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The Development of a Robot Controlled by Speech Generating Devices for Children With Verbal Impairments

By Chung, Younghyun; Simpson, Richard C.; RESNA/ICTA 2011: Advancing Rehabilitation Technologies for an Aging Society, June 5-8, 2011, Toronto, Canada,
Publication Date: 2011

Study developed a speech generating device (SGD) that manipulates a robot through Bluetooth wireless communication to engage children with verbal impairments in various activities. The Microsoft Windows 7 operating system and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 were used for software development. Robots were constructed using the Lego Mindstorms NXT kit. A DynaVox Vmax SGD was used as an interface for users to control the robot. A wireless Bluetooth USB adapter was utilized to establish a connection between the robot and the SGD. The robot consists of two servo motors and a toy wheelchair. The two motors can be controlled independently to move the robot in all four directions. A page for robot control was designed in the SGD, consisting of four icons: go forward, go backward, turn right, and turn left. A structure holding a pen was also attached to the robot so that it could draw color lines on paper, which was expected to engage children. The robot-SGD system was tested with two children ages 6 and 7 with cerebral palsy and verbal impairments. Participants used the system with their speech therapist at the Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh during their 30 minute therapy sessions. The therapist found that the children showed more concentration on using their SGD when engaged with the robot, indicating that the intervention had the potential to increase their SGD usage. Possible activities with this system are suggested for future studies.

Assistive Products Discussed: DYNAVOX VMAX
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)   (Website:http://www.resna.org)

Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)    (Web Site: http://www.resna.org )
Link to text: http://web.resna.org/conference/proceedings/2011/RESNA_ICTA/chung-69647.pdf

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