Help us design the iPhone app…
by Ognjen Todic on September 21, 2011
A few weeks ago we released our first iPhone app: Pronunciation Tutor /W/. While this app targets English as a Second Language speakers (i.e. non-native speakers of English), it has several features that may be of interest to the aphasia community.
Pronunciation Tutor /W/ is a tool that non-native speakers of English can use to practice production of the sound W (as in win, where). This sound is a problem for many non-native speakers of English because it does not exist in many languages. In speech production by non-native speakers it typically gets replaced by sound V.
The app provides a variety of content (exaggerated words, normal words, sentences) that students can use to practice listening perception. The goal is to teach users to hear the difference between the V and W sounds. This way students can become aware of the W sound and can independently self-monitor their speech production.
The most interesting feature for the aphasia community is the speaking practice section. On this screen, the app provides users with close-up videos of model speakers uttering words and sentences. This approach is fairly common in speech and language therapy and there are several apps (e.g. Lingraphica, SpeakInMotion) that already provide this kind of functionality. We have pushed the boundary further in that, Pronunciation Tutor apps also provides visual feedback on the user’s production. Using the front-facing camera of the iPhone/iPod/iPad, the app automatically zooms in on the user’s mouth as s/he is practicing. In the screenshot below, the top video is a model (a native speaker) saying words of phrases; in the bottom video users can see their own mouth/lips in a real time.
In future releases, we also plan to add the ability for users to record themselves, so that they can review their performance at a later time.
We have been encouraged by the feedback from the ESL community, as well as from several aphasia experts, and are planning to build a similar app for the aphasia community. The app will most likely focus on words and phrases and may not have a listening section…
Do you have any suggestions on what features and functionality should the aphasia app provide? What kind of content do you think would be most useful? Please comment below or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note: zoom-in feature works only on devices with the front-facing camera (iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4, iPad 2)