Anti-stuttering devices: first dive

Dear Fellows,

let me start with this — I know first-hand all the pain, suffering, and self-imposed humiliation of being a stutterer so let me cut down to the chase: There are devices that help alleviate stuttering. They seem to have a noticeable effect for some fraction of stutterers particularly on those with a severe condition. My search for such devices gave me several options that seem to have acceptable success rate: SpeakEasy ($5,000),  SmallTalk($2,500), and Fluency Enhancer ($1,600). But why are they  so expensive?

Being a scientist and a technical person (PhD and years of postdoctoral research in particle physics) I will try to answer this question: how much does it really cost to make such a device?

First things first — math: The technology behind these miracles is a so-called altered (delayed and frequency-modified) auditory feedback (aka AAF), i.e. speaker’s voice is returned into his/her ear after it goes through a delay line (typically 100 milliseconds) and a voice altering processor (pitch shift, frequency masking, etc. ). Mathematically it is a simple manipulation (FFT),  but computationally it is intensive a real time processing by a stand alone device.

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7 Responses to “Anti-stuttering devices: first dive”

  1. Lauri K. Says:

    Hi, I left a reply yesterday I thought would be touched on with some interest. For some reason, I see nothing from it. I gave some solutions for your project.

  2. Lauri K. Says:

    Hello, Sorry abut being so late with a reply. Yes, our price is now $1895, only because of our lack of public awareness . We could offer every person who stutters one for $400 if we had a partner like you who can reach out. That takes money that we do not have. What do you think?

  3. alexey Says:

    Lauri, thank you for your kind offer. I will reiterate though, I am not for money in here. The manufacturing cost of the devices (either with AAF or with DMAF) is substantially less than $400.

    See, you are approaching the problem from the revenue perspective. And from business point of view you are right – operation with small marines is a risky and tricky business.

    If this ever picks up, the cost of the device will be kept low enough to cover the manufacturing cost.

    Once again, I really appreciate your coming forward and lets talk about the real numbers, i.e. how to optimize price*number_of_users.

    Send me a number to reach you.

    Thank you,
    Alexey

  4. Lauri K. Says:

    Hello, Do you know that the problem with any DAF device that is the effect does not last. Everyone
    who has worked with a DAF device can not have any lasting effect. This means that the device is some what worthless. This is a fact. Did you know this?
    Lauri K

    • alexey Says:

      Perfectly aware, although I would not agree with your summary an attempt as “worthless”. I’d forward you to Tom for pro/con arguments.

  5. Lauri K. Says:

    Hello, Good, That is the reason for the word “somewhat” I am sure there are a few pros, but those
    pros would have to stay inside a therapist office and would not find their way to personal use. Personal use is much or more of their sales. Thank you, Lauri

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