E-triloquist, the personal computer augmentative communication aid software formerly known as "SpeakEasy", developed as a family project. Dad had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and lost his ability to speak in the course of the disease. Son is particularly versatile in personal computers. Our first version (named "SpeakEasy" at the time) was made available on the Internet in early 1995. We are now on Version 6.3 with even more new features suggested by current users of the program, and with full support for Windows-XP, Vista, and Windows-7 operating systems. See the News page for full details on the enhancements in V6.1. Go to the Downloads page to install or upgrade to the latest version of E-triloquist.
Most users of the program can still use a keyboard, albeit slowly. For those who can no longer type, E-triloquist can easily be teamed-up with on-screen keyboards, scanners, word-predictors, single-switch input, or other assistive input devices such as Click-N-Type virtual keyboard from Lake Software, SofType from Origin Instruments, WiViK® on-screen keyboard (virtual keyboard) software, Virtual On-Screen Keyboard by MiloSoft, My-T-Mouse from IMG, and a variety of input devices and augmentative communication products from Prentke Romich Company. A longer list of devices can be viewed on the ALS Resources page. These tools can also be added on at a later time if the need arises. Note: when looking for assistive input devices, be sure to get one that will work with ALL of your Windows programs, (e.g. E-triloquist, word processor, e-mail, web browser, ...) not just one specific software program.
The early versions of the program were focused on text phrases that are keyed and converted to speech using the computer's sound card and a standard text to speech program. A while back we added the capability of handling audio phrases as well. Our use of the term "phrase" is quite liberal. For text it ranges from one word to a novel. For audio it ranges from a single spoken word to a song.
Our thought in including audio is that as soon as speech begins to be affected by the disease, patients can record commonly used expressions in their own voice. The pre-recorded expressions in the patient's own voice can later be intermixed with phrases that are keyed and "spoken" in the computer's synthetic voice. One pre-recorded expression might be an explanation of why your voice sounds different from one statement to the next.
Audio phrases need not be the patient's own voice. They can be the voice of a family member or of a friend. Indeed, they need not be spoken. One possibility is a rendition of Happy Birthday or something of that ilk. Or a musical treat, or just plain noise, to announce that you have something profound and/or provocative to say. Hey, we had to include something for people who have already become anarthric, the fancy word for people who can't speak. Dad found that his trumpet fanfares and assorted noises were quite valuable for getting the attention of a group.
Instructions for creating and for adding recorded audio phrases hide in the E-triloquist manual under the Audio Phrases topic. The manual is included in the download and can be accessed from the "Help" menu within the program. Or, you can view the manual now.