Final Project Post

WT Project PosterWT Final productAs a team we created an armband that interacts with an application to vocalize the word that coordinates with what was pressed on the armband. The armband contained five lines of conductive thread that ran over the surface of it to the Arduino board on the back of the armband. These lines of conductive thread when touched in various combinations corresponded to a word, which was programmed into the application. The application was connected to the Arduino board through Bluetooth and could determine which conductive thread lines were touched and convert this into its corresponding word or phrase which then would be vocalized into speech through whatever device was running the application. The application also had the ability to change the words or phrases that corresponded to the lines of conductive thread so that the vocabulary of the device could be adapted to the specific user. Beyond that the application also tracks which words or phrases are used so that the user can see how their vocabulary is changing and adapt the device to their changing vocabulary.

Overall, we are fairly pleased with the final result of our project. We were successful with our overall goal to create a device that could be used to aid someone who had difficulty speaking. The armband interfaced with the application through Bluetooth and the application converted the text to speech and vocalized the word. We also were able to develop the product with a certain consumer in mind so we were able to fulfill some of the components that were vocalized as necessary to us by the user. The armband is comfortable and flexible. The armband and all of the attached electrical components are also washable, which was one of our goals in order to make the product as functional as possible for the consumer.

Our project went through various developments. We initially pitched creating a shirt with a keyboard for texting on it; however, when we were contacted regarding a child with Down syndrome we adapted the project to fit his needs. We planned on making an armband with buttons made with conductive ink, which would interface with an application that would vocalize the word that corresponded to the pressed button through Bluetooth. The concept of the project we were able to accomplish we just adjusted the means in which it was accomplished. We did make an armband that when touched would interface with the application through Bluetooth and say the word. However, instead of using the conductive ink to accomplish this we used conductive thread because the attempts made with the conductive ink were unsuccessful. We also initially pitched that we would have one button for each word but this became too difficult to do due to the small size of the child that we were developing this project for and the allotted time so we came up with a system so that different combinations of conductive thread would correlate to different words when pressed.

One of the largest hurdles of our project was the small size of the consumer that we were making this device for. In order to get the number of words that the consumer was accustomed to (30 words) on the armband and to wire them all we needed a lot of pins on the board but then the board became to large for the small size of our user. Therefore we developed a binary system to wire the armband and the conductive buttons, which was the original concept that would allow us to reduce the number of pins that were necessary. However, this created a new problem because now we had to wire about 80 lines of conductive thread without crossing them and shorting the circuit in a very small space. Ultimately we were unable to develop a way to do this effectively in the amount of time we had and thus resulted in our simplified concept of the five lines of conductive thread that when pressed in various combinations correlate to 31 words.

If we had more time we would make several improvements to the device. We would like to make a product that was better constructed so that it would not only look nicer but also so that it would be less fragile. We would also like to make it so that it is easier for the user to use so that they do not need to press down on multiple lines of conductive thread in some instances in order for the application to say the word. This would involve figuring out a better way to connect the Arduino board to the armband. Ideally we would also like to figure out a way to say more words so that the user’s vocabulary is not as limited.