Design of an Iconic Communication Aid for Individuals in India With Speech and Motion ImpairmentsBy Bhattacharya, Samit; Basu, Anupam; Assistive Technology, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 173-187
Publication Date: Winter 2009
Article describes the development of an affordable and practical augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system for people with communication disabilities in India. Sanyog, the name of which is derived from Sanskrit and means "to connect," accepts a sequence of icons as input and converts the input sequence to a grammatically correct sentence. Conversion of an iconic sequence to a sentence requires linguistic knowledge and resources that are not available for Bengali and Hindi, the two languages for which Sanyog was developed. To overcome this problem, a user-computer interaction model named the Query-Response (QR) model was developed. The Sanyog database of icons representing nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs was organized in the form of a hierarchy with verbs at the top. To build a sentence, the user first selects a verb from an initial set of verb icons shown on the interface. The interface then poses to the user a query corresponding to each role slot in the semantic frame of the verb. Markers allow the user to inflect the sentences with respect to tense and mood. Special icons were also added to facilitate navigation, including icons for "previous" and "next" queries, "undo selection," and "exit." Sanyog was implemented on a desktop PC with a 17-inch monitor displaying 18 icons in 3 rows. To make the interface accessible to individuals with motion impairments, a scanning and access switch-based input method was developed. Sanyog was evaluated with 8 participants aged 10 to 15 years with speech and motion impairments. Results showed the system to be intuitive and user friendly. Future work for improvement of Sanyog is discussed.
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) (Website:http://www.resna.org)