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UCSC Duo Designs Children's Speech Therapy Video Games

UCSC Duo Designs Children's Speech Therapy Video Games

Two researches at UC Santa Cruz have developed a new animated video game for children who need help with their speech.

The video game was “designed for children who have received surgery for cleft palates or lips, the game’s colorful animals act like virtual-reality speech therapists,” said Sri Kurniawan, associate professor of computer engineering and computational media in an article on SantaCruzSentinel.com.

Kurniawan, the article said, “has helped launch a crowdfunding campaign for the game’s mobile app development.”

“It’s a replacement for the exercises they do at home, which has you saying ‘big black sheep’ and then ‘big black bug’ 100 times,” said Kurniawan. “At least here, when you say, ‘big black sheep,’ it jumps for you.”

Zack Rubin, UCSC graduate student who is working with Kurniawan, said that “cleft palate or lip surgery closes the split in the child’s vocal tract, but ongoing therapy is usually needed to teach children how to keep air from escaping through their nose, preventing nasal sounds.”

“Designed for ages 2 to 7, the pair’s mobile app, named ‘Speech with Sam,’ combines a storybook game with cutting-edge speech recognition software,” the article said. “In addition to engaging children, the app also collects student progress data and sends it to speech therapists.”

The video game, the article said, was launched in the fall 2011 and is still early in its development, “and funds are needed for a graphic designer, devices for children and a year of testing.”

“The project’s crowdfunding campaign, which has raised nearly $3,000 towards its $10,000 goal, runs until Dec. 20,” the article said.

According to the article, to donate visit speechwithsam.com before Dec. 20.

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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