Cambridge Adaptive Communication (CAC)

born in:
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom

The company was started by engineer David Mason in his garden shed in the mid-1980s. He began by modifying PCs to be used as communication devices with Words+ software from the United States. At the time most other Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices (AAC) were sold either as dedicated hardware, or as software for mainstream PCs. The dedicated solutions were robust and functional but limited.

The PC solutions were versatile but either too unwieldy or too fragile, in addition spare parts were hard to obtain in the rapidly moving PC market. David had the vision that the AAC market would ultimately take the PC route if somebody produced appropriate hardware that was robust and easy to maintain with a life span many times that of a PC. [Source: Communication Matters: International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Newsletter December 1998, Vol 12, No.3. Special Edition: UK Manufacturers and Suppliiers of Communication Aids.

Additional Note: David Mason and CAC adapted the first voice synthesizer system for Stephen Hawking in the mid-1980s. David Mason was the first husband of Elaine Mason, one of Stephen Hawking's nurses. Elaine and Stephen were later married, between 1995 and 2006.