Ideas to improve AAC devices ?
Persons for whom natural speech or writing is insufficient to meet their communication needs require support or replacement of the conventional methods. Such persons can benefit from an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system. AAC intervention not only helps them in communicating better and doing their daily activities but also to attain independent living and thus a better quality of life. Beginners in AAC may start with low-technology devices which provide quick and easy help for meeting communication needs. When they attain basic proficiency in AAC, they may shift to high-technology devices that offer great sophistication in available vocabulary, speed of communication, and flexibility of access.
In India, AAC adoption has been very low because of the stigma against it in society. This can be addressed by creating more awareness as well as by making available a low-cost, entry-level AAC device that could be used for training the kids in a cause-and-effect relationship in communication. Such a device may lead to quick, initial results in improvement of communication, which may, in turn, motivate the various stakeholders to continue AAC intervention. The available solutions in the market are generally from companies abroad and are costly to buy. For imported devices, after-sales service remains poor and hence overall user experience is compromised. Since public awareness is low regarding AAC, the demand is low, and hence very few manufacturers make these devices indigenously.
we invite proposals to develop a device that meets the requirements listed below:
1. Able to record a message and then playback by activating a switch at the top surface.
2. With at least 2-minutes of record time in each level and three recording levels.
3. Loud, clear speaker output during playback and freedom from ambient noise while recording.
4. A clear snap-cap over the top of the button to insert picture symbols.
5. Water-proof, suitable for rugged use by children.
6. Technical specifications include:
i) One switch input to provide an option for activation through any other type of switch if required by the user.
ii) One Toy/Appliance/Extended Output so that the device will serve as a switch to operate any smart device or to activate any battery-powered toy.
v) Activation Surface: 10-14 cm (diameter)
vi) Activation type: Force of 45-145 gm on surface
vii) Weight with Battery: <380 gm
viii) Battery Type: 9-volt Alkaline type- It is highly recommended to use a standard Alkaline 9V battery with the proposed device. Alternative batteries may be composed of materials that do not distribute power in a suitable manner and are reported to have inconsistent performance when used in such devices.
7. Universal mounting solution preferably made up of loc-line, with clamp-on one side to attach to a table or wheelchair and holder at the other end, to mount the device. It should be flexible for angular adjustments and rigid enough so that the positioning of the device will not change by small forces.