Speech communicator

Project  / Project number: 59-18  /  Status:

Front View

Speech Communicator Front View

The challenge

The client was introduced to our panel by her OT, she is blind and has exaggerated hand movements and wants to press a button
to initiate a pre-recorded spoken message as her speech is not always clear.
This will improve her ability to communicate especially if a close family member is not available.

The solution

Proposed Solution
Discussions and early trials homed in on the idea of a box fitted with six differently shaped large buttons spaced well apart so that
the client could identify them before pressing to play the associated recorded message.
This would require a decent amount of sound volume but also be battery powered and hence portable.

Design and Build
The design was based around six low cost voice recorder modules and one amplifier module plus two speakers, all sourced from China.
The voice recorder modules each have a microphone so that an individual message can be recorded and re-recorded as required.
The switch buttons and mechanisms were designed in 3D and printed on the Herts South panel’s own 3D printer.
A PIC micro-controller was used to control the power sequencing so that the unit will last a long time when running from the USB power bank.
The power bank can be charged in the unit or removed and charged externally.
The unit was built into a homemade painted MDF box with an opening bottom panel so that the voice recorder modules can be accessed to record new messages.
The unit was built as a prototype with no certainty that it would meet the client’s expectations.


The pictures show the front of the unit and inside – it is easily opened to allow new messages to be recorded or the battery changed.

The benefit

The unit was delivered and demonstrated to the client and she seemed very happy with it.
Her husband was shown how to record messages and quickly stored a set to try out, knowing that they can be changed.
The OT was very pleased and was sure it would help with communications in the future.


This is a picture of the client (with approval), there is also one on our website: https://hertfordshire-south.remap.org.uk/459/speech-communicator.

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