Verbally gives users immediate access to an affordable solution via a popular device that can be used for many things besides speech assistance.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 18, 2011
Intuary, Inc., creator of intuitively designed mobile applications, today announced the launch of its first application, Verbally – a free augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) aid for people with a speech disability caused by such things as apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, or muscular dystrophy. Verbally is the first free iPad app that provides a complete assistive speech solution for creative communication.
Verbally is a unique text-to-speech AAC solution that minimizes movement for the user, enabling even those with impaired motor skills to more easily speak unique thoughts and feelings and to participate in conversations. The simple, intuitive design is ideal for literate children and adults with impairments or restrictions on the production of spoken language.
Since Verbally was added to the iTunes app store on March 7, 2011, it has been downloaded more than 20,000 times, quickly rose to a #1 ranking among medical apps in less than two weeks, and has earned an average rating of 4.5 stars from more than 80 reviewers. Verbally is currently the 26th most popular medical app among 1,693 apps in the iPad medical apps category.
“I have seen the devastating effects that loss of speech has on my clients. It affects their ability to stay engaged on the most basic level with the people in their lives, which has a detrimental impact on their emotional well-being, and as a result, their overall health,” said Dan Phillips, AAC/AT Specialist Speech-Language Pathologist from the Technology Resource Center of Marin. “Verbally gives users immediate access to an affordable solution via a popular device that can be used for many things besides speech assistance. It’s a welcome addition to the existing technology options for those who have lost their ability to communicate verbally.”
Verbally is different from existing AAC solutions in three core areas:
- There are 180 words in the English language that constitute more than 80 percent of what most people discuss on a daily basis. Verbally’s Core Words Grid features 60 essential words, which can save users more than 50 percent of the key-strokes required to input sentences on other AAC aids.
- A Core Phrases Grid offers a dozen common phrases to enable faster and easier conversation, including phrases often needed by the disabled, such as, “I use this iPad for speech” and “Please give me a moment.”
- Verbally’s Text Prediction Engine learns unique words and names, making it significantly faster to enter personal thoughts and to handle the frequent interruptions that occur in normal conversation, enabling speedier and more active participation in conversations. The Verbally predictions engine can reduce keystrokes by 30 to 40 percent versus other AAC aids.
Ease of Use
- Three keyboard layouts allow users to choose the option that’s best for their specific needs.
- Victims of ALS, stroke, Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases often have impaired motor skills that include both speech and partial paralysis or shaky hands.
- The iPad’s Contacts can be synced with Verbally’s Text Prediction Engine, so users have easy use of the names of family, friends and colleagues in conversation.
- A centrally placed chime bell on the keyboard allows users to easily indicate their desire to participate in active conversations, so they can jump right into the dialogue and more easily keep up with the conversation.
Cost & Convenience
- Verbally is a totally free app for the iPad. Other commonly used AAC aids cost $10,000 to $15,000 for those without insurance coverage, and several hundred or even thousands of dollars for those with insurance coverage.
- The other most commonly used AAC aids are not available in retail settings and must be ordered through their manufacturers, causing wait times of several weeks to months – precious time when one’s ability to speak may be quickly degenerating.
- Users simply download Verbally from the iTunes app store and use their finger or stylus to tap sentences into the text box. Verbally then speaks the words aloud in a male or female voice.
- The iPad is lightweight (1.5 lbs), making it highly portable and discreet
- The iPad has hundreds of other uses, including surfing the web, checking email, watching movies, reading, and much more.
“Verbally was created because we saw firsthand the devastating effects of ALS on a loved one who had spent 40 years as a teacher and singer of classical Indian music and suddenly lost her ability to speak,” said Ajay Godhwani, Intuary CEO. “She was left out of conversations and helpless to express herself, even in areas as personal as her own care. We lost precious time with her while we were trying to force-fit existing AAC solutions that cater more to those learning or re-learning to speak, and don’t fit as well for those who are fully literate. Verbally requires the least amount of user effort to achieve the maximum communication needed to keep up with day-to-day conversations and to express unique thoughts.”
Verbally is compatible with any iPad running iOS version 3.2 or higher. In the coming months, Verbally will be made available for additional mobile devices and in other languages.
About Intuary, Inc.
Intuary, Inc. is a San Francisco-based technology company committed to empowering users through intuitively designed products that are affordable to and widely accessible by as many people as possible. Verbally, the first app from Intuary, is a free augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) aid for people with a speech disability caused by such things as apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, or muscular dystrophy. Verbally is the only free iPad app that provides a complete assistive speech solution for creative communication. Its unique, simple design allows users to communicate quickly and effectively in any setting – enabling self-expression, and most importantly, conversation.