|Short Communication (Open access)
SSR Inst. Int. J. Life.
Generator: An Intraoral Speech Generating Device-Short Communication
MPH Scholar, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar,Gujarat, Ind
*Address for Correspondence: Dr. Ritesh Kumar
MPH Scholar, Indian Institute of Public Health,
ABSTRACT- All persons do communicate in some
ways; however, the effectiveness and efficiency of this communication vary with
a number of individual and environmental factors. People with severe speech or
language problems rely on augmented and alternative Communication to supplement
existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. This may increase
social interaction, school performance, and feelings of self-worth. This
article presents a design and concept of RitSpee generator, an intraoral
speech-generating device that could help people who are unable to produce sound
or speech and live in the society with full dignity. The RitSpee generator
would be having two components, one is intraoral and another external, both of
which connected via wire-free communication and the sound would simulate the
natural sound coming out of the mouth without any external physical component.
Alternative, Augmentative communication Disability, Intra oral device, Hawley’s
retainer, Morse code, Speech generating device
persons do communicate in one
way; however, for communication
to be effective and efficient, it varies with a number of
individual and environmental factors . People who are having severe speech or
language problems may use augmented
and alternative Communication
methods and devices to supplement existing speech or
replace speech that is not functional. This would certainly help
social interaction, school performance, and increasing their feelings of self-worth.
Augmentative and alternative communication includes all forms of communications
(other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and
ideas . We all use Augmentative and alternative
communication in our daily life
when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write.
When children or adults cannot use speech to communicate effectively in all
situations, there are options. These
communication systems dependupon
the user's body to convey messages. Examples include gestures, body language,
and/or sign language. Aided communication systems require the use of tools or
equipment in addition to the user's body. Aided communication methods can range
from paper and pencil to communication books or boards to devices that produce
voice output (speech generating devices) and/or written output . Electronic
communication aids allow the user to use picture symbols, letters, and/or words
and phrases to create messages
. Some devices can be programmed to produce
different spoken languages.
Speech-generating devices, also known as voice output communication aids, are electronic augmentative and
alternative communication systems used to supplement or replace speech or
writing for individuals with severe speech impairments, enabling them to
verbally communicate their needs . Speech-generating devices are important for people who have
limited means of interacting verbally, as they allow individuals to become
active participants in communication interactions .
first known SGD was prototyped in the mid-1970s and rapid progress in hardware
and software development has meant that SGD capabilities can now be integrated
into devices like smartphones. Notable
users of SGDs include Stephen Hawking, Roger Ebert, and Tony Proud foot. The
first such aid was a sip-and-puff typewriter controller named the patient
operated selector mechanism (POSSUM) prototyped by RegMaling in the United
Kingdom in 1960 . POSSUM scanned through a set of symbols
on an illuminated display . Researchers at Delft University in the
Netherlands had created
the light spot operated typewriter (LOT) in 1970, which made use of small
movements of the head to point a small spot of light at a matrix of characters,
each equipped with a photoelectric cell. Although it was commercially
unsuccessful, the LOT was well received by its users. Toby Churchill founded
Toby Churchill Ltd in 1973, after losing his speech following encephalitis . In
the US, Dynavox (then known as Sentient Systems Technology) grew out of a
student project at Carnegie-Mellon University, created in 1982 to help a young
woman with cerebral palsy to communicate . Beginning
in the 1980s, improvements in technology led to a greatly increased number,
variety, and performance of commercially available communication devices and a reduction in their size and
price. Alternative methods of access such as eye pointing, where the movement
of a user's eyes is used to direct an SGD, and scanning, in which alternatives
are presented to the user sequentially, became available on communication
devices . Speech output
possibilities included both digitized and synthesized speech. Rapid progress in
hardware and software development continued, including projects funded by the
European Community. The first commercially available dynamic screen speech
generating devices were developed in the 1990s. Software programs were
developed that allowed the computer-based production of communication boards.
High-tech devices have continued to become smaller and lighter while increasing accessibility and capability;
communication devices can be accessed using eye-tracking systems, perform as a
computer for word-processing and internet use, and as an environmental control
device for independent access to other equipment such as TV, radio, and telephones.
generator system- This speech-generating device is based
on the Morse code technology. In Morse code technology, all the alphabets of
any languageare depicted by a certain sequence of dot and dashes. For example,
a DOT DASH and DOT shows an SOS signal. Likewise, any word can be formed by
changing the sequence. A prerequisite
for this device is that patient be intellectually normal, literate and have
good control over his tongue musculature.
it works- An intraoral
device would be fabricated using a high-quality
resin having Hawley’s retainers for incorporating the Morse code generating
circuit on flexible printed circuit board along with two pressure
sensitive pads, Bluetooth adaptor, button cells, and speaker. It would be connected to an extraoral electronic device having Morse code decoding software,
text to speech software and Bluetooth adaptor (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1: Intraoral
view of RitSpee generator
patient can generate words in the form of Morse
code by using his tongue movements and tapping on the pressure sensitive pads.
The Morse code generated would be sent to an external
device having decoding software, it would convert it into text form and then
text to speech software would convert it into the sound format. This sound file would be sent to intraoral device via Bluetooth and would be
played by the speaker present in the device, simulating original sound coming
out of the mouth. The diagrammatic and flowchart of working of RitSpee generator is shown in Fig. 2 & Fig. 3 respectively.
Fig. 2: Diagrammatic View of Working of
Fig. 3: Flow Chart of Working of Device
consideration- As the first component is intraoral and
its fabrication needs to be done by a dentist. He will make sure about the perfect
fitting of the Hawley’s retainer. An electronic engineer would be required for
the setup of the electronic circuit and
for the proper functioning of the device. A speech therapist would be required to
assist and teach the patient about the tongue movement required in this device.
care- The basis of the success of this device depends upon
the patient’s motivation. Therefore, the patient has to work hard and maintain his /her
oral hygiene and cooperate with others and works as a team.
Ritspee speech generating device would help patients
with speech problems to improve their quality of life with speech enhancement
and no more engagement of hands for making gestures and writing to communicate. In addition, it would
simulate natural voice generation through mouth and hence camouflaging the
limitation. This would improve the productivity of the disabled person as well
as community and country as a whole.
integrating the old known technology of Morse code, this device would encourage
and stimulate further innovation and improvement in rehabilitation methods for
the disabled persons.
Hauser MD, Chomsky N,
Fitch WT. The faculty of language: What is it, who has it, and how did it
evolve? Sci., 2002; 298(5598): 1569-79.
Light J. Toward a
definition of communicative competence for individuals using augmentative and
alternative communication systems. Augment. Altern. Commun., 1989; 5(2):
Hidecker MJ, Paneth N,
Rosenbaum PL, Kent RD, Lillie J, et al. Developing and validating the
Communication Function Classification System for individuals with cerebral
palsy. Dev. Med. Child Neurol., 2011; 53(8): 704-10.
Happ MB, Roesch TK, Garrett K.
Electronic voice-output communication aids for temporarily nonspeaking patients
in a medical intensive care unit: a feasibility study. Heart Lung, 2004; 33(2): 92-101.
Inc. [Internet]. Clinical Policy Bulletin: Speech Generating Devices 2008 [Accessed
May 8, 2015] Available
from: http://www.aetna. com/cpb/medical/data /400_499/0437. html.
S, Judson A, Ricketts IW, Waller A, Alm N, et al. Capturing phrases for
ICU-Talk, a communication aid for in tubated intensive care patients. In
Proceedings of the fifth international ACM conference on Assistive
technologies, 2002; pp. 213-17.
E, Roy D, Patel R. An adaptive context-sensitive communication aid. In
Proceedings of the 17th Annual International Conference Technology and Persons
with Disabilities, Northridge, CA. [Retrieved June 15]. Available from
J. [Internet] Roger Ebert’s Journal: Finding my own
voice 8/12/2009 [Retrieved 17
Oct, 2009]. Available
MB, Kiliany G,
The Eye tracker Communication System. Johns Hopkins APL Tech. Dig., 1982;
MB, Kiliany G, Dzmura
M. An Eye Gaze Controlled Keyboard. Available
of the 2nd International Conference on Rehabilitation Engineering,