SBIR Phase I:Affordable stutter treatment device to prevent relapse following therapy

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1013462
Agency Tracking Number: 1013462
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-609
Small Business Information
8995 Chambers Street, Tamarac, FL, 33321
DUNS: 004458871
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Zaffer Merchant
 (954) 931-0673
Business Contact
 Zaffer Merchant
Title: PhD
Phone: (954) 931-0673
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop an affordable stutter treatment device to prevent relapse following therapy. No solution today can administer the benefits of clinical therapy in real-world situations. Altered auditory feedback (AAF) devices are the only solution available outside of clinics; but they are detached from clinical therapy. These devices suffer from four major problems: (1) prohibitively high cost of AAF devices; (2) fixed parameters that work only for one therapy technique; (3) cannot record user's voice in real world situations for analysis by a speech therapist; (4) inability to segment the user's voice from background noise. The intellectual merits of the proposed approach are that a solution is available through which clinical therapy can be administered in real-world situations, running on widely-available Bluetooth headsets thus dramatically reducing cost and bringing solution within reach of everyone. The algorithms will allow the technology to be used for clinical therapy and will also provide metronome capabilities. Stuttering is the most prevalent fluency disorder; more than three million suffer in America. AAF devices do not always provide long term improvement, are tested only in clinics and shown to help only one third of the people who use them. Clinical therapy is the only solution for long term improvement, but no device can provide it in real-world situations, today. The proposal aims to assist patients; through a solution that is designed specifically to aid in real-life environments and can be used with any clinical therapy technique. It has the potential to play a critical role in mitigating the documented problems. The primary market consists of those who stutter. The market also includes speech therapists that can use this solution to administer their therapy techniques, for more efficient and sustained long term improvement in stutter. If successful, the societal impact of this project could be significant; as there are currently no known affordable treatment devices to address stuttering.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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