Turning breath into words: New device unveiled to give paralysis victims a voice

Aug 31, 2015

Image courtesy of Loughborough University

By Loughborough University

A new device which transforms paralysis victims’ breath into words — believed to be the first invention of its kind — has been developed by academics from Loughborough University.

Billed as a tool to help bring back the art of conversation for sufferers of severe paralysis and loss of speech, the prototype analyses changes in breathing patterns and converts ‘breath signals’ into words using pattern recognition software and an analogue-to-digital converter. A speech synthesizer then reads the words aloud.

The Augmentative and Alternate Communication (AAC) device is designed for patients with complete or partial loss of voluntary muscle control who don’t have the ability to make purposeful movements such as sniffing or blinking — gestures which previous AAC devices have come to rely upon.

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