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A Comparison of Communication Aids

The main fearurs of the following five systems are summarized in the table. LingraphicaPICTOCOMPicTalkPICOT on WebAIST: Pictorial Authoring Tool. The first two target at English (and French and Spanish) while the rest at Japanese. I will briefly explain the former. ( ) are reference numbers in the comparison table.

Lingraphica is a very sophisticated system to help adults with aphasia recover their languages and communicate with others. It costs (21)$7000, including (16)the hardware (14-inch iBook). Its storage of images seems to be perfect; (1)B/W pictures with minimum distinctive features are used with a coloring option, animation GIFs are used for (2)verbs and (4)prepositions, and (5)(6)(7)function words are properly included. So, it can produce (13)a fullfledged sentence. According to Dr. Steele, chif scientist of Lingraphicare, however, the present system does not dissociate (8)tense morphemes from root verbs but treats, for example,'went' as such. As for its grammatical aspects, the sentence structure is (11)linear or one-dimensional, with no hierarchical properties, and it appears to have no function to (12)check if a string of images made is grammatical or not according to the rules of the target language. Finally, I'm not sure whether a user can keep (17)his/her activity log and (18)share it with STs/doctors.

PICTOCOM uses so-called (1)pictograms, which are more abstract than those used in Lingraphica; distinctive features are emphasized, details are eliminated, animation GIFs are used for verbs, and the object is drawn in white with the black background to facilitate discernability. I understand that it is intended mainly to help people with (10)a variety of language disorder communicate with others using a string of images comparable to so-called (13)telegraphic utterances lacking function words. Thus, its image-based dictionary appears to lack (4)prepositions, (6)auxiliary verbs, (7)articles, and let alone (8)(9)bound morphemes. Like Lingraphica, its grammar is weak. (21)The cost is reasonable.

I will not go into the details of the Japanese systems. One notable property of PICOT on Web and Pictorial Authoring Tool is that they are server-side programs. The present system seems to lack a function of keeping an activity log, but it should be easily implemented. Moreover, they are offered for FREE! These are most important in the system I have in mind.

A Proposal: A Free Web Application for Aphasic Rehab Using Pictograms

(1)(2)(3) (4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)
Product NameType of PicturesVerb AdjectivePreposition/ ParticlePronounAuxiliaryArticleTense MorphemePlural Morpheme
Lingraphica (English)B/W pictures and Animation GFIFGoodGoodYesYesYesYesNo?No
PictPrint/ PictoACTION/ PICTOCOM SE(English)B/W pictures and Animation GIFs GoodGood??Yes????
PicTalk(Japanese)B/W Pictgram GoodGoodNoNoNo--Yes--
PICOT on Web(Japanese)Colored Picture OKOKNo only "I"?No--No--
AIST: Pictorial Authoring Tool (Japanese)B/W Pictgram hard to distinguish?NoNoNoNo--No--
Intended System (All Languages)B/W pictograms and Animation GIFsGoodGoodYesYesYesYesYesYes

(10)(11)(12) (13)(14)(15)(16)
Product NameLanguage DisorderSentence StructureGrammar CheckSentence LevelMain UserMain ObjectiveLocal or Server-Side
LingraphicaAdult AphasiaLinearNo?Fullfledgedthe disabled (w ST)Rehab & Comm. Aidlocal PC
PictPrint/ PictoACTION/ PICTOCOM SEVersatileLinearNo?Telegraphic?ST, the disabledRehab & Comm. Aidlocal PC
PicTalkVersatileLinearNoTelegraphicST, the disabledComm. Aid local PC
PICOT on WebVersatileLinearNo?TelegraphicChildren's AphasiaComm. AidServer
AIST: Pictorial Authoring ToolVersatileLinearBeing developed?Telegraphicthe DisabledComm. AidServer?
Intended SystemAdult AphasiaDependency GraphYESFullfledgedthe disabled (w ST)RehabServer

(17)(18)(19)(20) (21)
ProductLogLog Accesible to STAddition of Picture/SoundPortabilityCost
LingraphicaYes?Yes?YesHard? (2kg) / PDA being developed?$7000 (including iBOOK)
PictPrint/ PictoACTION/ PICTOCOM SE??Yes?$49.95 + $29.95 + $37.50
PicTalkWord Frequency onlyNoYesIf Installed on Mobile PC39900 yen
PICOT on Web? ?No?PDA being developed?Free
AIST: Pictorial Authoring Tool? ?No?NoFree
Intended SystemYesYesYesNoFREE

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