The inspiration for this project stemmed from both my personal battle with dyslexia as well as two of my grandparents suffering strokes over the past summer. After my grandparent's strokes, they both lost their ability to effectively communicate and as a result were unfortunately forced to recede from society.

They both have taken up reading as knowledge coming in is still okay and this helps them keep there mind active throughout the day. I've noticed them suffering from headaches due to eye strain from reading as well as back problems due to being hunched over to look down at books. I wanted to find a solution to help solve this problem and this reminded me of some research I had done years prior to Rapid Serial Visual Presentations for my dyslexia. The idea is that flashing words on a screen are easier for the brain to process and help reduce cognitive load. This is great for people with dyslexia who struggle to process strings of words and numbers as well as people with ADHD who have a tendency to lose focus easily.

In the end this is also a great help for my grandparents as simple voice commands can be used to read whole books, they can look at a computer screen instead of a book, the font can be increased in size so they don’t have to strain their eyes and lastly they can read at an increased rate and help keep their mind young.

What it does

With the ProRead Platform, you can ask your browser to...

  • "Start reading the entire page"
  • "Begin reading from 'Once upon a time'"
  • "Open analytics"
  • "Restart reading"
  • "Speed it up!"

The verbal user interface makes ProRead easy to use for the elderly and anyone looking to raise their mental strength. Requests for text to read are made by the user and fulfilled by parsing the current page's content. This text is then queued and shown word by word at a set speed to the user. While being read, the user can stop, restart, skip sections, and change the speed all through GUI and verbal commands.

During this time, speed data is collected to visualize the progression of a user. This information can be used for personal use to encourage one's self to keep improving, or by a healthcare provider to monitor a user's use and progress within the application, this data is then visible through our website (Hosted on AWS) for viewing.

How we built it

  • A chrome extension has the ability to parse the current page and break it into separate elements of text
  • Nuance's Text to Speach is used for prompting the user and giving feedback
  • Nuance's Automatic Speech Recognition is used to record what the user commands ProReader to do
  • Nuance Mix's Natural Language Understanding is used to take the user's command and convert it to one of the 13 different commands
  • The command then is performed using JavaScript and ✨Magic✨ (more JavaScript)
  • Each read, the speed data is recorded to be viewed on the AWS server using Google Charts

Accomplishments that we are proud of

Have you seen that UI? It looks amazing with beautiful design, custom widgets available on all pages, and graphs! And the ability to yell at my browser to do things? THE POWER!!! And that was all in under 24hrs with time for naps, chats, and Euchre.

What's next for ProRead - Speed Reading Raising Mental Elasticity

  • Creating a portal for collections of users, such as schools or retirement homes will allow caregivers and educators to track the progress of a collection of users.
  • Using Nuance Mix's Wake up Words would replace the need for clicking the extension's button when beginning a call, allowing a higher ease of use
  • More statistical analysis of using speed to help speed up user reading time
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