Thanks to invention of the Augmentative and Alternate Communication device (AAC), victims suffering from severe paralysis now enable to regain their communicative ability. People can understand patient’s thoughts and feelings with the application of the prototype ACC device turning breath into voice.
There have been many outstanding technologies supporting polio patients losing their capability of communication to socializing with their relatives or medical experts over the last few years. One of those medical advancement is use of eye movement or facial muscles such as blinking or sniffing; however, some of polio patients even unfortunately unable to use muscular movements on their eyes. In this sense, researchers from Loughborough University, UK have created a verbal language system based on the patient’s breath to transform breath into meaningful expression.
The prototype ACC device is designed with a special breathing mask or a nasal prong connecting to a computer through the electronic cord. While the patient has a breath in a specific patterns, ACC device would automatically receive information and transform ‘breathsignals‘ into meaningful words or phrases using pattern recognition software and an analogue-to-digital program. Patients would be the decision maker themselves to have the level of respiratory rate equivalent to words and programmed software would play as an interpreter and express the message conveyed. After patterns of breath are formed, the ACC device would utilize a comprehensive machinery to speak out the words created by breath. By this way, patients would be supported any help or exchange information with people.
Since the beginning, scientists have reached a great achievement with successful rate up to 97.5% through conducted experiments.
Dr Atul Gaur, the Consultant Anaesthetist at Glenfield Hospital is now collaborating with the research group of Loughborough University in the project. He said “The ACC device may be a remarkable breakthrough to change the ways of communication among those people having trouble with speaking ability or serious muscular weakness. The new technology might also applied in diagnosis of Locked-in Syndrome (LIS) at early stage. LIS is known as a condition in which a patient is aware but cannot move or communicate verbally because of complete paralysis.
The great innovation will significantly bring new hope for LIS patients to reunite with society and lift out of loneliness. In addition, the ACC device would be a excellent footstep to encourage scientists to have more further innovated application to help patients in the future.