Speaking Sensibly was inspired by the dedicated individual with diverse needs who face various setbacks navigating our world. We want to do our part to allow everyone a chance at having the freedom to communicate and interact with those around them as well as helping to provide a better understanding of the world these people live in.
What it does
Speaking Sensibly aims to provide partially verbal and non-verbal individuals with an opportunity to communicate within their communities and allow these individuals' caregivers to be able to track their progress. One part of this project is a iOS communication device that allows users to communicate using picture, verbal, and text indicators in a portable manner. Moreover, by combining multiple sensory stimuli, namely touch, sight, and sound, this mobile application works in order to reinforce the individual's speech choices helping with learning as well. The second element of this project is a web application that allows an individual's caregiver, such as teachers or parents, to track the individual's progress with communication using the mobile app and will provide analytic data about the connections that are being made through the mobile app.
How we built it
The web application portion of the hack is intended to be a analytics tool for the care-givers. To build this, we utilized node.js, express.js and Angular 2.
As of now, we can simply run the following commands on the "web" branch of our GitHub repository to run the web application: npm install npm start
The mobile application was programmed with Swift, using sliding features on the content selection as well as the individual communication content that will later on link up with the Tanvas technology to provide a textured experience for the individual.
Challenges we ran into
The greatest challenge we came across was the lack of hardware to test our software due to the lack of testing devices from the Tanvas team. Due to this, our hack had to assume the intended result and we prototyped the software around the features provided by Tanvas.
Another challenge was the use of new frameworks such as Angular 2 which is currently still in Release Candidate (so not a fully stable and DOCUMENTED version at the moment...). We also found that navigating and coding a new language was a challenge - for example, coming into the hack, our mobile app developers had no experience in Swift or XCode and learning on the job was a very interesting and tough situation.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of how we worked together as a team to build this amazing project. Our team consists of 6 people which included 2 psychology majors that provided better insight into what was needed for the project. This made the environment of the hack very interesting and diverse and opened up discussions about how we can make the biggest impact. We also are very proud of what we have hacked because we feel like it can greatly improve the way an individual can communicate with the world and how we can understand that.
What we learned
We learned many new cutting-edge technology during this hack, such as Angular 2, Swift and mobile development. We also learned how to make a larger project with multiple elements working together such as the communication app in iOS, the analytics tracking in the web app, and the industry insight from our other members to make a complete application.
What's next for Speaking Sensibly
Speaking Sensibly aims to build a suite of apps to help facilitate speech learning, fine motor skills, and desensitization of textures. Our goal is to create a system of games and apps for individuals with diverse needs in order to promote independence by providing an physical experience in a safe and controlled manner.
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