Communication is the most important part of the human experience and we want to ensure every person has the ability to express their most basic needs. - Andreas Forsland, Founder of Smartstones
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) April 26, 2016
Today, Smartstones® unveils a major breakthrough in the world of assistive communication technology. Since 2013, the existing application :prose™ has allowed nonverbal people the ability to “swipe to speak” on an iPhone or iPad, “tap to speak” with the Apple Watch and “gesture to speak” with their patent pending Touch™ device. :prose is the defacto standard for nonverbal sensory communication and today announces a breakthrough with “think to speak” technology. Using brainwave commands and a wireless connected EEG headset, from Emotiv, the technology can also send a “thought message” to anyone via a push notification (in-app SMS).
“There are hundreds of millions of people in the world affected by various communication challenges including Autism, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, Strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries and deafness – many looking for greater independence, social inclusiveness, self expression and to be understood,” said Smartstones Founder and CEO, Andreas Forsland. “Communication is the most important part of the human experience and we want to ensure every person has the ability to express their most basic needs.” With 2.3 million nonverbal children in the USA with Autism alone, and over 70 million on the autism spectrum worldwide, everyone has a unique need when it comes to a communication interface.
HOW IT WORKS:
For people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other communication challenges, communicating verbally with others can be difficult or impossible. Traditional AAC apps use pictogram-based approaches, which while versatile, can take months or even years to fully learn. :prose works by translating sensor data such as touch, motion and now thought gestures, into spoken phrases. Phrases are easily changed depending on which gestures are easiest or which phrases are used the most. The integration of EEG technology makes :prose accessible to even more people, including those with ALS, Parkinsons, Cerebral Palsy and other motor-skill inhibiting conditions, who may find touch gestures difficult to perform reliably.
Recently, Smartstones worked alongside PathPoint, a nonprofit organization that provides services to over 2,000 individuals with developmental, psychiatric, and physical disabilities, to test the technology. Using the “think to speak” technology, PathPoint participants with severe developmental disabilities were able to use brainwave commands to communicate, while connected to the Emotiv EEG headset.
"People have been trying to get neural devices to speak for decades, and :prose’s cutting edge assistive technology is allowing communication for a nonverbal individual.” said Gil Trevino, Lead Direct Support Professional at PathPoint. “One of our participants now can communicate by using mental commands. Within minutes she was speaking several phrases aloud, compared to years of training with other technologies. This advancement has allowed someone who once was non-verbal communicator, the ability to communicate thoughts, feelings and answers in a way she never has before.”
“We are at the beginning of the sensorial communication age, moving beyond the dependency of a visual interface,” said Forsland. “Many companies in iOT and wearables are already dealing with sensorial interfaces for data gathering (fitness). We want to be the iOT wearable platform that enables communication between the devices.”
Smartstones has an official partnership with Emotiv, to provide the wearable EEG headset.
“Emotiv is incredibly proud to be involved in the :prose program and to be providing the wearable EEG component, said Nuri Djavit, EMOTIV Chief Marketing Officer. “From the start, our mission has been to advance our understanding of the human brain and to find ways to improve the human condition – especially for those facing adversity.”
Pricing and Availability
Smartstones :prose is available for $29.99 (50% off during the month of April in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month) for individuals to download onto their personal Apple iPhone or iPad. The application integrates with a variety of Bluetooth connected sensory devices, including Smartstones Touch™, Apple Watch and now an Emotiv Insight or Emotiv Epoc wireless EEG headset as a beta community member.
With every purchase of Smartstones :prose, you may request a special discount code to be used toward the purchase of an Emotiv Insight or Emotiv Epoc brainwear™ device.
Smartstones, Inc is a sensory communication company. It’s core product, :prose, is an app that converts sensor data into communication that can be distributed over the internet or spoken aloud. It’s flagship sensory device, Smartstones Touch, is a handheld gesture recognition device that remotely communicates with apps running on mobile devices, and acts as an intuitive controller for :prose.
Forsland was inspired to create a simple, natural way for loved ones to communicate and send moral support for his mother, when she was placed on life support for weeks in the ICU, unable to move or speak. Smartstones was founded in 2013.