07 – Boise Isn’t Just Potatoes

Boise Isn’t Just Potatoes

This is just an outline and will be rewritten to add more details such as dates, names, and descriptions.

During August through November of 1987, a physical therapists form St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho, Debra Purcel harassed me to help her by selling a SoftVoice system to a patient of hers in Boise.  I refused because of the fact the I wasn’t completely satisfied with the recognition rate of the SoftVoice system, only about 94% accurate, and the fact that her patient was on a respirator, which severely impaired her breathing and her voice.


SoftVoice Redesigned For
The Apple Macintosh

The Birth Of The
SenSei Computer System

For The Disabled

After many calls and refusals form me, she began calling my wife.  After Sherrie seeing the results with Leon and Herb, she insisted, as only a wife could, to do something for this girl in Boise.


Here’s another one of these stories.  It was a sixteen-year-old girl, who developed a cancerous tumor on her spine.  As the tumor grew, it began putting pressure on her spinal chord, and disabling her to the point of becoming a quadriplegic, and even stopping her ability to breathe.  She new she was going to die, and her last request to her family, was the provide her with the ability to somehow record and share her last experiences with anyone of similar circumstances.  But she was completely paralyzed, and on an Iron Lung.  The SoftVoice system would be useless, why won’t these women understand?

The SenSei System Applications


Probably because God had an other idea.  In (pardon the cliché) my spare time, I worked on a totally new system, based on the Macintosh Computer.  With its ease of use, small but powerful form, and graphic interface, I felt it had possibilities.


I took an existing HeadMouse (a device that allows the user to move the mouse by moving their head), and couple of disks, and some custom software, and I had SoftVoice II.  It worked.  Environmental Control, Entertainment, and now word processing, and graphics!  Good stuff!

The SenSei System


I put a test system together and went to Boise to demonstrate.  It was a big success.  Even in this condition, she was still able to operate it.  The demonstration was on a Thursday.  On Monday, she requested that her doctors removed her form all pain medications immediately, as she wanted her head clear to begin writing.  By the following week, she was able to sit up in bed and in a chair for short periods to ready herself for the task.


Her doctor wrote a prescription for the new computer system to prolong her life and possibly to aid in her recovery.  The insurance company never made a decision on this case because they said they were not educated enough to make a decision, and was afraid to “open the flood gate” on this type of payment.


Later, after we formed Safko International, the first order of business was to supply, free of charge, a SenSei system to this young girl to satisfy her wish, even though the insurance company declined making a decision for such a terrible reason.

The First SenSei Server
Telephone, Bed Interface,
& Environmental Controls


While demonstrating in Denver, Colorado, I went to the Craig Rehabilitation Hospital where she had been moved for rehab.  I rushed in, requested her room number and announced the surprise of the free SoftVoice System, only to find a surprise of my own.  Two days earlier, they had decided to remove her form all life support systems; they pulled the plug, euthanasia.  She never was able to recognize her last dream.

The First Prescription
Ever Written For A
Computer System For The Disabled


Lon Safko


Bestselling Author & International Keynote Speaker

Tags: Lon Safko, Bestselling Author, International Keynote Speaker, Innovative thinking, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Apple Computer, creative, innovation, creative thinking, SoftVoice, SenSei, First Voice Recognition, First Environmental Control, physically disabled, The Social Media Bible, The Fusion Marketing Bible

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