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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:01 am

I honestly think this would make a cheap, afforable talk box for some of my students. A talk box in summary is a touchscreen device, when the student touches a picture or a phrase it speaks it for them. I have no clue on how to implement something like this but would be more than willing to learn. Here is a video of a girl who has autism using a talk box " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related I would like to make something similar. Although some kids qualify for a grant for the talk box, a lot do not and they are VERY expensive, around $7000 or so. I would love to get a device like this into all childs hands who need it. I would be willing to learn computer programming to code my own program and have my brother who is an artist work for free on all the graphics. Can you help my dream become a reality? I dont want you to make it (matter of fact I want to built it!) i just need to steps to get there

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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:48 am

I agree with you their, I am a support worker with autistic, LD and Challenging Behaviour teenagers. We have ome vocal but the majority use Picture Exchange to communicate. I feel a device like what your proposing would be perfect, but it would need to be VERY durable and very simple to use. Preferably with a Common Sybmols feature which makes the more common communications available immediatly.

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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:29 pm

OpenIndieProject.org is developing a system to allow developers to include full support for a range of communication methods in their software. Using a talk-table system, software can make use of any language (verbal and non-verbal) once the translations have been done. I know this method isn't as unconstrained as on-the-fly translations but it does mean that there should never be a miss-translated phrase or word displayed. As part of the process of creating these talk-tables, it is not just the words that will be taken into account but also the context and underlying meaning.

If you don't know about talk-tables, it is basically a large list of words and phrases, such as:

1. Cat
2. Dog
3. Hello
4. Press any key to continue
5. Welcome
6. You're welcome

You have a separate list for each language (verbal and non-verbal) which will have the exact same phrases numbered in the same manner except they will contain a translated entry. This could be a straight-forward "Hola" in the case of Spanish text, a reference to an audio file in the case of a spoken talk-table, an image or a set of animation cues in the case of a symbolic/sign language.

While we put together this talk table (once we get started anyone can request entries to be added and then translated by the volunteers) we will not just look at the words themselves but also decide on context. We hope to be able to work out possible "cultural" problems when dealing with regional phrases and such-like during translation. From my own personal experience, things that we take for granted are very amusing and confusing to others from different countries. An amusing case in point would be when I done a friend (not from the UK) a favour and they would say "Thank you", I would reply "You're welcome", at first they were confused by that because they would only use "Welcome" as "Welcome to my home" or similar.

This will include traditional sign-languages and special sign and symbolic languages such as Makaton. We are also very keen to use the Raspberry Pi as a device to develop a range of APIs paying particular attention to small or low resolution displays.

All of this will be published under the Creative Commons or Public Domain licences.
- 1BillionHex aka PiOfCube: 68719476738 -

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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:53 pm

If the thing needs to be portable and rugged, wouldn't a cheap Tablet be more suitable ? Tablets typically have 7-10" touch-screens, some Windows-based ones go up to 12, but are a lot more expensive and probably overkill. Also, many Portable Media Players (PMPs) have good-enough sound and good small screens, run Android. They are pocketable but have smaller screens (5" typically), I don't know if that would be big enough.

As long as they run Android, they are programmable. I would pay a lot of attention to sound quality which is often bad, and then to ruggedness. There's a whole range of options on that aspect:
- cheap, throw-away chinese stuff for 50-200€ Chinistore (for example, I've used them, the're OK)
- brand-name for around 400€
- rugged, which ranges from business-rugged to semi-rugged to military specs, 600-1000€. Motion Computing and Panasonic specialize in those, Pana have an upcoming Android tablet in their Toughbook line, even Motorola have announced a business-rugged tablet .

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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Thinking about the issues, you really do need a Touch Screen.

Is it correct to assume that an indirect pointing device (mouse, touch pad, trackball) is initially beyond the initial skills and ability of an many younger initial user with disability?

I was thinking a video picture frame under plexiglass and a touch pad glued on top and to the side or near edge. Would require the user to understand the indirect usage of touching the pad to select the picture. The pad could be marked in a grid fashion, matching the pictures on the screen. Tap the grid square that matches the same position on the screen. Plus the pad could be used to accept gestures; taps, strokes, swipes.

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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:53 pm

Sorry on mobile so it's going to be brief.
My goals are:
Learn basics of python (i've tried to learn it briefly but got caught up in student teaching)

Make a program similar to boardmaker that also speaks the words

For the pi (in order of importance)
Touch screen

If you are interested in helping email me Dav102@wiu.edu this project will be 100% open source, nonprofit, I would sell to people who need it but also post 100%of the plans online for anyone who is ambitious enough to put together their own. The software would also be free and open source, I was thinking of making it into a format where people can make their own graphic packs and directly upload them. e.

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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:54 pm

Also I would love to release a free android version

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Re: Special Education teacher here!

Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:53 am

As a parent of a very seriously disabled special needs child, I hate to admit it but the iPad is very, very good as a communication aid. You just know that everything will work - the screen resolution is consistent, the user interface is consistent and so on, unlike what you get with Android devices.

My wife and I hunted for ages and eventually found "Talking Cards" - (check the link).

I feel it would be very, very hard to achieve that ease of use with this device... compared with assistive technologies of old the iPad is very affordable.

Having said that, such cheap computing power will open up other avenues - e.g eye tracking, gesture recognition, location based services (if hooked to a GPS). Or even just a digital note taker / voice recorder.

Heck, if all it does is act as an smart nightlight (softly turing some LEDs on if there is a lot of noise) plays his MP3 lullabies, then pings my email if his room is too cold at night it will still be awesome, all of which is do-able!

I'm going to make that my first RaspPi project....

User avatar
Jim Manley
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Location: SillyCon Valley, California, and Powell, Wyoming, USA, plus The Universe
Contact: Website

Re: Special Education teacher here!

Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:10 am

This is very do-able on an R-Pi with a touch-screen using a lightweight web server and one of the Linux built-in web browsers that comes with Fedora, Debian, ArchLinux, etc. The web pages could be written so that the displayed content could be easily edited/remotely-updated by teachers/caregivers and the system could be configured to boot up to the start page, full-screen to hide the Linux desktop. As soon as I can get an R-Pi, I can build a prototype of a talk box/table with a touchscreen, and I can start prototyping the web pages before then if someone can provide the content (e.g., words and sounds), if it"s not already available from the sources discussed above.
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

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