• Stuttering has no Effective Cure: Even after it affecting 96 Million people of all ages all over the world, stuttering still doesn’t have any effective cure yet.
Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds.
• Stuttering Leads to Social Isolation
Around 2/3rd of Stuttering do not get equal opportunity and are discriminated at work place. Kids who stutter are usually bullied at school and lead an isolated life. Stuttering is more than just a speech disorder, it has become a way of life which is a necessity to be changed.
Our Solution -
We are the first of it's kind process for treating Stuttering. This help all stutterers stay within their confines and use the treatment process. We are using " Mirror Neurons " to give video and manipulated audio feedback using ML trained models. We allow our user to recite in immersive VR environments. • Mirror Neurons
Like the Mirror Box Therapy used to treat Phantom Limb Pain. We are using these recently discovered neurons to cure Stuttering and Stammering using video feedback. We are the first of kind product using manipulated audio to stimulate these neurons
These neurons have shaped our civilization. Imitation and mimicry has led to learning exponential rates separating us from the Animal Kingdom.
These neurons are just used in Mirror Box therapy. Our product is the first other usage of the neurons using auditory feedback.
• Virtual Reality
Bolo uses VR environment for a completely immersive recital experience. One can start from an empty room for solo practice to a large stadium for public speaking experience. This helps in simulating stressful situation which sometimes lead to stuttered speech.
We at Bolo, are committed to building a dedicated community for stutterers and non-stutterers to enable more sensitization and also peer-to-peer learning. This transforms into a self-help help group which truly facilitates the treatment process.
How does it work? -
Users have to recite a script using the app or the VR headset with the help of on-screen tracker. After the first recital, our system processing the audio and removes the stuttering elements. This gives rise to a modified audio file.
• Video & Modified Audio Feedback
This modified audio file is played as a feedback when the user recites the script the next time. Hence, having a visual feedback of him/her giving the speech while hearing a stutter-free audio. This stimulates mirror neurons and gradually improves speech by 10th Recital.
Technology/Platforms Involved -
-Wix-Code -Swift -Adobe Photoshop/Xd/Illustrator/Premier Pro -Unity
-firebase -Azure -Librosa -Tensorflow -Python
-Facebook Oculus -Facebook-Login -Google Cloud Platform -Google-Home -Google-Signin -Google-Cardboard -Json -Zeplin -AppleMaps
How we built it & Challenges faced: -
We made an iOS App to interact with user while we coded for the audio to be processed and modified. It took some time to gather sample and then train the data. We initially got accuracy around 60% but we were able to bring it up to 85%.
We faced some issues with Lebrosa framework and then size of arrays after running the final model. Simultaneously, we were able to create a room and hall environment on Unity. We successfully deployed the system on VRgear but it threw issues when tried with the Oculus, we have raised our issues with the Facebook Team here , we intend to get it working soon.
We also used Wixcode for all our frontend requirements. It was a seamless way of designing and coding it quickly.
Learning & Accomplishment -
We learnt quit a few new technologies over the last 36 hours and also tried a few things for the first time. We are happy to have committed these hours into so much development and such great work.
We feel that a product that can help Millions around the world is a major accomplishment for us. It can be a first step towards solving greater neurological disorders.
Conclusion & Future Scope -
It is first of its kind product that aims to help people around using Mirror Neurons. It will also help garner data which can in the future lead to greater insight and research on neurological disorders.
Also, the strong community that resides on Bolo will be major highlight for all stutterers and non-stutterers alike to lead to greater sensitization in the society.