BridgingApps is pleased to featured Jabberwocky Communication Aid by Swiftable, a new assistive speech app for users who cannot rely on natural speech. The app enables a user with limited speech to talk using text-to-speech. Users only need an iPhone or iPad that supports Face ID. Users with iPhone X can use the head tracking feature to type using only head movement, and then use text-to-speech to talk. The app costs $49.99/year with a free 90-day trial.
• Head tracking input supported on iPhone X
• Word drawing input lets you quickly type without dwelling on each letter.
• Calibration is easy and supports different levels of range of motion and head control.
OTHER KEY FEATURES
• Privacy: what you type never leaves your phone or tablet.
• Word prediction saves time and learns from what you type.
• History of spoken phrases lets you quickly reuse recent and frequent phrases.
• Switch accessible: supports switch control with external switches or by using the whole screen as a switch.
• Works without Wi-Fi access.
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Co-founder and CTO, Jon Hoag, have been interested in assistive technology for many years. His mother Linda is a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Kansas State University, and they have had many dinner-table conversations about the state of assistive tech for speech.
Linda told us that it often takes just 5 seconds of silence for both parties in a conversation to become uncomfortable and often give up altogether. We were very surprised by this limited actionable window and considering users of these devices sometimes struggle to break two words a minute, we immediately challenged each other to find a better solution.
Coincidentally and somewhat fortuitously, there is a huge ongoing effort by large tech companies to push the boundaries of augmented reality. This same technology that provides Face ID for Apple’s next generation devices can be used to provide high quality head tracking signals for iOS applications. Now is a great time to push the boundaries of accessible communication technologies.
THE PROBLEM JABBERWOCKY IS SOLVING
Jabberwocky is dramatically lowering the barrier to entry into assistive tech. Historically there were two problems:
● Cost: Established products are good, but costly…sometimes thousands of dollars. At that cost you rely on Medicaid subsidies, etc., and go through a process to help with the cost.
● Specialized hardware: The most effective solutions for many people require switches or sensors. These are not things lying around your house when you are first exploring assistive tech.
Jabberwocky is built entirely on a consumer platform (iOS), no extra hardware. Focusing on software lowers our cost and helps onboarding: you can literally try it minutes after hearing about it if you have a supported iPhone or iPad. But because of these new phone cameras, you don’t sacrifice quality.
Jabberwocky will continue to refine assistive speech, and add new capabilities. Their next core capability will be a head-tracking-based web browser. They have talked with many folks with spinal cord injuries. Most do not need assistive speech, but a different interface to get to Facebook, their calendar, their bank is super-valuable. The developers feel like if they can help people be more independent, then they are doing their job.