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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

MyVoice app for iOS and Android gives the speech impaired a voice

8

April

Recently I told you about an iPhone app that identifies paper money for the visually impaired, so they can keep track of the cash in their wallet. Now another app is available, this time for iOS and Android, and it can give a voice to those who a speech impaired.

MyVoice is a communication aid for those who face language challenges from aphasia, autism or after speech impediments following a stroke. The app uses phrase books, available for download on the MyVoice site, and also can be customized with phrases and locations that also can be attached to pictures for quick and easy identification. Touching a phrase button produces synthesized speech of the phrase. It's location-aware and can automatically load appropriate phrases based on where you are. So if you're at a restaurant, for instance, it can provide common phrases for ordering food.

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The phrase books are synced with your phone using a drag-and-drop interface on the MyVoice web site. From the app you can add locations based on where you are. Additional phrases can be added on the site too. The app includes a large assortment of phrases, separated by topics like "I want," "Conversation," "People" and "Places." It comes with one voice, named Dave, and additional voices can be purchased for more personality.

In my tests I found MyVoice to be very buggy. I made an account and transferred to phrase books which took a long time to sync, even on a fast FiOS WiFi network. Attempts to sync a location with a map failed and when using the "Back" button in the "Find a Location" section of the app, it crashed repeatedly. All of these tests were with an iPhone 4. I didn't have an Android phone available for testing at the time.

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This is a great idea that will surely help people and empower them to communicate in better ways, when it's working properly. It's free so you can download it and check it out now but you might want to wait awhile until they can make it stable and polish it up a bit.

[Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2011 1:44pm]

    

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