Monday, June 27, 2016

LEADING EDGE OF SCIENCE - Language to the Voiceless

"Teen scientist’s revolutionary speech device could grant language to the voiceless" PBS NewsHour 6/22/2016


SUMMARY:  At age nine, Arsh Shah Dilbagi asked his parents for a puppy; they gave him a Lego kit instead.  Undeterred, Arsh used it to construct a dog.  Now 17, the tech prodigy is still building his dreams from scratch.  His latest project is a smartphone-sized device called “Talk” that converts breath into speech, a boon for the developmentally disabled.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

ARSH SHAH DILBAGI, Student Inventor:  Hi.  My name is Arsh Shah Dilbagi.  I’m from Panipat, India.  I love robots.  I’m good at computer science and math.  And I wish to change the world.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO (NewsHour):  He was 15 when he made this video two years ago, as a finalist in Google’s Science Fair, with a smartphone-sized device called TALK that converts breath into speech.

COMPUTER VOICE:  TALK is an innovative device for people with developmental disabilities.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  He is also savvy at marketing, abundantly displayed on social media.

Here he is giving a "TED Talk" in Mumbai:

ARSH SHAH DILBAGI:  I felt that, as long as you are breathing, you should be able to live, truly live.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  He’s always like to tinker, he says.  When his parents gave him a LEGO kit, instead of a dog, there was only one thing to do.

ARSH SHAH DILBAGI:  I made a little dog out of the LEGO kit.

The very fact that we humans are capable of creating machines which can be more capable than we ever can be, that is fascinating.  That’s just like cheating evolution.

Over the years, learned locomotion, how to control motors, how to put things together, how to make robots better.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  He learned to turn toys into tools.  The idea for the speech device began when he accompanied his grandmother to the hospital, he says, and saw a severely speech-impaired Parkinson’s disease patient.

ARSH SHAH DILBAGI:  I researched about everything I could about all the speech impediments.  That research went on for a long time.  And after that, I decided, OK, there are problems that I found out with the currently available solutions.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  He says devices now on the market, like the one used by one of his favorite authors, Stephen Hawking, all require a laptop computer, they can be invasive, and they are, of course, expensive, well beyond vast majority of people, especially in India.

No comments: