Device helps overcome stuttering

27th October 2000 at 01:00
AN Australian invention offers new hope for children trying to overcome stutters. Speechsync has been developed by researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and claims to be a completely new method of therapy for what is a physical, not psychological, condition.

Stuttering is caused by disruption to speech muscles, which have high levels of tension before and during speech. Using biosensors placed on the face, and computer software, Speechsync detects this tension and displays it on a monitor. Professor Ashley Craig says this helps stutterers to understand the condition and control it.

In an eight-year study, an average success rate of 80 per cent has been recorded. The device can be used with children from seven years of age and could be of particular use o teenagers, as Professor Craig says some speech therapists are reluctant to work with adolescents. Speechsync is being used in several Sydney hospitals and can be ordered on the internet for about pound;1,400. A home unit is being developed that will cost less than pound;400.

Professor Craig has also been involved in developing the Mind Switch, a device that makes use of brainwave patterns found in most people. It allows electrical devices or appliances to be operated within one or two seconds through the conscious control of this brain signal. In trials more than 95 per cent of people could control lamps, fans and televisions without training, suggesting the switch should be a valuable aid to profoundly disabled users. Chris Johnston

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today