Timothy Lagnese, Lucas Gramig, Philip Mancuso, Sithembile Ngxongo, Ryan Nunamaker, Stacey Nunez, Shane Tshabalala, Moyo Williams
Many people require alternative augmentative communication (AAC) in their day to day lives. For example, those with cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities that can prevent traditional communication can take advantage of medical devices developed to allow communication. These individuals often are required to use specialized hardware from companies like AbleNet Inc. While these existing devices are proven to be reliable in critical situations, they are cost prohibitive and their reliance on wires to power and communicate causes issues.
We developed a battery powered Wi-Fi prototype which allows those who rely on AAC to easily and effectively communicate with caretakers, family members, or whomever. The idea was to use cheap components, free and open source software, and a simple 3D printed enclosure which could cheaply and easily be reproduced. The device is laid out to provide two buttons on the top: one to power on the device, and the other to send a user configured message to its respective group through the free service GroupMe. To setup the device, the user can connect to the device through a web interface which will allow the messages and groups to be set. Once set, the user can single click, double click, or click and hold to send one of the three messages.
Our prototype is great step in making an a ordable wireless communication device. We hope that future teams will continue its development and bring it to market.