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Google launches Look to Speak app to help speech impaired people communicate

Avatar Written by Taha Abdullah ·  1 min read >

Google has launched a new app to help people with speech and motor impairments communicate. The app lets users select phrases at a glance, which the phone plays out loud to facilitate easy communication for people with speech disabilities. Google rolled out Look to Speak this Tuesday and it will be available for all Android devices running Android 9.0 and up.

The app was developed with the help of speech and language therapist Richard Cave, specifically for people who find it difficult to speak, as well as use fine motor skills to select what they want to say using traditional apps. The app uses machine learning along a smartphone camera to detect the users eye movement and select the required phrase to be spoken out loud.

Look to Speak was developed by Experiments with Google, the tech giant’s experimental projects arm. Look to Speak is part of the Start with One, Invent for Many program, which “is a collection of experiments that started by working with one person to make something impactful for them and their community.” This particular project worked with Sarah Ezekial, an artist diagnosed with motor neuron disease and tried to help her communicate more easily using eye-gaze communication technology.

The main purpose of the app is to convey the bigger picture, instead of focusing on the details. Although there are better, more precise tools out there, the fact that the app uses nothing more than a smartphone to operate allows it to be extremely portable and go anywhere a smartphone can. The app features adjustable sensitivity settings, allowing users to tune functionality to their liking. Besides this, users can customize words and phrases to have a more comfortable experience.