A new video game by the Belgian-American start-up Say It Labs is looking to help children with a stutter to help improve their speech. Released last Friday to coincide with International Stuttering Awareness Day, Fluency Friends is the world's first game designed with the help of AI and speech pathology science.
Fluency Friends is a voice-controlled edutainment game for all ages 5+ (although the game is designed for anyone with a stutter) that has players helping Zumi, a famous songwriter/singer who mysteriously loses the ability to speak, by traveling to different islands, each focused on a different speech technique. These techniques will have players controlling their vocal chords, flexing their pitch range, speaking under pressure, and more. In addition, the game tracks the player's progress in gaming and speech with the help of proprietary AI-based speech recognition technology, with the option for these results to be sent to the player's doctor. "Speech and language pathologists have access to their client profiles from their own Fluency Friends login page which provides objective information about the types of motor activities that are being mastered, which ones are challenging," the game's creators explain in a news report by the Brussels Times
Based in Leuven, Belgium, Say It Labs was created in February 2019 and is a "spin-off" from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Interuniversity Microelectronics Center. Created by Lukas Latacz and Erich Reiter, the company's goal is to develop AI-based speech recognition technology in order to support people with speech disabilities. Fluency Friends marks the company's first publicly available game, made possible with the help of renowned fluency specialists who provide guidance and evidence-based research on techniques that improve speech from neurological, physiological, and linguistic levels.
You can play Fluency Friends by signing up for the beta on the Say It Labs website.