CoughDrop Initiates Open Communication Board Project for Improved AAC Interoperability

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The Open Board Format is a new open-licensed file format focused on interoperability between augmentative communication apps and devices. The new file format makes it possible to create, share and reuse vendor-neutral boards and vocabularies across systems and apps.

We all know how important flexibility is for communicators, and interoperability should be a foregone conclusion.

CoughDrop ( today announced a new interoperability initiative aimed at making it easier for individuals with complex communication needs to import and export their personalized vocabularies across apps and environments. The new initiative, called the Open Board Format (.obf for short) is available at and offers a vendor-neutral, open-licensed file format for representing the communication boards and vocabularies used by individuals with autism, ALS, cerebral palsy, Rett Syndrome and other conditions where technology can help support communication.

“When individuals adopt an AAC app for communication, the personalization of images, vocabulary and structure takes many hours of ongoing customization,” said Brian Whitmer, founder of CoughDrop. “Right now if a communicator’s device breaks unexpectedly or they find a better app for their needs, they pretty much have to start from scratch getting it set up and personalized. We can do better. We all know how important flexibility is for communicators, and interoperability should be a foregone conclusion.”

The project’s web site includes documentation on implementation for vendors, as well as file validators and other support resources for developers. The file format supports multiple boards, and encourages licensing and attribution details of board content to help clarify questions about reuse. The documentation itself is open-licensed and open to commenting so vendors and developers can participate in the ongoing development of the file format.

The site also offers conversion tools to make it possible for end-users to convert vocabularies that were exported from various applications. “At launch we’re supporting files from CoughDrop, Picto4Me and a few other AAC providers,” Whitmer clarified. “We hope more vendors will continue to join this initiative with support for .obf import and export. This project has the potential to raise the baseline of communication resources for the users we all are trying to serve.”

Organizations and individuals interested in participating in the project are invited to contact CoughDrop for additional resources and support. More information about the project is available at the project’s web site,

About CoughDrop
CoughDrop is a new, modern AAC app written for today’s users and their support team. It embraces the web to provide simpler management of vocabularies, better reporting and insights on communication over time, and more robust tools to facilitate the full team in supporting communicators. CoughDrop runs on most modern devices including laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even unlocked speech devices. Learn more at

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Brian Whitmer
CoughDrop, Inc.
+1 (801) 997-0844
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