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New mobile app gives a voice to those with communications challenges
Date:4/6/2011

TORONTO, ON For those living with aphasia, autism, and other conditions that affect speech ability, communicating with friends and loved ones can be a challenge. MyVoice, a mobile app and server system that operates on iPhone and Android devices, gives users with these conditions a voice by simply tapping words and pictures on a screen.

"People living with aphasia talk about the fear and isolation they sometimes feel because they cannot communicate as they once did," says Aphasia Researcher and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Alexandra Carling-Rowland. "MyVoice will help to increase communication confidence, participation and independence."

Launching today, MyVoice is the first assistive and augmentative communication (AAC) device to introduce location-aware vocabulary that suggests useful words and phrases based on a user's location. At Tim Horton's, for example, MyVoice instantly generates items like "Tim Bits" and "Double Double" for use in conversation.

MyVoice was developed within the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (TAGlab), under the direction of Professor Ron Baecker in the Department of Computer Science. The mandate of the TAGlab is to facilitate research and development to support aging throughout the life course. The lab identifies "sweet spots" where technology seems relevant to human need, then envisions ways in which the technology could address those needs. The lab then designs and tests prototypes. The technology will be further supported through the University of Toronto Innovations and Partnerships Office (IPO) with respect to partnerships, commercialization, and funding.

"This is an excellent example of how university research makes a direct and positive impact on the challenges that face people around the world," says Professor Paul Young, Vice President, Research at U of T. "MyVoice is just one of the many projects our Innovations and Partnerships Office is developing with U of T faculty so we can move
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Contact: Andrew Rusk
Andrew@MyVoiceAAC.com
647-339-0635
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

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