New SLP App – HandySpeech™

by Tom Kloiber on February 22, 2013


While most kids were playing video games or shooting hoops last year, 12-year-old Eric Zeiberg was working on an app to help his autistic sister communicate. The first-of-its-kind application converts handwriting to speech, for people who can’t communicate verbally. Eric explains the app on a video posted at iSpeak4U.com.

“I hope that HandySpeech will provide much needed help and open new opportunities for people in need,” said Zeiberg. “The application is dedicated to courageous people who struggle every day to overcome their disabilities.

HandySpeech is designed for iPad use and addresses communications needs for people with autism, stuttering, muscular dystrophy, stroke victims, post-op patients, or anyone who can write but not speak. It’s a versatile tool that operates in 13 languages and delivers either a male or female voice. The really useful feature, however, is the Handwriting Recognition Technology© features created by PhatWare Corp. The program can recognize cursive writing, print, and even sloppily mixed writing. It auto-corrects based on context…which may or may not eventually inspire a website like damnyouautocorrect.com. Probably not though, because another app feature is adaptive technology. The software is designed to learn user writing patterns so it gets better—more personal–as you use it. Other features include keyboard function, so it also works as a text-to-speech application, and touch-selection special characters, like space and return.

Opening Doors
Not being able to speak must be terribly frustrating, and typing takes two hands, a great deal of physical dexterity and specific skills not everyone has. Handwriting is more universal, which is what makes this technology stand out.

Touch screen technology has changed everything in the realm of communication. It’s so easy to use that even severely handicapped people can use it on some level, and new uses spring up every day. With the prices falling and the global use growing, accessibility will soon be available and affordable to everyone…much different from the expensive devices designed specifically for disadvantaged people not so long ago.
What about you?

Isn’t it amazing that this level of creativity and ingenuity can come from such a young person? Maybe he’s a budding Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory), or maybe he simply had an idea and ran with it. Either way, it’s encouraging. It says that anyone can make progress happen. Do you have ideas for an app to help people with speech difficulties? Putting your ideas into action is often a matter of finding the right partnerships. And sometimes, it’s a matter of moving from thinking about something to doing it. If you have an idea, why not reach out to the companies that have produced the technology for other app designers?

Download HandySpeech at the iTunes store for $29.95.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nate Cornish October 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Hello Tom,

Thank you for your question! VocoVision does not represent Handy Speech, so unfortunately we aren’t aware if they are developing an app that is compatible with your Android or Windows systems. You may be able to find more information on their web site: http://www.ispeak4u.com/index.html

We did a quick search of apps available on Google Play (Android compatible), and found information for the EZ Speech Pro app. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.splashsoftware.ezspeech&hl=en) It doesn’t appear to have the same features as Handy Speech, but may have some tools that could be a good option.

We also found an article from Advance Magazine, (a professional magazine for speech-language pathologists), that discusses some useful apps for individuals who are post-laryngectomy. It seems that most of these are iOS (Apple) compatible, but some of them may have an Android version as well. http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Apps-for-Laryngectomy-Patients.aspx

I hope this information is useful. Warm wishes and best of luck as you look for resources to support your communication.

Nate Cornish, M.S., CCC-SLP
VocoVision

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