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Patient creates device to help him communicate

Ana Duarte 于 2019-05-14 12:05 分享

About the solution

It was the lack of solutions that made Toby create his own device to help him communicate. At the time, the traditional method was the alphabet card. But this would take a lot of time, as the user had to take a long time to go through all the rows and letters to form words.

After some intense physiotherapy and rehabilitation, Toby, who was an engineer, was able to gain some movement in his hands. That’s when he had the idea to build a portable communication aid - the Lightwriter - a typewriter which instead of typing on paper, typed the message on an LCD display.

The Lightwriter consists of a text-to-speech device. The user types a message and the message is then displayed on two displays - one facing the user and the other on a second outfacing display, for the other person to see. There are several version of this device, and they are available in several European languages.

This innovation can be used by people who have speech impairment or speech loss following laryngectomy, tracheostomy, stroke, head injury, or with progressive neurological diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington's Chorea and also Cerebral palsy.

The inventor created this device, at first, for himself. But when he realised that there were a lot of people in his situation, who struggled to communicate, he started manufacturing his gadget so he founded his own company - Toby Churchill Limited - in 1973.

Adapted from: https://bit.ly/2LGpUKn

More info: https://www.abilia.com


DISCLAIMER: This story was written by someone who is not the author of the solution, therefore please be advised that, although it was written with the utmost respect for the innovation and the innovator, there can be some incorrect statements. If you find any errors please contact the patient Innovation team via info@patient-innovation.com


Toby Churchill, born in the UK, in 1947, was 21 years old when he contracted encephalitis (severe swelling of the brain) after swimming in a polluted body of water. This led him to suffer from life-altering deficits, including him becoming wheelchair bound and having lost all ability to move/talk, other than the function of blinking in his left eye. Frustrated with the basic communication aids then available for people who can’t speak, he designed the Lightwriter – a portable typewriter which instead of typing on paper, typed the message on a display.

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