When we emailed Jay Smith to ask how his Tobii Dynavox PCEye Mini makes his life with ALS easier, he replied with a friendly "Howdy" on the subject line. “Despite my disabilities, or maybe because of them, I enjoy life to the fullest,” he also said.
Jay, 40, uses the PCEye Mini, which emulates a keyboard and mouse when connected to a Windows computer, to control his wheelchair, bed, the TV, lights, thermostat and music in his house.
"I am literally on my device every waking hour. It is important to not limit yourself to what you can do with it."
No longer able to speak, Jay has text-to-speech communication software on the device so he can enjoy conversations with his wife and high-school sweetheart Melissa, and help their daughters Loghan, 10, and Peyton, 8, with homework. "I am literally on my device every waking hour. It is important to not limit yourself to what you can do with it. “
In college, Jay studied multimedia and formed a rock band he toured with long after. Today, he remains active with Livid Instruments as an advisor and board member. The company he founded with partners ten years ago is well known for its innovative musical instruments and equipment. Jay also devotes time to raising ALS awareness through his non-profit 90 Foundation and its website (www.every90minutes.org) and columns he has written for the Huffington Post.
A New York City native, Jay fell in love with Texas on a 2002 band tour and soon made Austin his home. “Traveling is my absolute favorite thing to do,” he said, “especially with my family.”
Indeed, Jay’s wife and daughters come first. “I am really looking forward to being a grandfather someday,” he says.