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2018

Vocal Switch

Enabling Engineering

The Need

Many kids at SSEC and the Carter School can't communicate verbally. Often their breathing and respiratory functions aren't strong. Teachers at the SSEC and Carter School would like to give students feedback for sounds they make. They currently play a favorite song when a sound is made. Maybe kids could learn to control the color of lights using their sounds. The kids currently on’t understand they can affect their environments, so this is a way to teach them that they can control their surroundings.

The Solution

By working to produce a generic switch signal from voluntary vocal cord vibrations, the team hopes to leverage the built-in switch compatibility of the software that the students’ teachers are comfortable using. Since Cerebral Palsy makes it difficult for these students to activate conventional switches, the Vocal Switch will function as an alternative interface that has the added benefit of incentivizing speech practice.