A new iPhone app that will help people with autism or who are recovering from strokes has been developed in Canada.
The creator and lead researcher at the University of Toronto, Alexander Levy, says MyVoice, which says words when the iPhone screen is tapped, is advanced for a couple of reasons.
First of all, it is location aware. This means, explains Levy, that the phone knows where you are. Words and phases that are put in ahead of time, will automatically pop up.
"So to give you a very Canadian example. The concept is that if you were to walk into a Tim Hortons, you automatically get words like Timbits and double-double so you can communicate quickly and easily."
Secondly, as Levy told CBC's Matt Galloway, the software is supported by a website where caregivers or the user can log on and add words.
The response has been overwhelming. Levy says he never thought it would be a product but was often asked when it would be available when he took the prototype to conferences to demonstrate.
People like it, he says, because it is small, easy to use and allows them to communicate more fluidly and to fit in socially.
It is available for free from the iPhone AppStore or by going to the website myvoiceaac.com. The company is developing an app for the Android market.
In four to six months more features will be available through a monthly subscription fee. Proceeds from these sales, says Levy, will go toward making better speech aids.