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August 21, 2012

Talking Keyboards Give Voice to People, Places and Things

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

Although text to speech is not new, bringing it to all types of products, places and people is new. For that, text to speech provider TextSpeak has readied talking boards that cost less than $500. According to TextSpeak, the TS series Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) speech generating keyboards are simple to use and work right out of the box.

The manufacturer said that the talking keyboard includes a combination of a wireless keyboard and portable battery powered speaker. “Working in tandem, typed text from the keyboard is transmitted and spoken directly from the wireless speaker, wrote Connected Planet (News - Alert) Online’s The Briefing Room blogger Angela Cuzzo.

As per the blog post, the TS series talking keyboards are designed to offer special needs and medical community with a new simple solution that requires no technical skills for maintenance or training. The Briefing Room blog indicates that the talking keyboards are tailored for hospitals where they can serve trauma and postoperative patients (i.e. laryngectomy), or any application that one needs synthesized speech. They can be patients with stroke, aphasia, or throat cancer, wrote Cuzzo.

In addition, noted Cuzzo, such boards can used by the elderly at home or in nursing care, as well as by hospitals for outpatient transition. Plus, as per the blog, they are also available as Durable Medical Equipment (DMA) in VA hospitals throughout the United States, wrote Cuzzo.

The Briefing Room description indicates that the TextSpeak keyboards are specifically designed to address three important patient needs. These include simplicity, affordability and typing. Regarding simplicity, the keyboard controls are limited to On/Off and volume, and work out of the box. Likewise, with regards to affordability, they are priced below $500. Lastly, with respect to typing, the keyboards are designed to help mobility impaired patients, wrote Cuzzo.

Other features include standard voices for male and female genders in both English and Spanish, unlimited vocabulary, speakerphone friendly, and flexibility. Also, they are lightweight.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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