How would you communicate with someone whose speech is severely impaired? Resort to a scrap of paper and a pencil to get your messages across! A new invention may help break down those barriers.
Vinoth Gurusamy, an aerospace engineer from Chennai has created a ground breaking, light-weight and low cost speech aid which has the potential to transform the lives of people with communication difficulties.
Gurusamy has developed a revolutionary hand glove that gives a voice to people isolated by speech impediments.
The unique glove work by converting simple hand movements into hand gestures which control speech via synthesized voice.
All the user has to do is wear the glove and move their fingers in order to articulate more than 1,000 words or commands.
Vinoth, who graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Masters in Aerospace Engineering, said the glove blends into the users' clothes and given that any word is a second away it is one of the fastest communication device in the world.
Sheffield man can articulate words and phrases
Since last year, Gurusamy and his team comprising Kalhana Colombage and Hossein Mohanna have been working closely with William Broad, 73, from Sheffield who suffered a stroke in 2010 leaving him unable to talk.
The former steel-worker is now able to articulate more than 16 words and phrases including: 'I am hungry', 'I am thirsty', 'my name is William', 'thank you' and 'what time is it?'
William's daughter, Keeley Bellamy from Sheffield said, "The glove is absolutely remarkable and has made such a difference for both dad and for the family. Dad is such an intelligent and able person so it is unbelievably frustrating for him not to be able to communicate with his loved ones.
"I am really impressed with the group's invention, it is incredibly lightweight and looks just like a normal leather glove. The team have been brilliant and I am really grateful to them – I am now looking forward to watching dad use more and more words and sentences with the glove and I hope lots more people can benefit from the invention."
Glove plans for India in the offing
The team is working towards bringing the unique glove to India by next year. The device will have multiple language options given the diversity in the nation. The engineers are also trying to increase the glove's word bank and weeklong battery life.
Kalhana, who is currently pursuing a PhD in Electronic Engineering at the University said, "The glove weighs approximately 100 grams, has a battery life which lasts one week and costs around Â£700."