The ChatterBox project started as a college's final main assignment where we, as a group, had the opportunity to share our passion for technology. The real challenge in this case was to find something technologically relevant for the project, although beneficial to the society.
At the first group meeting, one of the members brought the story of a friend's mother who suffered a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA), popularly known as 'stroke'. As a result she had her movements partially affected and speaking difficulties - family can understand her most of times however, strangers find it quite difficult. Having this in mind, we focused our search on this especial public.
During this search we came across with the BBC reality show called The Big Life Fix which each episode describes three different life stories of people with special needs and developers focus on building an application or device to help them out. The second episode, aired on 07th December 2016, is the one that grabbed our attention. This episode reveals Graham’s story. Graham had a stroke and thought he had lost his voice forever. His brain was still working fine, but he could not speak and his movements were compromised.
The AAC his wife found to get him to communicate was using a tablet to type. Nonetheless, due to his loss of movements, it was hard for him to use this device leading him to fatigue, frustration and feeling of powerlessness.
Creating the App
The idea was to create a device that could help people to communicate as effortless as possible. Thus the concept of buttons, that by themselves resembles 'boxes', playing an audio voice of the respective sentences/words written in it, started coming into our minds. We focused on developing an application which, roughly speaking, would look as a container of messages and words, a 'chatterbox'.
ChatterBox's dashboard is divided in 5 categories: Emergency, Daily Chat, Feelings, Fun and Greetings. Each one of them has its respective icon and colour representing the category. In addition to this, buttons 'Yes' and 'No' where strategically positioned in order to provide faster positive or negative answers.