It’s possible to purchase an off-the-shelf laser pointer for $10 to $15 at an office supply store. So why use a specialized adapted laser for communication?
1. EASY ON/OFF BUTTON
A conventional laser requires the user to press the “on” button with their finger in order to keep the laser activated.
It is possible to adapt a small keychain laser pointer by sliding a rubber band over the “on” button. However, this can be cumbersome. Every time you need to turn the laser on and off, you have to adjust the rubber band. (which may mean taking the individual’s glasses off.)
If a system isn't easy to use, it won't get used.
2. COST EFFECTIVE
An off-the shelf laser uses mini-button sized batteries.
Most Conventional presentation lasers are encased inside a metal housing. Even the smallest keychain style laser pointer can weigh several ounces. The laser module on the Low Tech solutions system, (the portion which attaches to the eyeglasses), weighs only 1/4 of an ounce.
If a person uses an off-the-shelf laser mounted onto their glasses, (such as the one pictured above), the person will be carrying the weight of the following on their glasses:
- Laser module
- Metal casing
This weight can lead to pressure on the bridge of the nose. After an extended period of time, using the conventional laser could become uncomfortable, especially for a person with a weak neck. (It can also lead to pressure sores and skin breakdown where the eyeglass pad is presses into the side of the nose.)
4. LASER SAFETY
Many conventional presentation style laser pointers are class III lasers (A class III laser is a more powerful laser, up to 5 Mw of power.) Low Tech Solutions uses a Class II laser (up to 1 Mw of power). A lower power Class II laser is much safer than Class III laser. (For more on lasers and eye safety.)
- The batteries for our laser are housed in an external battery box (so the user is not carrying the weight of internal batteries on their glasses.)
- AA batteries are easier to find, cheaper and more efficient than the specialized small batteries found in a off-the-shelf laser pointer.
- It is not necessary to remove the laser from the user's eyeglasses in order to change the batteries.
6. POSITIONING ADJUSTABILITY
The Low Tech Solutions Laser is mounted onto an adjustable arm. This makes it easy to adjust the beam of the laser up, down, left and right. This is important, because a person may be communicating in several different positions during the day. (If a person was using a conventional laser pointer, and tilted back in their chair, the laser beam would be pointing at the ceiling.)