If life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade . . . My Story Of How I Developed A Medical App For The Speech Impaired
It started out with bad news in an email. This is a true story about how I created five successful apps which really sell and help many people daily. One of my best friends had to go into the hospital for an operation on his leg. Afterward his girlfriend sent me an email saying, “Dan is not doing well”, and where to visit him.
I entered the hospital room, my friend recognized me but was unable to speak at all. He had suffered a pulmonary embolism, collapsing while crossing the hospital lawn. A blood clot had broken loose and stopped his heart. They worked on him continuously and were thankfully able to bring him back to life.
In the hospital room his frustration and mine were both obvious, we really couldn’t communicate and we had never had much trouble talking before, in fact the opposite, not being able to shut-up was our problem!
I went to work on solving it right away, thinking if Stephen Hawking could talk with a computer wheel chair maybe I could help my friend by writing a special app on a iPad or a Android tablet to talk for him (computer speech synthesis) while pushing buttons on the screen.
My friend Dan eventually recovered his ability to speak and today the more advanced versions of my app are sold in app stores helping thousands of people to communicate who are speech impaired because of medical conditions.
I developed Touch Voice apps to address medical conditions such as Stroke, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Brain Tumor, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Ataxia, Dysarthria, Laryngeal Cancer, Selective Mutism, Parkinsons and potentially others not listed. It of course cannot cure any of these conditions and it may not even help persons with these conditions to communicate, however in some cases it can and does.
The challenge of producing an app for the speech impaired has made me proud and taught me many things. I have found that hands and fingers may be too shaky or weak to touch the smaller buttons on smart phones which speak words, so larger tablets with big buttons are always better for this. In other cases, cognitive damage to word recognition in the brain makes it difficult to communicate, so I have included images with words to assist those individuals.
In some ways by writing Touch Voice I have possibly created one of the best AAC apps (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) on the planet helping speech impaired persons daily!
You can find out more at the Touch Voice website before purchasing.
Michael McAnally, is a Founder, Futurist, Entrepreneur and Science Fiction Blogger who goes by the pen name Michael Blade. He has deep professional knowledge in computer science and currently lives in San Francisco as CEO-Dev of Touch Voice. He has apps in all the major app stores which help thousands of speech impaired individuals and are used in hospitals and care facilities around the globe.