Intuary, a mobile app startup, recently launched its first app, called Verbally, which is designed to bring speech to those without.
Verbally is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solution built for the more than six million people in the U.S. suffering from speech disabilities — caused by Lou Gherig’s Disease, stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, autism, and more. The app allows users to tap the words they wish to communicate onto the app’s keyboard, or choose from pre-prepared words or phrases, which are then in turn transmitted into audio phrases.
The app’s founders, Anil, Gautam Godhwani, along with their cousin Ajay, lost their mother (and aunt) to Lou Gehrig’s Disease in February of this year. She had been a music teacher and singer for 40 years, but in late 2009, her voice began to fail. Seeing the tremendous impact the lack of communication had her, they began investigating solutions on the market. While there are a number of solutions currently available, the touchscreen solutions from large corporations, like Dynavox-Mayer Johnson, cost a minimum of $8K and require at least one month of waiting. Obviously, for those suffering from aggressive illnesses, that wait time is unacceptable.
While iPad apps like that made by Proloquo2Go, for example, offer full feature sets and are more reasonably priced at $190, Verbally hopes to offer a user experience that will appeal to literate adults with high cognition — as well as to those without, and thus reach a larger audience. (MyVoice also makes a nifty communication tool that the speech-disabled can use on the iPhone, which is definitely worth checking out.)