Wednesday, December 19, 2018

App for the Speech Impaired Developed By IIT-B Students

by Sankar (writer), Kolkata, May 04, 2017

Are you having Speech difficulties? No more a problem for you now. The IIT Bombay has designed an app that is making the communication of the speech impaired people an easier one.

The app is known as Jellow Communicator and has several emoticons that help to make the communication better.

The idea of developing such an app originated in 2004 mainly for the children that were suffering from cerebral palsy. Children that are suffering from cerebral palsy have speech difficulties. This affects their ability to communicate. This blocks the learning among the people. It has a greater impact on the cognitive, social and motor development of the children.

How Was The App Initiated?

Initially, the device was made in the form of a hardware. So, the cost was fixed at Rs. 13000, for each of the pieces. But, that was expensive and it turned out to be a costly option for most of the people who wanted to take the help of the device. With the upgrading of the systems all around, the mobile phones are seen to become a reasonable option. Thus, the development of the free apps for mobile devices started. No longer a person have to carry the devices. A beta version of the app was launched in August last year. There was a huge response to the app which consequently led to the relaunch of the app in the android devices.

The Process of Developing the Systems

Over two years of interdisciplinary research by the therapists, software programmers, animators and graphic designers at the IDC School of Design made the method a great success. For developing the app around 8200 lines of vocabulary in Hindi and English was pre-programmed by the teachers and therapists to enable better communication. They have eventually put in everything from what one would like to eat in the breakfast to going to sleep. In the apps, one can learn about the birds and animals through the Google text-to-speech converter app. They help one to type out the sentences that they want to speak and later make the app speak on the custom-typed sentences.The content of the app and the accent is developed keeping in mind the socio-cultural condition of India.

The team that was developing the app has conceived Visual Emotional Language and is sure to enhance the language ability of Jellow. The content of the app was developed only after doing proper research on the children and taking essential inputs from the parents and the therapists.

Benefits of Using the Apps

According to Professor Ravi Poovaiah, the app has several expressive buttons which help in the expression of one’s emotions.It actually has six buttons which can indicate likes, dislikes, wants and doesn't wants, more and less. Each of the buttons has an extensive library of options that are arranged in a hierarchy and are sub-categorized. The user can make use of the buttons by browsing through them and double clicking on the buttons. The use of such a vast vocabulary has made it simpler for conveying one's feelings. Thus, it is considered to be an important app for fulfilling learning requirement . The apps are literally helpful for the children who are learning the daily activities going to the toilets, brushing, bathing, etc.

The most important advantage of these apps is that the most of the children nowadays stays glued to the mobile devices. Thus, they would definitely find interest in engaging with the apps. They would not have to be taught in a conventional way like the earlier kids had to be. So, when they explore the apps and see new images and hear new sounds, they would be able to learn in a better way.

What Is New To Come In The Apps?

The team that has developed Jellow is currently working to collect data for the documentation and developing the effectiveness of the apps on the basis of the user feedbacks they have received. It is heard that the vocabulary might be available in Marathi and Bengali languages.

Not only the children suffering from cerebral palsy but the ones who have autism spectrum disorder, down’s syndrome or have undergone any brain injury are entitled to get help from the apps. Even the adults who have lost their speech because of a stroke can get help from the apps.

About the Writer

Sankar is an academician as well as a content developer. He loves framing engaging write-ups for parents, students and the teachers alike and offers clear as well as practical ideas to make learning fun. In his free time, He loves reading and traveling.He suggest LearnPick Blog for more educational information.
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