A Device to turn your Breath into Words

imagesA device has been developed from a student of DAV International School, Panipat. Arsh Shah Dilbagi, a 16-year-old from Panipat has designed a device that helps people with developmental disabilities, like Locked-In Syndrome and ALS, communicate, using only their breath.

The device, called ‘TALK’, and it uses signals from a person’s breath via Morse code, picked up by a sensor, and then converts them into speech. This device even allows almost entirely speech impaired and paralyzed people to communicate like never before. TALK features two modes – one to communicate in English, and the other to give specific commands and phrases. These are communicated in nine different voices enabled according to gender and age.

“AAC devices available in the market are very expensive, slow, bulky and not generic. I decided to find a better solution — an AAC device which is faster, portable and generic and costs only $80 (Rs 5000), making it affordable to the large population,” he explains.

Dilbagi says that TALK expects a person to be able to give two distinguishable exhales with varying intensities, for converting them into electrical signals using a microphone. The signals are processed by a microprocessor, called the ‘Morse engine’, which labels the short exhales as ‘dots’ and longer exhales as ‘dashes’. These are further interpreted through the Morse code which converts the signals into words and then sends them to another microprocessor for synthesizing them into voice.

He adds, “In future, I would like to add auto-predictions to my computing engine and integrate TALK with modern technology like Google Glass to make it easier for people with development disabilities.”

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