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Indian Teenager Makes Breath to Speech Device

Update Date: Sep 17, 2014 11:46 AM EDT
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A 16-year old Indian has created a device that converts breath to speech, giving hope to millions of people suffering with severe speech impairment.

The device called Talk, is classified as an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device. It costs just about $ 80, probably the cheapest of its kind in the market, Newsweek reports. It uses Morse Code to translate breath to speech, Talk's Indian inventor Arsh Shah Dilbagi explains. A microphone and microprocessor combination placed under a user's nose picks up breath signals and converts them into Morse code type signals which are later converted to words. With nine voice options for gender and age variations, Talk may also be the fastest AAC device ever made.

"AAC devices available in the market are very expensive, slow, bulky and not generic. I decided to find a better solution - an AAC device which is faster, portable and generic and costs only $80 (Rs 5000), making it affordable to the large population," Dilbagi told The Times of India.

The boy's father said he will appeal to the Indian Prime Minster to make the device available to the speech impaired in the country.

In a video showing construction and operation of Talk, Dilbagi says more than 1.4% of world's population is suffering with speech impairment and is unable to afford expensive AACs.

"In nutshell, Talk has the potential to change the world by enabling people with disorders like LIS, ALS etc., speech impairments like Dysarthria and even Mutes to communicate and interact with the world like never before. It's my turn to change the world," he was quoted saying by Examiner.

The teenager, a high school student, has made it to the final round of the 15th Google Global Science Fair. In his pitch to Google, he claimed that his device has actually been tested on people with disability. He is the only Asian finalist in the completion. 

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