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TalkBox is a speech generating device designed for use by individuals who are not able to use their natural voice for communication. It is an open source designed and makeable by non-professionals. This project has several goals:
Empowerment: to provide a low-cost open-source, open-hardware Speech Generating Device (aka “SGD”) and other assistive technologies to the community, so that those who need such devices can more easily obtain them. To empower more individuals who have disabilities be makers themselves. To create an ecosystem of making that provides employment opportunities for high school students who have developmental disabilities.
Community: to build a community of knowledge and practice around maker approaches to assistive technologies. This includes create rich experiential learning experiences for undergraduate students in the Lassonde School of Engineering and other undergraduate programs.
Innovation: to make use of new modes of academic-community collaboration. To provide a maker-based mode in the ecology of technology distribution for SGDs and other assistive technologies (which includes the mode provided by Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program). To enrich the body of scholarship that is concerned with the field of Assistive Technology. To mobilize knowledge outputs from academic research into active use in the community.
This project that has been undertaken by faculty and students from the GaMaY Lab, in the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, in collaboration with Ray Feraday, who is a Special Education teacher with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, a maker, and an innovator of technology use in the classroom.
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