U of T researchers create mobile app that gives voice to people with communications challenges
Thanks to a mobile application called MyVoice, people with communication disorders can make themselves understood audibly.
This amazing technology was developed by University of Toronto graduate Alex Levy and current Engineering Science student Aakash Sahney, who give a big credit to U of T’s Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO) for helping them get MyVoice into the marketplace and into the hands of people who can benefit from it.
MyVoice helps people who have trouble communicating because of conditions like stroke, autism or ALS to access phrases and words for everyday situation. The technology allows users to determine which relevant phrases they might need based on their location, such as a café, a restaurant, a subway station or a city.
Levy and Sahney developed the product while they were research associates at U of T’s Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (TAGLab), directed by computer science professor Ron Baecker. The invention earned Levy recognition as one of 20 Canadians under the age of 30 honoured for their entrepreneurial excellence by the FuEL Awards, which celebrate Canada’s Future Entrepreneurial Leaders. Levy also received the prestigious Martin Walmsley award from Ontario Centres of Excellence for 2012.
Now, Levy and Sahney have created a company to get MyVoice into the marketplace.
“The reason we started a business is because there were so many people who were saying to us that ‘What you developed would be helpful to my family member or my child, my patient or my student.’ MyVoice is addressing a desperate need in so many people.”
Levy credits his and Sahney’s work and success in sourcing funding to the contributions received from U of T’s IPO. Visit the company’s website at www.myvoiceaac.com
“IPO helped us find a number of sources of funding and support. Their ability to do this was amazing. They were very helpful, especially in the very early stage when we were getting off the ground. They continue to be helpful today. They’re at the nexus of so much of the research and business community, so when opportunities to showcase our technologies arise, we are notified by IPO. We feel well supported at U of T because of the professionals at IPO.”