TalkItt: An App That Gives Voice to the Speech Impaired
The gift of speech is something most people have for granted: you just think of a few words and your mouth says them, clearly as usual – and around 16,000 words per day. But what if you had some speech impediment that would prevent you from communicating as easily as this?
The gift of speech is something most people have for granted: you just think of a few words and your mouth says them, clearly as usual – and around 16,000 words per day. But what if you had some speech impediment that would prevent you from communicating as easily as this? Like knowing what you want to say, but simply not being able to.
Studies show that speech impediments have a relatively high incidence in many countries. Such impediments are usually caused by a medical condition, like the nowadays popular ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Brain Damage, Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, among others.
However, sometimes this speech impediment is not caused by a disease per se, like stuttering or cognitive problems affecting speech, which brings light on the importance of knowing where patients come from, like a physician wrote. But now a newly announced app can help all these patients to speak fluently: let’s get to know TalkItt.
TalkItt is an app developed by VoiceItt, a tech startup co-founded by Danny Weissberg. Four years ago, Danny had trouble communicating with his grandmother after she had a stroke. As usual in a communication between two people, in this case both Danny and his grandmother were struggling, as she could not speak the way she wanted and he was having some frustrating times trying to comprehend.
When Danny turned to check the solutions available in the market, he was disappointed to find that they were almost nonexistent. People with speech impediments had no resorts to communicate in a clear way (other than specialized therapy), which made VoiceItt’s actual CEO to dedicate himself to a goal: improving the life of people suffering from speech impediments, their families, friends and caretakers.
The foundation of VoiceItt was the first step towards this goal, a company that is now developing the TalkItt app. This is a software that manages to recognize almost unintelligible speech and put it into understandable language. According to a press release by the company, TalkItt is much more than a simple speech recognition software, as it can pick up specific patterns and syllables (like if someone says “sho-ko-la”, the app will now that the person means “chocolate”), even creating something like a dictionary based on the user’s type of speech.
TalkItt’s set up is actually fairly easy: the user speaks a word and, then, the person or a caretaker associates that sound to its corresponding word on the app, in any language they choose. Yes, that is correct: according to VoiceItt, the app is ready to deal with any language spoken to it, “from Klingon to Chinese”, without requiring any additional programming.
The software is currently being tested in hospitals, universities and clinics, but the company is trying to reach a $50,000 financing through crowdfunding. So far, over 25% of that goal has been reached. If you want to pledge to this initiative, head to the Indiegogo’s campaign.
Depending on the success of this campaign, the app can be publicly available within six months. However, it will most likely be paid under a subscription model. Still, TalkItt has an immense potential to change the lives of many people, at least judging by the amazing way it works. With this app, many people can finally have a way to communicate clearly, helping not only themselves and their self-esteem, but also who is on the receiving end.
Image: TalkItt App