June 2024 Content Roundup

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Welcome to June 2024’s roundup! As always, we have some interesting stories to share. Check them out!

Technology and Communication

“You Are My Friend”: Early Androids and Artificial Speech

This fascinating article explores attempts to create talking androids during the 18th century. Created long before modern speech synthesis, these intricate machines mimicked human anatomy to produce sounds, using things like bellows for lungs and flexible mouth parts. Although they were quirky, these remarkable inventions undoubtedly laid the groundwork for today’s speech technology, including augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools like Spoken.

Softly Non-Spoken: Exploring the Potential of Soft Robotics to Support Non-Verbal Communication

At the most recent ACM CHI Conference, a team of researchers presented their findings about the potential of soft robotics in the field of AAC. Their project investigated how soft robotics — which use flexible and adaptable materials — could facilitate more nuanced and expressive forms of interaction, potentially providing individuals with greater control over their communication. Maybe those 18th century inventors were onto something with their bellows-powered androids…

Speech Spotlight

Yoosun Chung: Honoring an AAC User’s Chosen Form of Communication

In this episode of the Talking With Tech podcast, guest speaker Dr. Yoosun Chung — AAC user and former president of USAAC — discusses the importance of activism for AAC users and how simply sharing experiences can help create a more inclusive world. She also offers valuable advice for family members and service providers on supporting AAC users. Give it a listen to learn more about fostering effective and respectful communication.

Holding On to Hope Allows Me To Turn Setbacks Into Comebacks

Check out this inspiring story of resilience and determination. It shows how unwavering hope can drive someone to conquer challenges even when living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). After a setback caused by COVID-19 weakened his voice, the author’s renewed effort and determination are helping him reclaim his speech abilities.

Check out our previous monthly roundup for more cool stories!

About Spoken

Spoken is an app that helps people with aphasia, nonverbal autism, and other speech and language disorders.