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  • Image showing the main interface of the application with the phrase my phone number is in the text box
  • Image showing the phrase good morning in full screen mode
  • Image showing the main interface with the keyboard category containing a simple keyboard
  • Image showing the categories editing menu
  • Image showing the phrase editing menu
  • Image showing the pop-up window that allows you to modify the phrase in the text box

What does it consist of:

AAC Voice Assistant is an augmentative and alternative communication app that converts text to speech. It is primarily designed to make it easier for people with communication difficulties to interact with others.

The application is made up of different predetermined phrases grouped by categories depending on their theme (The application allows you to create new personalized phrases and categories). When pressing one of these phrases, the selected text is shown on the screen and its content is reproduced via audio. As these phrases are selected, they are chained on the screen and are reproduced by voice synthesis, thus giving the user the possibility of establishing conversations with the people around him.

It should be noted that, despite its name, it is not an application that fits the usual definition of a voice assistant in which voice commands are entered to carry out different tasks, such as Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. What this application does is play the selected messages by audio.

It is a paid app in its iOS version and in the Android version it has a free version and a paid version that adds extra features. It's compatible with smartphones y tablets.

 

Forms of Acquisition:

The application can be downloaded for free from the Android Play Store and from the iOS App Store in its paid version.

Download the Android version at the following link:

Image from Google Play. Tapping it opens a new app window in the Play Store.

Download the iOS version at the following link:

Image from App Store. Tapping it opens a new app window in the App Store.

The free version of Android allows you to upgrade to the full version for €7,49 and adds the following features:

  • Create 100 categories instead of 8 and 250 phrases per category instead of 50, with backup and restore option.
  • Choose different colors for the phrase buttons, choose another color scheme or create your own, and change the color and order of the action buttons.
  • Give a label on the buttons with phrases.
  • Option to highlight spoken words (works with Google Voices and Android 8 or newer).
  • Button to rotate the text and show the message to the person in front of you.
  • Possibility to define pronunciation corrections.
  • Create profiles for different situations, settings or people.

The iOS version costs €19,99 and offers some additional features that the paid version of Android does not have, such as the option to use symbols in the text buttons or the possibility of recording audio to play it when selecting the text you are in. associated.

The developer's contact email is as follows: android@asoft.nl

In addition, this application has a web page where you can obtain more information about it, as well as access manuals for its different versions (Both the page and the manuals are only available in English): https://www.asoft.nl

 

Technical verification:

Author: Daniel Guillermo Alonso

Date: February 2022

In this analysis we have used version 5.7.9.1 of AAC Voice Assistant in its free version of Android, with an update date of December 15, 2021.

User interface

As soon as we open the application we find the interface shown below:

Image showing the main interface of the application. Label number 1 is at the top of the screen and refers to the text box, label 2 is just below the text box on the left and refers to the categories, label 3 is below the categories and refers to the phrases and the 4 is to the right of the categories and also below the text box and refers to the menu options

At the top of the screen we find the text box (label 1 in the image above), in which the text of the selected message is displayed. If we press it, a screen keyboard will be displayed to be able to manually add the text we want.

The gray boxes (label 2 in the image above) represent the categories in which the phrases are stored, which are found in the white boxes (label 3 in the image above). In the free version that we are analyzing we can create a maximum of 8 categories with up to 50 phrases for each one.

To the right of the categories (label 4 in the image above) there are different action buttons, whose function is detailed below:

Image showing the audio playback icon Plays the text in the text box by audio.

Image showing delete text icon Deletes the content of the text box. If we have the undo delete option activated (it can be activated in general settings), pressing the undo icon Image showing the undo icon we can recover the deleted text.

Image showing the delete icon for the last word in the text box Delete the last word of the text box.

Image showing the full screen icon Shows the message in the text box in full screen.

Image showing the phrase good morning in full screen mode

At the bottom of the screen we see several symbols whose functions are: playing an attention sound Image showing attention sound play icon, speech volume Image showing speech volume icon, share sentence Image showing the phrase share icon and exit full screen mode Image showing the icon to exit full screen mode.

Image showing the add phrase icon Pressing this button opens the following window:

Image showing the pop-up window that allows you to modify the phrase in the text box

Here we can save a new phrase, add a label to it, select the category in which we want the phrase to be stored, choose the position within the category in which we prefer it to be placed and configure the color of the button in which the phrase will be contained. sentence. Both the labels and the choice of color are exclusive features of the full paid version.

Image showing edit phrase icon  It allows us to modify the content of the last selected phrase or delete it.

Image showing attention sound play icon Plays an attention sound. We can change this sound in the category and phrase settings.

Image showing the phrase share icon It allows you to copy the message, send it by email and share it on social networks.

Image showing rotate text icon Rotate the text to show the message to the person in front of us. This button is only available in the paid version.

Image showing the settings icon Open the settings menu. The different settings options that we find are the following:

  • General settings: Here we can activate the options to update to the full version, to undo to recover the deleted message (undo delete option), to automatically delete the message after playing it by audio (automatic delete option), to show the phrases directly in full screen after touch a button with a phrase (direct show option), autocomplete, exit confirmation when you try to exit the application (confirm exit option), avoid double tapping the phrase by setting a button deactivation time once pressed (option avoid double tapping) and to change the language in the menus and action buttons (option application language). Within these settings are also the keyboard settings, in which we can configure shortcuts and navigation options to use an external keyboard connected by USB or Bluetooth, activate the option to hide the on-screen keyboard when touching the text box and the option to make the “Enter” key appear on the keyboard instead of the “OK” key when typing text. Finally, we can consult information about the application and the version that we are using. If we press the feedback button in the information section or select the option of email feedback or questions, we can contact the developer via email.
  • Design and color: In this section we can adjust the size of the screen; of the texts of phrases, categories and of the screen; of the phrase and category buttons and the category border. We can also configure here some of the exclusive options of the paid version, such as the activation of the rotated text box, the color settings (selection of color scheme with the possibility of creating a personalized one and the possibility of activating the dark theme). ), customization settings for action buttons, and the option to hide system bars.
  • Profiles: We can create different profiles for different situations. In them we can have different settings and different categories and phrases configured. This functionality is only available in its full paid version.
  • Categories and phrases: Here we can modify, add or delete categories and phrases.

            Image showing the categories editing menuImage showing the phrase editing menu

            

Pressing the icon Image showing add category or phrase icon we can add a new category or phrase, with Image showing delete category or phrase icon we remove it and Image showing edit category or phrase icon we edit it The use of Image showing the phrase buttons change color icon it is exclusive to the paid version, and it allows us to change the color of the phrase buttons.

In the keyboard category section we can create a category that contains a simple keyboard instead of phrases. We can modify this keyboard its position, the characters it contains and its size, put the letter in bold, make each character be pronounced as it is written and make the word speak after writing a space.

Image showing the main interface with the keyboard category containing a simple keyboard

In these settings we can activate other options such as ordering the phrases alphabetically, editing a phrase by long pressing the button it is on and saving the current phrase.

Here we can also backup and restore the categories and phrases from the copy (These options are only available in the paid version).

  • speech and sound: In this section we can configure the voice synthesis settings, which are the following: voice synthesis engine, which takes us out of the application to configure the synthesis settings of our device; voice language, which allows us to select from a wide variety of languages ​​for the voice that pronounces the phrases; voices, which depending on the voice language that we select, downloads several voices in that language to choose the one we like the most; the option to activate a pause between words when speaking them (does not work with all voices) and the option to stop speaking if the speak button is pressed again. In the sound settings we can select an attention sound that will be the one that sounds when we press the bell icon Image showing attention sound play icon and change the volume of the speech, as well as its speed and pitch. In the paid full version we have the following additional settings: speaking characters while typing, speaking the word after typing a space, highlighting spoken words (Only works with Google Synthesis of Speech voices), pronunciation corrections and the option for the phrase to be spoken automatically in full screen after a previously selected time.
  • information and update: Section in which we can see information about the application, as well as send an email to the developers if we press the feedback button. If we select "More information" we can upgrade to the paid version.
  • talk straight: If this option is activated, after selecting a phrase it will be pronounced immediately.
  • Direct Talk/Erase: When you select a phrase, the phrase will be played immediately and then deleted from the text box.
  • show direct: After selecting a phrase, it will be automatically displayed in full screen if this option is activated.

 

Technical performance

Reliability

The application, in the version used both for smartphone as if to tablets Android has not given any unexpected failure during the analysis.

Consumption

During the review period, the app has shown quite low battery consumption. The data consumption is practically nil, and it will only be needed at the moment in which the voice language is changed to download the different voices available for the selected language.

Versatility and compatibility

AAC voice assistant is a cross-platform application that we can access:

  • Through your application smartphone o tablets with Android OS version 5.0 or later.
  • Through iPhone or iPod touch mobiles with a version of iOS 10.0 or later.
  • Via iPad with a version of iPadOS 10.0 or later.
  • Via Mac computers with an Apple M1 chip and running macOS 11.0 or later.

Security and privacy

As indicated on the web page of the application https://www.asoft.nl (in English), it does not collect data, thus guaranteeing the privacy of the conversations.

 

Affordability

This application has been developed for people who, due to their physical or cognitive characteristics, have difficulties communicating with others, such as people who, due to motor difficulties, have problems speaking and making hand gestures to communicate through language. of signs.

The application fulfills its mission, providing a useful and easy-to-use tool, which contains numerous customization options that allow it to adapt to the most specific communication needs of each person.

Noteworthy is the option to activate navigation with an external keyboard, which provides a greater degree of accessibility for people who have difficulties using the touch screen.

 

Conclusions

AAC Voice Assistant has proven to be a useful, robust and easy to use application.

Although it is not the most complete augmentative and alternative communication system on the market, the functionalities it offers effectively cover the needs that people with communication difficulties may have.

Highlights

  • Simplicity: As soon as you access the application, the main interface of the application is displayed, in which its basic operation can be understood at a glance.
  • Personalization: There are a wide variety of options to have the most personalized experience possible, such as the choice of colors for the interface, the size of the letters of the texts, choosing a voice among the available languages, using an external keyboard to write and a long etc.
  • Price (Android version): For Android devices there is a free version that offers a large number of features. The paid version is affordable and adds some additional options that can be useful.  

Improvement points

  • It would be appreciated if the Android version of the application, at least in its full version, had some features that only the iOS version includes, such as the possibility of adding images to the phrase buttons and the possibility of assigning audio recordings to the phrases own.
  • At least one trial version of the application is missing in its iOS version, so that users can assess whether they want to purchase it.

 

  • Design and manufacturing: 4 5 on.
    4
    This section refers to the physical aspects and details of the manufacturing of the technological product
  • User experience: 4 5 on.
    4
    This criterion is linked to the user's assessment when relating to the technical product or application.
  • Technical benefits: 4 5 on.
    4
    Description of the quality of the technical specifications of the technological solution
  • Accessibility: 4 5 on.
    4
    It is the degree to which people can use or access a product, technological solution or service, regardless of their technical, cognitive or physical abilities

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