Arsh Shah Dilbagi.Info :
Founder and CEO of Arido ,
Inventor of TALK
from DAV Public School, Panipat.
He is a 16-year-old wonder kid from India, took the world by storm last year with the announcement of his ambitious project ‘TALK’ which converts breathing patterns of humans into actual audible words. Cut to the present and the Gold Medalist at IRIS National Fair and India Innovation Initiative is already promising a better world to people with developmental disabilities and speech impairments after his device completed its trial run successfully.
Q1. Tell us about TALK? How does it work?
TALK employs an innovative technology, requiring a person to be able to give two distinguishable exhales (by varying intensity/time) to be converted into electrical signals using special Microphone. The electrical signals are processed by a microprocessor converted to letters ~ words ~ sentences and sent to another microprocessor for synthesizing. TALK features two modes – one to communicate in English supporting 9 different voices (male/female) suiting to different age groups and other to give specific commands/phrases. In communication mode, with embedded feature of encoding facility, user can communicate frequently used phrases by just dictating a few words. TALK has made two major breakthroughs by increasing speaking rate and becoming the world’s most affordable AAC device. I got predicted results by testing the device with a person suffering from SEM and Parkinson’s disease. TALK will mark the beginning of ‘Whole New Life for Speech Impaired People’. In future I would like to add auto-predictions to my Computing-Engine and integrate TALK with modern technology like Google Glass to ‘Make the World a Better Place to Live for People with Developmental-Disabilities and Speech Impairments’.
TALK is meant for:
● People with Developmental Disabilities – LIS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease,
● People with Brain Stem Stroke Syndrome.
● People who have gone through Tracheotomy Surgery.
● People with Vocal Cord Paralysis.
● People with Speech Impairments – Dysarthria etc.
● People who cannot speak – Mutes etc.
Q2. What inspired you to create a device that helps differently abled people communicate effectively ?
I am writing answer by third person perspective.
We’ve all spent an hour, even two, waiting for a consultation with a doctor. You may flip through a magazine, or agonise about what he/she will say, or even observe your fellow sufferers with a critical eye. But when Arsh Shah Dilbagi, a 16-year-old resident of Panipat, Haryana, found himself waiting in the reception room of his doctor’s clinic, he used his time far more constructively. “I noticed a patient crying profusely. He had suffered from a stroke, after which he had lost the ability to speak,” says Arsh, who studies in Class 12 of the DAV Public School. The experience moved him, made him think about just how lack of communication renders a person helpless. He was shocked when he came across statistics reporting that being speech impaired lowered life expectancy by 20 years on an average. “I think as long as a person is breathing, he/she should be able to enjoy life,” he says, of what he felt at the time. So Arsh Shah Dilbagi got to work on “Talk”, an alternative communication device for patients suffering from speech impairments due to conditions like ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Arsh’s “Talk” converts breath into speech, and his invention was among the 15 finalists selected for the prestigious Google Science Fair Awards this September. Arsh was the only finalist from the Asia region this year. Besides this Arsh has won Grand Prize and Gold Medal in IRIS National Fair and India Innovation Initiative.
Q3. What motivated you to build TALK – why did you decide to work on a device for people with developmental disabilities?
Around an year ago I was sitting in my doctor’s clinic and saw a person crying profusely. After which, on asking the doctor, I found out that few months back he had a stroke and since then was unable to speak. Knowing the fact that Stephen Hawking is using an assistive technology, I was forced to ask Why was that person not using one? And How many other, like him, cannot communicate because of this technology barrier?
Q4. How long did it take you to build Talk?
It took around one year rigorous hard work. First researching available solutions, finding merits & demerits of each, conceiving the idea of finding a better solution, making first prototype, testing it, making another prototype, analyzing results of it, in the process making the final prototype and testing it with a patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease and arriving on positive response.
Q5. Is Talk currently a prototype? Will the product be available for sale anytime soon?
The TALK is currently a prototype. The product will be available by the end of year 2015.
Q6. How many different fields of study did you combine to come up with something like this?
Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science, Mechanical and bit Medical. I have done algorithm designing, coding, soldering, designing of enclosures etc. all by myself.
Q7. What has your life been like prior to Google Science Fair?
Life has been cool and it is more like the same after the fair except getting invitation like TEDxGateway, Mumbai, Birla Awards Function and from some other prestigious institutions like IIM Kashipur, BITS, Goa etc and flooded friend request from across the globe. Currently I am pursuing 12th standard and my unit test are underway the preparation of which takes away the most of my time.
Q8. Tell us about the experience of attending the Google Science Fair – what was the highlight of your visit?
Google Science Fair is not merely participation affair but truly celebration of science and technology. Google treats you like celebrity be it travel/stay/nearby trips arrangement felicitation/award ceremony you are made to feel special. Moreover project submission and subsequent interviews, hangouts, email replying and awards transform one in lot more ways than one can imagine.
Q9. What do you spend your free time on?
I keep on ‘Making & Tinkering’ on whatever things I can lay my hands on. I am Full-stack developer i.e. web designing, logo making, programming, coding etc. besides this I am into swimming but get almost no time for it. I also enjoy shooting people & places – I mean photography. I do blogging also.
Q10. What can we hope to see from you after TALK ?
I am working on modifications and betterment in TALK. In future, by using TALK one may be able to browse internet, send/receive e-mails and log on to social media sites.
Q11. What’s your dream invention is ?
I think I am a little too young to say what my dream invention is. I am chasing a lot of dreams and wish to accomplish a lot more than TALK. There is a thought which guides all of the things that I do – ‘Making this world a better place to live’. Making a dent in the universe.
Q12. How do your friends and teachers react to your success?
Teachers and friends are elated. Thank God, they still consider me the Next Door Kid and I am very cool about it. To survive in the life you require real relations rather than phony ones.
Q13. What has been the highlight of your journey so far?
The journey has been joyous. Winning the Google Science Fair 2014 Voter’s Choice Award strengthened my belief that the ‘TALK’ has the potential to change the world. Delivering talk at TEDxGateway, Mumbai on Nov 2, 2014 was immensely satisfying.
Q14. What are your other interests and hobbies?
I am Roboticist, Ideator, Innovator, Creative Technologist, Full-stack developer. Besides all I enjoy shooting people, places etc. – I am a Photographer also. I do blogging. Swimming and participating in declamation contests are my other interests.
Q15. In the next 5 years you hope to be…
Presently my mission is ‘TESI – TALK for EACH SPEECH IMPAIRED’. I want to be associated with ‘Making this World a Better Place to live’. Through this medium I want to request Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Shri Harshvardhan to consider this device for the countless people in need in our country. I believe that the fruitful Past Academics, Research and Hands-on Experiences I have had, the present grooming I am going through and a Focused, Determined and Passionate Approach towards Future are my Strengths and will form main ingredients for Achieving Success in my Long Term Goals. The Twenty First Century is going to belong to Intelligent Robots and Artificial Intelligence. The Desire to become a Part of this Revolution, to Collectively Tackle the Challenge of Imparting Intelligence to Machines for the Betterment of Mankind and Dream of Making Original Contributions to my Field of Interest has Motivated me to opt for a Career in Computer Science and Robotics.
Q16. Your advice to other young inventors is…
Keep on following your instincts. Flow with flow. Besides all this, Do take care of your studies also as this is the only Gateway to all other roads to be pursued.