Back to blog

A Case Study in Keypad Innovation and Accessibility

Learn how RH keypad Innovation assisted the Alerter Group's Night Alerter fire alarm, making it accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Case Studies
10/05/2024
Deaf alerter in background while woman sleeps contently

A Case Study in Keypad Innovation and Accessibility

RH Technical Industries Ltd., a leading UK manufacturer of membrane keypads, supported the Alerter Group. This company develops fire alarm systems for the deaf and hard of hearing, with the development and supply of a membrane keypad for their innovative Night Alerter. This case study will explore the challenges and successes of this collaboration, highlighting the benefits of RH’s membrane keypad innovation for this application.

The product: Night Alerter ~ For night-time protection.

This device wakes sleeping Deaf/hard-of-hearing people in hotels, halls of residence, and residential homes. The local fire alarm activates, causing the pillow pad to vibrate and the light on the device to flash continuously.

  • Mains-powered with internal battery backup
  • Works in any bedroom (no hardwiring required)
  • Can be moved between rooms
  • High-intensity light and strong vibration
  • Can be operational 24/7
  • Doubles up as an alarm clock
  • Pillow pad available in black or white

“RH Technical Industries offered fantastic service and support to us from the design phase all the way through to manufacturing. They have produced a quality final product from our vision that really finishes off the Night Alerter, and I would highly recommend them.”  S.D. ~ Production Manager

THE ALERTER GROUP

Deaf Alerter on Bedside table

The Challenge: Creating an Accessible Fire Alarm System

Traditional fire alarms rely on sound to alert occupants of danger. However, for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, this can be a significant barrier to safety. The Alerter Group sought to develop a fire alarm system that would provide effective and timely warnings to this underserved part of the population. The device encloses integral LED indicators mounted onto the customer’s PCB. These bright LEDs, engineered to withstand the vibration of the device’s secondary alert, shine through clear windows in the keypad’s graphic overlay.

The Solution: RH Technical Industries’ Membrane Keypads

Alerter Group’s electronic design consultant worked directly with RH to choose the best solution for their Night Alerter membrane keypad. This decision was driven by the keypads’ unique features and RH’s engineering teams’ ability to solve the device’s specific requirements.

  • Tactile Response: The tactile keys provide a distinct physical response to pressure, making them easy to use for people with limited hearing.
  • Anti-Glare Windows: Provide clear indication during standard and alarm modes.
  • Durability: They are resistant to damage from water, dust, and other environmental factors, making them ideal for use in emergency situations. The design of the components also incorporates withstanding the device’s warning vibrations.
  • Customisable: We can design them with specific symbols and legends to meet the needs of specific users.

The final product is a custom-designed membrane keypad that is both intuitive and accessible. The keypad features raised buttons with clear tactile feedback, making it easy to use for people with limited dexterity. The integral LED indicators are a crucial component in this device, as the light and vibration are the only stimuli a deaf user can react to. There is a large antiglare display window over the display. As mentioned before, the perimeter warning lights shine through the carefully positioned windows at the top and bottom of the keypad overlay.

The Night Alerter, equipped with RH’s membrane keypad, has recently been released to market and we hope it is a resounding success. As a result, the system provides peace of mind and a sense of security to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who previously may have felt vulnerable in the event of a fire.

Conclusion

This collaboration between RH and Alerter Group highlights the importance of considering accessibility when designing safety products. Membrane keypads and membrane switches offer a simple yet effective solution for making fire alarms more inclusive. RH is proud to be a part of Alerter Group’s mission to protect the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. The Night Alerter is a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in creating a safer world for everyone.

RH Technical Industries Ltd is a leading manufacturer of high-quality membrane keypads. We provide our customers with innovative and reliable solutions that meet their specific needs. If you have a project query, please contact us, and we will get back to you promptly! To Call: 01264 721450