Speech disorders affect 90% of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, while only 3-4% receive treatment for this. Speech symptoms can often predate diagnosis by over a decade, highlighting the importance of speech as a biomarker for the early-detection of the disease. People with Parkinson’s often have an altered perception of one’s own voice with an inability to self-correct for loudness, prosody and speech rate due to a lack of feedback in the brain’s motor-control loop. This inability to self-correct intensifies communication difficulties, greatly diminishing social aspects of their quality of life.
Loqui is a wearable assistive technology that translates speech parameters into tactile biofeedback. The device addresses issues related to altered speech perception, volume and rate by providing biofeedback on the person's voice. The device is designed to accompany people with Parkinson’s and speech therapists through speech exercises. More importantly, it enables people to use the device independently, outside of the training environment and in real-life conversations. By improving carryover and the transfer of skills into real situations, this can greatly improve the quality of life for those living with the disease.