In 2005, Daggero’s founder, Clark Rickman, reprogrammed Microsoft Instant Messenger for quadriplegics, blind, deaf and other severely handicapped children and adults to communicate with others via Instant Messaging. The result was the popular iAM Instant Messsenger.
iAM both displays and reads aloud instant messages to the user. Using artificial intelligence, it presents possible responses to each message to the user one at a time, so that the user can select their response with whatever input device they have available – a mouth tube and head switch, for example.
Family and friends communicating with the iAM user via regular instant messaging could also provide answers to questions they were asking. For example:
“What would you like me to bring you to eat? Pizza/McDonalds/Chicken”
iAM would not only present the choices to the user to select from, but would also remember the choices for the next time the same or similar question was asked.
iAM enabled handicapped persons that could not type, and those that either could not see or hear, the freedom to communicate with their families and friends via instant messaging on the internet.
Funding for the project was provided by The LifeShare Foundation, and L.A.T. Kids.
iAM messenger is still in use all over the world today.