This new system is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication system (AAC) that allows people with language disabilities to communicate through icons without the intervention of external support. The design is formed by two low-cost separated blocks (selection of the symbols and voice reproduction) with a wireless communication, so it facilitates its scalability, to adapt it to user's vocabulary, and mechanical and intellectual skills. Partners to further develop the system and/or to establish commercial agreements along with technical cooperation are sought.
Worldwide, approximately 1.3 % of the population has declared a limitation in the communication process, with a wide range of ages and skills. So it requires greater flexibility in the design of AAC systems, having to adapt to potential users with very different characteristics like age (elderly and children), intellectual ability (advanced vocabulary or limited) or ability to control new technologies. Currently people use AAC systems based on pictographs using basically two systems: communication boards (this is a low cost solution, which allows communication without words, but it needs to know the pictographic system and the meaning of each of the symbols) and electronic communicators (it used specific platforms or software running on standard digital platforms such computer, tablet or Smartphone, creating products fragile and high costs). This new AAC system combines advantages of actual systems in a unique simple and low cost, that improve as much as possible the quality of life of users, so it is versatile and easily adaptable to the intellectual level of the user.
The new AAC system consists of two blocks linked by a low-power wireless communication protocol. The first block is the blade holder which is formed by communication sheets (n from 4 to 60). It is a flexible, low cost and low consumption block so it is not needed to change the battery during its lifetime (> 2 years with a use of 2000 selections/day). The second one is the symbol record/player block that has a reduced dimensions so making it very easy to carry and can be transported on a belt or on the wheelchair. As the symbol information and voice recordings are digital, it is very easy to connect this unit to other digital communication systems such as smartphones or internet.
Current stage of development
Prototype available ready for testing on users.
Applications and Target Market
The technology could be of interest for companies devoted to manufacturing equipment for:
People with language disabilities, special schools.
Health care, community health centres
Flexible design that can adapt to users with different characteristics and mechanical and intellectual skills.
Require minimal external support for configuration.
Possibility to work with 256 communication sheets robust to shocks and drops.
The audio record/player can easily be connected/replaced by some other communication interfaces: phone, mobile, digital communication via skype or similar,...
Allows communication between doctor and patient (disabled person or foreign) with specific vocabulary.