Martina Wengenmeir

Faster found - with voice commands from the avalanche beacon

Ortovox Diract Voice: The first avalanche transceiver with voice commands

Avalanche emergency equipment gets a major update with the new DIRACT VOICE from ORTOVOX, as it is the world's first avalanche transceiver with voice navigation. It is extremely easy to use and gives clear voice commands when searching for buried subjects, which can decide over life-saving seconds in case of an avalanche. Smart antenna technology also ensures optimum range. For this, the new avalanche beacon also received the ISPO Award for Product of the Year.

An avalanche emergency kit should not be missing on any trip in open terrain.

It is extremely easy and intuitive to use, 2.3 cm thin, 210g light, and the world's first avalanche transceiver with voice navigation. The DIRACT VOICE from ORTOVOX guides the user with clear verbal instructions and is really simple to use thanks to its reduced, logical design. Because in an emergency, one thing above all is crucial: how quickly people can be found after an avalanche.

In such an emergency, the searcher is catapulted into an extreme stress situation. So the body starts an emergency protocol: Physical capacity increases, but at the same time, cognitive capacity decreases. In short, the body now functions better than the brain. It is now particularly important to practice and intuitively operate any emergency equipment, above all the avalanche beacon, which should reliably and quickly lead to the victim in the avalanche. All the better if the transceiver guides you to the right spot with clear and distinct voice commands. The DIRACT VOICE from ORTOVOX does just that. It is the world's first avalanche transceiver with voice navigation and also has a logical, yet reduced design that makes operation even more intuitive. If you think of the navigation system in your car, Google Maps or Siri, voice navigation has long been established and is easy to follow. By integrating this know-how into avalanche victim search, ORTOVOX has achieved an important pioneering step and a real advancement.

ORTOVOX's new avalanche transceiver DIRACT VOICE fits snuggly with its carrying system.

What is the advantage of voice navigation in an avalanche transceiver?

In an ORTOVOX survey, 45% of ski tourers say they have little or no knowledge about avalanches and what to do in the event of an avalanche. An avalanche burial is a very complex situation, to which every person also reacts differently. In the event of an avalanche, every second counts and every step has to be right. Automatisms are now helpful so that no mistakes happen under stress and the influence of emotion. Even in set-up scenarios, the search rarely runs smoothly.

Intuition and simplicity are therefore clearly the focus of emergency equipment. "Intuitive handling is like automaticity: the less you have to think, the better. This is why voice navigation on an avalanche transceiver is a great help because you can focus your eyes on the situation and not on the device. We have to process visual information first and translate it into a resulting action. If this is done for us by voice and the instruction is direct, then we save ourselves a step of processing. With a clear announcement, we need less brain capacity, which is limited in this situation," explains neuropsychologist Sigrun Holzer. The DIRACT VOICE thus provides intuitive support for life-saving seconds.

In addition to voice navigation, the DIRACT VOICE from ORTOVOX has an extra-large, fully graphic display showing 360-degree real-time.

How does the search via voice commands work?

The DIRACT VOICE talks to the searcher during the search for buried subjects. You can think of it a bit like a coach instructing you during the search. Voice announcements are only made if they are helpful. When switching to search mode, and thus from the first moment of the search until the victim is found, the device gives clear and simple voice commands such as: "Walk straight ahead!" or "Go down to the snow surface!". There are two different types of voice commands: Instructions (e.g. "Go down to the snow surface!") and directional corrections (e.g. "Keep to the right").

Instructions are communicated well by voice commands. In comparison, additional symbols on the display would not be noticed in an emergency or would only cause confusion. Voice direction corrections, on the other hand, are only made if the searcher does not behave according to the display. There are nine different language settings for the DIRACT VOICE: German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Czech and Dutch. The language of the device can be selected when it is switched on for the very first time or via the ORTOVOX app.

The design of the DIRACT VOICE by ORTOVOX is reduced, logical and easy to use even with gloves on.

Intuitive operation, stable display and a wider range

Technical emergency equipment should support and not cause additional stress in crucial situations. In addition to voice navigation, the design of the ORTOVOX DIRACT VOICE also supports smooth usage. The display is extra-large, 360-degree real-time, and is easy to read even in extreme lighting conditions. At the same time, the unit has an easy-to-use toggle switch that can be switch from transmit to search mode quickly. The DIRACT VOICE also has a standby function to protect people who are not actively involved in the search against further avalanches without interfering with the search.

The patented Smart Antenna technology analyses the position of the device in the avalanche and automatically switches to the best transmitting antenna, so that you get more range and can be found faster. Compared to older devices, the DIRACT VOICE avalanche transceiver has a long-lasting and environmentally friendly rechargeable battery pack that is adapted to low temperatures and provides a reliable power supply even at -20° C. The battery pack is also designed for use at low temperatures. Carrying batteries become superfluous and unlike single a battery, the rechargeable pack cannot leak. It can also be easily charged via USB in the car or at the socket. A RECCO® reflector as a back-up is also integrated into the carrying system of the unit. All this was worth an award to the ISPO jury: the ORTOVOX DIRACT VOICE was awarded Product of the Year at ISPO Munich Online 2021.

In addition to the DIRACT VOICE, ORTOVOX also offers the DIRACT without voice navigation. Both avalanche transceivers can be connected to the new ORTOVOX app and will be available in stores from September 2021. The ORTOVOX app will also be available for download from September 2021.

Martina Wengenmeir

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