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Wednesday, 04 April 2012 13:42

Patent troll hits iPad app which helps mute kids speak

Written by Nick Farrell



Dark sides of medicine revealed


IT companies which make equipment for medical purposes are onto a nice little earner, often charging a small fortune for some fairly primitive gear which goes ping.

When Speak For Yourself appeared in Apple's App Store it provided a way of helping mute kids learn how to speak. The software was as cheap as chips. However that appears to have miffed an outfit which makes specialist
talking tablet computers for speech-disabled children for ten times the price.

Patent holder Semantic Compaction Systems (SCS), began legal action against startup Speak For Yourself in February over its iPad app. The iPad app was designed by two speech therapists last year, but Prentke says a dynamic keyboard of symbols and the ability to redefine these keys have been patented.

That has miffed New York blogger Dana Nieder who bought a copy of the Speak For Yourself app; she has described how her three-year-old daughter, who has a speech impairment. She could not use Prentke's tablets because they were  too big for the kid to hold. Speak For Yourself's $299 app is much cheaper than the Prentke devices, which start at $2,595 but tend to cost over $7,000.

Nick Farrell

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