An easy-to-use mobile application to help people with voice disorders communicate effectively
According to National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, approximately 7.5 million people in the US alone are having touble using their voices. Voice disorders occur when vocal cords don’t vibrate normally. People can also suddenly lose their voice due to surgeries such as laryngectomy and tracheostomy. At least 100,000 tracheostomies performed annually in the United States, and many patients undergoing these invasive procedures will experience difficulty speaking post-surgery. These patients face a difficult road adapting to their new reality, and can feel isolated and lonely when losing their ability to communicate. However, the commonly used commercial products available today are either too expensive or too restrictive and cumbersome for maintaining a natural conversation.
To address the limitations of current products on the market, our team developed an affordable, non-intrusive and easy-to-use mobile application, LipSpeak, which converts lip movements to generated speech. We hope that this product will improve the quality of life for people with voice disorders who are capable of articulative lip movements.
“I love the concept, just let me know when I can try it.”
- Toni, a laryngectomy patient
Users can define a list of keywords that would be easy for them to memorize and mouth, and associate them with phrases they would want to be played back.
Once a user finishes mouthing a pre-defined keyword, the app will search for the keywords in user’s video and, if it finds a match, it will vocalize the corresponding phrase via synthesized speech.
If a person is unable to hold the phone, someone could help them record a video using the backward facing camera.
We are a team of UC Berkeley Master of Information and Data Science students. Our mission is to use the latest advances in data science to improve quality of life for people who lost their ability to speak by helping them communicate effectively.