The speech-generating program Proloquo2Go, designed to help people who can't speak communicate with others, has been included in Apple's recently released list of 30 top-selling iPhone applications in its new feature iTunes Rewind 2009. The program, which is powered by AssistiveWarer, joins 29 others as one of the most popular applications, ranking at No. 23 and outdoing ESPN, CNN and Family Guy.
Created to provide communication for people with partial or no functional vocal abilities, the app is a full augmentative communications device that provides natural sounding text-to-speech voices with over 8000 symbols, automatic conjugations, as well as a default vocabulary of more than 7000 items. Users can customize intuitive screens, symbols and images to build phrases or sentences - all from their mobile device.
Seen as a vastly more affordable (the app retails at $189.99) alternative to conventional speech-generating software (that costs thousands and remains fixed on a desktop), the app is widely used by people of all ages with speech impairing conditions, ranging from autism, cerebral palsy to Lou Gehrig's disease. It's also been making headlines as Medicare and private insurers are faced with the task of choosing to pay for archaic, more costly and uni-functional communications systems, or financing new, cheaper and more versatile open-platform portable devices.