A team from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and IDC School of Design have developed an app which works as a learning and communicative device for the people who have speech disabilities. The concept had its basis in a part of the students' project at IIT-Bombay in the year 2004. Earlier, it evolved as a physical aid mechanism and now as an app which can be used on Android device.
Prof. Ravi Poovaiah, Project Investigator, explained that the speciality of the app is that it recognises emotions with the help of expressive buttons. The name of the app is 'Jellow', and it has six key buttons which include 'don't want', 'want', 'dislike', 'like', 'more or less'. The app also consists of extensive vocabulary which enables the child with speech difficulty to communicate with ease. The app also repeats out loud whatever is typed into it. This unique feature of the app will avoid errors while typing.
The team members faced a difficulty in conceptualising the app in the year 2004 as 'touch interface' was not common at that time. The team members presented the concept at Microsoft Expo that was held in the year 2004. The concept was turned into the website in 2008. Due to the increase in the number of tablets and smartphones today, it became easy for the team to develop a touch-based app.
The team included both students and professors from IIT-Bombay and professionals from the IDC School of Design who did a lot of user studies and revamped the entire content of the website after taking into account the feedback received. Now, the app can be used by anyone who has expressive and speech problems.
The app can be used not only for communication but also for learning. There are various apps which are useful for communication and learning, but Jellow is the only app which has been designed to suit Indian users. While developing the app, India's socio-cultural practices were taken into consideration. For instance, most of the other apps consist of terms like pancakes and waffles in food items, but 'Jellow' has terms like Dal, Khichdi, Chawal and others.