Google Experimenting With ‘Look To Speak’ That Grants Power Of Speech To People With Disabilities

Google is working with experts to offer people with speech disabilities new methods of communication. The search giant has developed an app that has simple functionalities allowing people with speech impairments to communicate merely by looking at their smartphones and moving their heads.

Google’s latest endeavor for people with difficulty in speech is called ‘Look to Speak’. It is essentially an app that lets people use their eyes to choose pre-written phrases for their phone to speak out loud. Today, Look to Speak is available to everyone, and the app is compatible with Android 9.0 and above, including Android One.

Google Takes Assistive Technology To People With Speech Impairment With Look To Speak:

Richard Cave, a Speech and Language therapist has been working with Google on Eye Gaze Technology to help people type messages on a communication device and share them using eye movement alone. Android smartphones have increasing power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Newer devices have machine learning built right into them.

Using the power of hardware and the Android operating system, Google has come up with Look to Speak, an app that lets people use their eyes to choose pre-written phrases for their phone to speak out loud. The app is now available to everyone. It is compatible with Android 9.0 and above, including Android One.

With the app, people simply have to look left, right, or up to quickly select what they want to say from a list of phrases. It even allows users to personalize the words and phrases. It lets people share their authentic voice. The eye gaze sensitivity settings can be adjusted, and all of the data is private and never leaves the phone. To help people put this app to use Google has created a tutorial and a guide with top tips, like how to position the phone and use the simplified eye gaze interaction.

Look to Speak is part of the ‘Start with One’ project on the “Experiments with Google” platform. Throughout the design process, the research team reached out to a small group of people who might benefit from a communication tool like this. Look To Speak can work where other communication devices couldn’t easily go—for example, outdoors, in transit, in the shower, and in urgent situations. Google claims conversations can happen with even more ease where there would otherwise have been silence.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.