SMARTER eVisual Communication System (eVCS) System Specifications

With respect to the previous post SMARTER Seeks Help to Develop App for ‘e-pad’, I did manage to meet with Malai, the founder of SMARTER, on Friday afternoon and have a discussion with him regarding my interest to volunteer for this project. I managed to detail out some specifications of the system and general information regarding their current systems. Do read the following and if you can contribute do comment below or tweet me @thewheat

Current Flipbook System

  • Currently SMARTER utilizes physical flipbooks in order to help autistic persons communicate. These are physical booklets that have to be brought around and can be cumbersome. The wish is to digitize this flipbook system and to be used on an Android tablet [there are 2 models currently in possession: one with a 7" screen and the other an 8" screen. (links are to similar Android tablets of that screen size)]
  • There is a self-made flipbook system using Microsoft Powerpoint that lets the user click on an action and be brought to a new slide showing the next task/action to take, but this requires a lot of manual effort in creating the flipbook and results in a large file size just for a single activity (17.7MB Powerpoint file for a 25 slide flipbook with 25 different actions/task). This is too cumbersome and needs to be improved
    Existing PowerPoint Flipbook

    Existing PowerPoint Flipbook

  • Flipbooks can be categorized into 2 categories
    • Non-sequential
    • Sequential

    Current Flipbook Samples

    Current Flipbook Samples

  • Sequential types are used for activities such as “Washing Hands” which has a sequence which is shown below and other non-sequential activities such as “I want to go shopping”, or “I want to go home””Washing Hands” sequence:
    1. Open Tap
    2. Wet Hands
    3. Get Soap
    4. Lather Soap
    5. Rinse Hands
    6. Dry Hands
  • Flipbooks are customized per person (autistic people identify with photos if they in the photos performing that action/task)

Proposed Application Specifications:

  • The application should have a graphical representation of the possible actions / activities for the user to select
  • Each item may have sub-items (e.g. First item is “I want to go shopping”, sub-items can be “I want to go to The Mall”, “I want go to Hua Ho” or “I want to go Yayasan”)
  • Voice clips can be played back went an item is selected (e.g. TapToTalk which speaks the action such as “I want to go out”)
  • For sequential activities, there should be an indication of the “next action” to inform the autistic person that there is a pending action to do (during my discussion with Malai, he mentioned that if there is no indication of a next step they could spend all their time doing a current action/task)
  • Pictures and voices must be customizable and be able to be changed by the guardians of the user.
  • Similar applications: TapToTalk, Voice4u, AACSpeechBuddy

Proposed Plan Of Action

  • For the initial stage, I propose a web-based working demo due to the following reasons:
    • it will allow relatively quick changes and mockups
    • it will allow for discussion of features as the actual Android application is developed
    • it can serve as a replacement for the current Powerpoint flipbook system and thus have increased efficiency in creating new flipbooks
    • allow the Brunei community of web developers to play around with HTML and Javascript interactions to see what could work best for the system
  • I have put together a working demo where users can add items (called categories) and specify sub-items to be displayed.
    eCVS Demo System

    eCVS Demo System

    eCVS Demo System - Edit Category

    eCVS Demo System - Edit Category

How You Can Help

  • Do you have any HTML / Javascript know how? Try create a usable interface for system. I will try show them to the people at SMARTER and we can proceed from there
  • Perhaps when the system is more fully functional you can help will data population by adding categories, finding sample images, doing voice recordings.
  • Give some feedback or thoughts on anything that you see: there may be something that you have thought about that has not occurred to any of use. Knowledge sharing beneficial to all =)
  • If you have anything to contribute, do let leave a comment stating how you could help
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