Michael sent email saying
My friend Michelle's son Alex is autistic. We visited them on Saturday night. While Michelle and the rest of us were doing whatever, Alex was playing with an R2D2 toy.
This toy performs actions based on speech recognition.
Alex: "Hey R2" R2: affirmative beep (sounds like "Boo-Boop") Alex: "Do yamgine?" R2: negative beep (sounds like "Bee-Bawp") Alex: "Do you 'magine?" R2: negative beep Michelle: "Do you remember?" R2: affirmative beep Michelle: "Darth Vader?" R2: scared noise and shaking head and moving in circles (sounds like "wa-a-a-hoo!")
REPEAT w/o michelle for like an hour
the kid was HIGHLY motivated to say the right stuff, and kept at it.
what if there was a web framework (through flash or silverlight?) and a teacher could program in like the vocab, and a storyline (maybe somehting like tarheel reader could help create some default storylines (TANGENT: we should try to have some of your projects seed other as possible) and then the kid tries to say it, this would be for kids with speech issues.
maybe the kid's a detective, and has to go around quesitoning people, maybe at first it acknowledges bits and pieces (i.e."Hey
" "where were you?" " ?") then later it only acknowledges at the end
maybe how tolerant it is of sound deviating depends on the kid's level and their recent success rate...
I love it! This could make a very interesting student project and would take our work in a different and exciting direction.