Tapping into the power of human psychology — one of the world leaders in avalanche science and rescue gear is employing something never before done to aid those searching for their friends after an avalanche: the comfort of another person’s voice.
Already known as an innovator and a disruptor, the German brand’s new Diract Voice beacon technology is sure to make waves throughout the industry and among the backcountry skiing and guiding communities.
According to brand representatives, Diract Voice represents the culmination of many years of research and development for ORTOVOX, bringing together product designers and human behavioral experts to produce a transceiver that supports rescuers in every phase of a search — offering calm, clear commands to help provide steadiness when the survival of a partner is on the line. The product will not be available for purchase until September 2021. “Our values are rooted in the protection of both people and the environment in the mountains,” says Tom Mason, U.S. brand manager at ORTOVOX. “The goal with the development of this transceiver was to make the most effective rescue device possible while focusing on intuitive design and user interface. The key for us was creating a product that speeds up the rescue process, while helping rescuers remain calm and focused. The confidence you feel when the transceiver talks to you, supports you and protects you throughout the rescue is really eye opening.”
Founded in 1980, ORTOVOX developed the first multi-frequency transceiver, the F2, which unified the disparate beacon market in 1980. Later, the F1 Plus offered the world’s first visual LED reference—a feature long since standardized across the market. More recently, ORTOVOX Smart Antenna Technology solved for antenna misalignment, extending stable search ranges for burials that are off-angle.
With Diract, voice commands are paired with a streamlined, logical design that features a single operating button with an extra-large display. The cold-tolerant Lithium-Ion battery is long-lasting and rechargeable, which is a massive win. A secure, handy toggle switch quickly changes from transmit to search mode, so that the device is easy to operate with gloves. Additionally, the new and improved harness is superbly comfortable and functional, with an innovative Velcro release tab.
Additional key features of the new product include:
// Easier Searching:
–Clear speech commands for every search phase
–Single operating button allows you to easily mark avalanche victims. In transmit mode, the button helps you quickly switch to standby mode
–Flagging function and group check
–Quick-access carrying system, where the device is automatically released upon opening the latch and is ready for use straightaway
// Get Found Easier
–Patented Smart Antenna Technology which analyzes the device location in the avalanche and provides double support
–RECCO reflector (in carrying system)
–Full graphic, extra-large display optimally assists readability even under extreme lighting conditions
–Clear symbols and the 360 degree real-time display ensure intuitive user guidance
// Product Specs
–Number of antennas 3
–Number of avalanche victims 4
–Rechargeable, long-lasting and environmentally friendly lithium ion battery
–Rechargeable USB C
// ORTOVOX App
–Allows you to automatically update the software or change settings on your DIRACT VOICE directly from your iOS or Android mobile device. The app also provides video instructions and additional options for transceiver personalization and registration
–3 x 4.7 x 1 inches
–7.4 oz / 2.8 oz
“For many rescuers, the stress of an accident clouds our thinking and we have seen that this results in staring at the beacon while conducting a search. This can have devastating consequences in the case of a shallow burial where the victim is visible on the snow surface.”
“With DIRACT VOICE, if the rescuer ventures off track, the device will immediately course correct with clear instructions. This support allows rescuers the confidence to keep their eyes on the debris field for surface clues, which could have real, positive impact on their search outcomes,” explained Dieter Kotlaba, global head of hardware at ORTOVOX.
A non-voice version, the DIRACT (MSRP: $320) will also be available for purchase. ORTOVOX is a four-season mountain brand known for its avalanche rescue equipment and wool apparel designed specifically for ski touring, freeriding, mountaineering, alpine climbing and alpine touring.
Since its founding in 1980, ORTOVOX has stood for a sophisticated approach to protection and comfort in the mountains, characterized by the responsible treatment of people and nature. As pioneers in avalanche rescue, ORTOVOX has played a key role in the development of emergency equipment and targeted training measures for mountain sports, with protection as the brand’s most important value. This ethos extends to include safe and fair working conditions for its employees, setting the highest standards of animal welfare on the brand’s Tasmanian merino farms, and ensuring environmentally friendly manufacturing of its products.