A computer-science professor and students at Wake Forest University, have created an application for the iPhone and iPad that turns their touchscreens into communication tools. The VerbalVictor application allows parents and caregivers to take pictures and record phrases to go with them.
In this new Apple application for iPad and iPhone, these pictures become “buttons” on the screen that the disabled touch when they want to communicate. A user records the voice to indicate what each button means. For example, if a disabled child wishes to play in the backyard, he or she can touch a button with a picture of the backyard. This will be accompanied by a recording of a sentence like “I want to go outside and play”.
This application is on sale for US$10 in Apple’s iTunes store. The VerbalVictor application is one of dozens of new Apple software products that attempt to make life easier for people who have a range of disabilities. The category is growing rapidly and now has a separate listing in the App store.
Other interesting applications include Sign4Me, which is a sign-language tutor that uses an animated avatar, and the ArtikPix which is a flash card-like application that helps teachers and speech therapists improve their students’ articulation of words. There are also applications that play back text on the screen in a clear voice to help visually impaired people navigate their phones. These relatively inexpensive applications are expected to be highly popular as they use the versatility of Apple devices to make communication easier.
The video below is a demonstration of the Sign4Me application: