JACIII Vol.21 No.2 pp. 371-377
doi: 10.20965/jaciii.2017.p0371

Development Report:

Development of a Communication Aid App with iOS Devices to Support Children/Persons with Speech Disabilities Improvement in Obtaining Positioning Information with iBeacon as Near Field Radio Communication Technology

Tomonori Karita

Faculty of Education, Ehime University
3 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-8577, Japan

May 31, 2016
February 6, 2017
Online released:
March 15, 2017
March 20, 2017
voice output communication aid, user friendly, iOS device, iBeacon, speech disability

Communication has such a vital function as the foundation of human social life that speech disabilities can drastically deteriorate people’s quality of life. The author has developed a voice output communication aid (VOCA) to enable children/persons with speech disabilities to communicate with other people according to conversation situations with iOS devices with global positioning system (GPS), positional information acquiring technology (iBeacon), and a clock function installed. The developed technology is an application compatible with iOS (hereinafter, app) that displays a list of messages (hereinafter, VOCA interface) if any of them correspond to the information on the user’s location and time of use as acquired by users with a portable information device with a GPS function, iBeacon function, and clock function installed. Users can communicate by selecting the icons of required messages from VOCA interfaces to reproduce registered voice data instead of their own voices. We have named the developed technology “Friendly VOCA” because its intentions are that: (1) users can communicate with other people with as few operations involved as possible; (2) it should be easy for users to learn and to operate. This paper reports the development processes of the Friendly VOCA and defines the ratios of preregistered VOCA interfaces displayed (hereinafter, correct answer rates) in acquiring positional information with GPS and with iBeacon. In Research Task 1, we have conducted experiments to verify the correct answer rates of the GPS system in outdoor use of the Friendly VOCA and in Research Task 2 we have conducted experiments to verify the correct answer rates of the iBeacon system in indoor use of the Friendly VOCA. The research results show that both the GPS system and iBeacon system can specify user’s spatial information and display appropriate lists of messages. However, the experiments found that iBeacon signal transmitters can transmit signals over a distance of 50 m or more: to improve the correct answer rates of the iBeacon system, we may need to increase the distance between iBeacon signal transmitters or select devices with a shorter range of transmission.

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Last updated on Feb. 21, 2018