Jordanian company shifts stutter therapy perspective

The Takalam Stuttering Device is pictured in this undated photo. The device uses modern technology to limit and even prevent stuttering, according to the team behind the technology. (Photo: Handout fr
The Takalam Stuttering Device is pictured in this undated photo. The device uses modern technology to limit and even prevent stuttering, according to the team behind the technology. (Photo: Handout from TakalamTech)
AMMAN – A stutter can make it difficult and embarrassing to speak in public. But a Jordanian company, TakalamTech, is using modern technology to help those suffering from stutters gain confidence and lift their voices.اضافة اعلان

“We use artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and software development to find solutions for hearing and speaking impairments. Takalam Stuttering Cure is our first product, a mobile application and wearable gadget that uses the choral effect technique and the Takalam algorithm to reduce stuttering,” Abdallah Al-Faris, the company’s CEO, said in an interview with Jordan News.

TakalamTech is a Jordan-based health-tech company that specializes in hearing and speech aid equipment and software. It uses a combination of tried-and-true technology and experimental practices to reduce stuttering. The company’s name means “you speak” in Arabic.

Faris and his partners — CTP Abdulkarim Al-Banna, COO Ghassan Sabtin, and Device Development Manager Adnan Haddad — have been developing their project for three years.
“Initially, the idea was for a graduation project for the University of Petra's Faculty of Information Technology,” he explained. “We were four persons, one of them had a stuttering problem. The idea was for a phone application that would solve the stuttering problem.”

The Takalam Stuttering Device is a tiny in-ear wearable device. When a person speaks in front of a group of people while wearing the device, their stammer reduces or disappears completely, according to the company. Faris described it as “a handheld device connected with a speaker that is worn in one ear and has no appearance.”

The device works by mimicking the chorus effect, a phenomenon in which a person’s stutter improves or even disappears when speaking or singing in unison with someone else. “We created an environment where the stutterer hears sounds that help” them to speak normally, explained Faris. The device allows the stutterer to hear their own voice, providing the illusion that another person is speaking at the same time as the user.

The company received funding from Oasis500, a seed investment company and accelerator that supports entrepreneurs in the Kingdom. 

However, Faris discussed a problem that faces many people in Jordan and the Middle East region: how to reach companies that can produce the stuttering device and how to test it. But TakalamTech offers stuttering devices at affordable prices, and they can test it easily around the world using an app, according to Faris. “Our web application emulates everything we do through our device, so we tried to fill the gap between the company and the customers.”  

 The company also offers treatment sessions and an online platform for therapists to manage their clinics and evaluate individual cases.  

Faris added that stutterers can use web app software to get a free online session with a speech-language pathologist and test software that accomplishes the same effects as the Takalam device, before deciding whether to buy it or not. “Anyone can get a free trial by scheduling an appointment with one of our pathologists to test the device's performance,” he explained.

Furthermore, TakalamTech provides more services such as Takalam Community, which is a service that collects voices stuttering in Arabic to assist speech-language pathologists evaluate their cases using automated algorithms.

“Stuttering is a lifelong problem and most of our cases are adults,” he said. “Recently, 11 devices have been distributed for free, to 11 cases that were with us from the year 2018.”

 “We are the first company in the world who uses artificial intelligence in stuttering treatment devices, and we are building a smart module that can know every case situation once it speaks,” Faris said. 

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