The idea was born in 2017: to create a device to monitor breathing, speech patterns, and to provide real-time feedback and performance history tracking to assist people who stutter (PWS) in out-of-clinic scenarios. We’ve been through some changes and even changed our name from Respira (Spanish for “breathing”) to BeneTalk as our mission progressed.
We want to be the “Fitbit” for speech therapy to help communication, providing affordable personalised therapy on demand and objectively monitoring speech during the day.
How does it work?
A comfortable belt is worn around the chest and tracks the user’s particular breathing and speaking habits during the day. It can be worn in any situation (at school, during interviews, public speaking, etc.) since it is not visible to others.
The belt will vibrate whenever the user does not use full diaphragmatic support to breathe and analyses their speaking habits during the day. The app records the user’s performance history, gives visual or haptic feedback (on breathing and phonation) in real-time and sets personalised targets, so new, helpful habits are built. Nudges and encouragement by a Speech Buddy (called Bene, our bot) will improve confidence and give emotional support. The app can be customised so the user can make the learning experience more gentle or intensive and set specific goals.
We provide personalised coaching.
Where are we now?
To this day, we have developed four different hardware prototypes and tested them with focus groups both in Spain and the UK. We have also built an app which integrates with the hardware. At the moment, we are training our algorithm with several users to detect basic speech fluency techniques common in speech therapy. Our current hardware detects breathing, syllables per minute and pacing, and provides real-time feedback in ‘not too noisy’ environments.
What is our end goal?
Currently, the average PWS requires around 40 hours of consultations with a speech and language therapist to address issues relating to stuttering. With our device and technology, we expect to drop the number of direct therapy sessions to 0 (or close to 0) with similar or better results, by providing a digital coach and speech tracker on demand. Users will learn specific techniques and will eventually be able to detect the probability of reencountering difficulties with their speech. This approach will make the device a proactive solution rather than a reactive one.
Since our technology is language agnostic, it can be adapted to new markets and languages with ease. Our first language market will be English, followed by Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
We want to break the communication barriers of anyone affected by speech and language difficulties, irrespective of their location and financial situation. We hope you will become a part of our journey!