Our History

The History of the Prentke Romich Company (PRC) IS the History of alternative and augmentative device technology.

It all began in the early 1960's when Barry Romich, a freshman engineering student at Case Western Reserve University, met Ed Prentke, an engineer at Highland View Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. The two men soon found they had a similar mission: to help individuals with disabilities. Prentke and Romich decided to form a partnership and, in 1966, the Prentke Romich Company was born.

1960s

  • 1966: Ed Prentke and Barry Romich meet and form Prentke Romich Company.
  • 1969: PRC produces its first communication device, a typing system based on a discarded Teletype machine.

1970s

  • 1973: PRC moves from Barry’s basement in Madisonburg to its first facility in Shreve, OH.
  • 1975: The Veterans Administration orders a large quantity of Automatic Dialing Telephones, for users to make and receive telephone calls. This order gives PRC the boost it needs to grow.
  • 1975: PRC welcomes the ECU-1, a 14-channel scanning environmental control device that permitted control of external devices.
  • 1979: The Express 1, a microprocessor-based communication device, is developed.

1980s

  • 1982: Prentke Romich teams with Bruce Baker of Semantic Compaction to incorporate the Minspeak® vocabulary in PRC devices.
  • 1982: The Express 3, the first device with synthesized speech capabilities, is introduced.
  • 1983: The Minspeak 1 (a repackaged Express 3 with Minspeak) is officially introduced at the 1st Minspeak Conference.
  • 1984: The Touch Talker, the first portable device from PRC, debuts.
  • 1984: The company moves to its present location in Wooster.
  • 1985: The LightTalker begins production. The device introduces a streamlined, tethered headpointing system for users unable to use their hands for access.
  • 1986: Liberator, Ltd. is formed in the UK, with PRC owning half interest.
  • 1988: PRC enters the digitally recorded speech arena with IntroTalker.
  • 1989: Prentke Romich Europe is formed.

1990s

  • 1990: Prentke Romich Deutschland is formed.
  • 1993: PRC receives U.S. Department of Education grant for Unity development. This gives the company the ability to develop new language systems.
  • 1995: As a result of the grant, PRC launches Unity, the foundation for the vocabulary in most PRC products.
  • 1996: Saltillo, a sister company to PRC, is created.
  • 1997: PRC begins sponsoring the annual lecture at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) conference. The lecture is renamed to honor Edwin and Esther Prentke.

2000s

  • 2000: The Pathfinder, the first product to introduce an LCD touchscreen as part of the device, launches.
  • 2001: The Vantage, the first all-touchscreen device, is introduced.
  • 2005: The ECO-14, with Windows accessibility, email and Internet capabilities, is released.
  • 2006: In Australia, PRI Liberator Pty Ltd is created. In 2007, the company is renamed Liberator Pty Ltd.
  • 2006: PRC receives ISO certification.
  • 2007: PRC introduces the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) language system for those with autism.
  • 2008: PRC acquires Saltillo.
  • 2008: PRC becomes a 100% employee-owned company.
  • 2009: PRC launches the AAC Language Lab as a resource for parents, teachers and clinicians to encourage language development.
  • 2009: The Center for AAC & Autism is established to promote Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP).
  • 2009: The ECOPoint, the first device to utilize an eye-tracking system, is released.

2010s

  • 2010: The Essence family of languages, with a vocabulary designed for literate adults, is introduced.
  • 2012: PRC releases its first app, LAMP Words for Life.
  • 2012: The Accent 1200 is introduced. For the first time, PRC no longer manufactures devices, instead starting with an external product.
  • 2012: NuEye, a state-of-the-art eye-tracking system, is released.
  • 2014: Realize Language, an innovative, online data-monitoring services is brought to market.
  • 2015: PRC releases CoreScanner, a progressive vocabulary program for switch users.
  • 2015: NuPoint, a head-tracking system for those with limited hand use, is introduced. The module is able to be used on all PRC devices as an additional feature.
  • 2015: PRiO, an iPad-based communication tool, featuring the iPad Air and LAMP Words for Life language system, debuts.
  • 2016: PRC celebrates its 50th anniversary.
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