Research Papers

Design and Evaluation of a Mechanically Driven Artificial Speech Device

[+] Author and Article Information
Tyler G. Tuttle

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Michigan State University,
428 South Shaw Ln,
East Lansing, MI 48824
e-mail: tuttlety@msu.edu

Byron D. Erath

Department of Mechanical and
Aeronautical Engineering,
Clarkson University,
8 Clarkson Ave,
Potsdam, NY 13699
e-mail: berath@clarkson.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received June 6, 2017; final manuscript received September 15, 2017; published online November 9, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Rita M. Patterson.

J. Med. Devices 12(1), 011002 (Nov 09, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: MED-17-1240; doi: 10.1115/1.4038222 History: Received June 06, 2017; Revised September 15, 2017

This paper presents the design of a mechanically driven artificial speech device to be used by laryngectomees as an affordable alternative to an electrolarynx (EL). Design objectives were based on feedback from potential end users. The device implements a mainspring powered gear train that drives a striker. The striker impacts a suspended drum-like head, producing sound. When pressed against the neck, the head transmits sound into the oral cavity, allowing the user to produce intelligible speech. The dynamics of the vibrating head and sound pressure levels (SPLs) produced at the mouth were measured to compare performance between the device and a common, commercially available EL. The results showed comparable performance and sound output.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Exploded assembly view of the ML, with corresponding parts numbered. See Table 2.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Exploded assembly view of the mechanical actuator subassembly (part 14* in Fig. 1). See Table 2.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Front, side, and isometric view of the main case (part 1), with basic dimensions in mm

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Time history of the head displacement for the first 0.1 s of runtime for the (a) ML, (b) electrolarynx on the lowest pitch and volume settings, and (c) electrolarynx on user-defined optimum settings

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

PSD of the head displacement for the (a) ML, (b) electrolarynx on the lowest pitch and volume settings, and (c) electrolarynx on the user-defined optimum settings

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Spectrogram of the ML head displacement for the first 90 s of runtime



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