6 / 9 / 2012
Language is an essential human need. A new device recently launched on the medical market brings hope to hearing impaired children and in the rehabilitation of brain injuries: The Articulograph allows speech therapy to be designed in a more targeted and efficient way, improving the speech motor system – and thus quality of life.
The Articulograph creates a 3D motion image of the tongue, and thus delivers an essential insight into the speech motor system and speech therapy.
After severe brain damage, congenital hearing deficiencies or speech motor system impairments, speech therapy helps patients participate in social life again. Through improvements in their speech, they become more selfconfident in family, professional and social environments. However, to date establishing the causes of speech defects or inadequate speech control has not been a simple matter. Since the tongue and soft palate are difficult to access, it has not been possible to study speech movements in sufficient detail. As a result, diagnostics and therapeutic support have not always been successful.
Identifying speech patterns
The Articulograph, developed by Germany’s Carstens Medizinelektronik after eleven years of research, now offers a solution. The device allows three-dimensional recording and visualisation of speech movements of the mouth and tongue, thus creating a precise disorder profile. The patient sits in the Articulograph and between 8 and 16 sensors are attached to their tongue and head. The device registers the patient’s movements, as well as the signals from all the sensors. The patient’s tongue movement and head position are then combined to reveal his or her unique speech pattern. The movement data gathered provides valuable information for the diagnosis, enabling speech therapy to be designed in a far more targeted and efficient way, thus allowing improvements to speech motor skills. Additionally, the recordings made using the Articulograph open up completely new avenues of research into speech synthesis and phonetics.
Thin, flexible and ergonomic
The Articulograph uses very thin and flexible RF cables and connectors that are easy to handle, so that they can easily be introduced into the patient’s mouth and medical staff can plug them into and unplug them from computers. To achieve this, HUBER+SUHNER designed and developed a cable with a diameter of less than a millimetre and an ergonomic connector shape specifically to meet the requirements of this specific application. Thanks to these sensor cables, HUBER+SUHNER is helping to revolutionise speech therapy.