A California-based company has come up with technology to help People faced with verbal communication challenges. The company called Smartstones has combined EEG headset from Emotiv and an assistive communication app- :prose. The designed headset-app systme utilizes ‘think to speak’ technology, which reads brainwaves of the user, and expresses them as phrases that are read through an app.
Smartstones developed :prose, which is the app that assists non-verbal people to communicate by swiping or tapping on a mobile device. Individual movements and gestures are linked to words and phrases. For example swiping down could mean I want and possibly drawing a circle motion could mean water. The app works by understanding the input and reading aloud the complete sentence. In this case, I want water. The commands are customizable, meaning a user can assign a specific movement or gestures to a particular phase.
:prose is treasured by people living with verbal communication challenges including Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and ALS. Individuals suffering from other condition including, ALS or Parkinson, which inhibits a person’s motor skills make use of the app not much valuable and this creates the necessity of a motionless communicating device which in this case is the EEG headset.
Emotive’s Epoc in conjunction with : prose helps a user to think directly about the motion tied to a particular phase and the headset reads their brain waves, transmitting the signal to the app via Bluetooth and reads the phrase aloud. The combination of the headset and the app simply eliminate the necessity of physical movement which some people struggle with.
According to Smartstones, the system is very easy to learn compared to other pictogram-based approaches and also relatively inexpensive. There is the possibility of combining it with other technology such as Eye Control making its use convenient for different groups of people.
According to Gil Trevino, who is the Lead Direct Support Professional at PathPoint, one participant is now communicating using mental commands. Within minutes, the participant was speaking several phrases aloud compared to years of training while using other technologies. He further notes that the technology has allowed someone who was a non-verbal communicator, to communicate thoughts, feeling and answers quickly.
The :Prose app is currently available for iOS, and Smartstones is running a beta on its system shortly. The whole system has received backing from nonprofit organization Pathpoint due to encouraging results achieved during the testing phase.
Featured Image Credit:gizmag