‘VerbalVictor’ has been created by a caring father and his students at Wake Forest University, and it is an interactive communication tool for people who are unable to speak. The application was developed by Paul Pauca, father of five year-old Victor, who suffers from a very rare genetic disorder that delays his speech development.
Of course, there are other specialized speech devices on the market, but they are either too low-tech or too high-tech (please read – too expensive). Being a computer science professor helped Pauca a great deal in this situation as he and his student took the advantage of existing devices – the Apple tablet and the iPhone.
‘VerbalVictor’ allow parents and caregivers to take pictures and record phrases to go with them. These become buttons on the screen that users can touch when they want to communicate. A picture of the backyard, for example, can be accompanied by a recording sentence such as “I want to go outside and play”. When the user touches it, the parents or caregivers will know what they need to do. And a wonderful feature of the application is the voice facility – it is not robotic as the user records a real voice with which the child is familiar.
The application will be available in the App Store for $10.