebrate Innovations in Assistive & Adaptive Technologies That Provide Equal Access and Opportunity for All; Finalists Representing the United States and United Kingdom Chosen From Entries Received From Around the World

CHATTANOOGA, TN--(Marketwire - Mar 25, 2013) - Fortissimo™ -- a voice-activated and hands-free speakerphone from Chattanooga's Clarity, a division of Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) -- is one of 15 innovations selected as a 2013 da Vinci Awards® finalist. 

Since its inception in 2001, the da Vinci Awards® has become a prestigious international forum for the most innovative developments and research in adaptive and assistive technology. The awards celebrate people who triumph over disabilities and recognize those who have developed new technologies and innovations that enhance mobility and enable all people to function at their fullest. 

A finalist in the Communication/Educational Aids category, Clarity's Fortissimo is a voice-activated speakerphone designed precisely for the 19 million Americans with mobility challenges. It features 85 dBSPL of loud and crystal clear amplification, which allows users to have conversations from anywhere in the room in which the speakerphone is located. Fortissimo can be operated with a microphone-equipped remote pendant or users can activate various features by blowing gently on a connected puff switch or touching a connected pillow switch with their arm, leg, head or shoulder. Additionally, Fortissimo includes ClarityLogic™, an innovative customer service technology through which Clarity technicians can remotely access and adjust the volume, program the phonebook or make upgrades for the user.

"We are honored to be recognized by the National MS Society on this international stage," said Carsten Trads, president of Clarity. "From day one, we designed Fortissimo for people living with MS and others who face severe mobility challenges. Clarity has a rich history of designing solutions that address health challenges like hearing loss or low vision, and we decided to focus Fortissimo on mobility. We're excited Fortissimo is making a positive impact on the MS community and grateful to be a part of the da Vinci Awards."

Finalists representing the United States and the United Kingdom were chosen from entries received from around the world. U.S. finalists are from 11 states with three from Michigan.

Many technologies that help improve the quality of life, independence, and sense of control of individuals with disabilities are among this year's da Vinci Awards® finalists. These include a wearable robotic device that enables paraplegics to walk again, a drop-in rowing system for rowboats and canoes that can be operated without the use of hands or arms, and a shopping cart that allows special needs children and adults the opportunity to shop with their families or caregivers.

Videos submissions for each finalist are featured at with a special people's choice award called 'The Leo' presented to the finalist receiving the highest number of "thumbs up" votes.

Entries were submitted in five categories including:

  • Communication/Educational Aids
  • Environmental Adaptation/Daily Living or Work Aids
  • Prosthetics/Orthotics/Controls
  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Recreation and Leisure

Finalists and their innovative technologies will be honored April 11, 2013 at a special awards event at the Ford Conference and Event Center in Dearborn, Michigan, with the 2013 da Vinci Award® winners announced live that evening. The gala event benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter. Tickets and additional information are available at

About MS and the da Vinci Awards
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease usually diagnosed in young adults and the National MS Society understands the difficulties people experience when faced with physical disabilities.

About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide and over 18,000 in Michigan.

The Michigan Chapter of the National MS Society ( created the da Vinci Awards® in 2001 to foster innovation and hope by recognizing the latest developments and research in adaptive and assistive technologies, which play an important role in helping people overcome physical limitations.

The da Vinci Awards® were named after Leonardo da Vinci because of his documented talents as an inventor, philosopher, engineer, architect and artist. The name itself captures the spirit in which the awards are given.

An impartial panel of judges representing the technology and disability communities selected the finalists and da Vinci Award winners in each of five categories.

A complete list of past award winners can be found at