Used to be, therapists would put your tongue through all sorts of unspeakable horrors to determine the particulars of a speech impediment — coating it in honey and charcoal powder, prodding it with a tongue-depressor, the list goes on. A new device by Rocketship, Inc. and CompleteSpeech makes it easy to see precisely what your tongue is doing, without turning your mouth into an all-out war zone.
The Palatometer projects tongue movements onto a computer screen, providing a clear visual of how you talk so that the therapy itself can proceed more efficiently. The device is made up of three parts. A palate studded in more than 100 gold-plated “contacts” records how your tongue moves and slips into your mouth like a retainer. Around your neck, a micro-processor (shown above) transmits speech data to software, which is then able to show, in a real-time computer model, how your tongue’s hitting your palate. That pops up on the screen in blue; the right way to pronounce shows up in green, so you know right away why you’re not articulating your “r’s” properly. See a demonstration here:
It might sound like a lot of tech for nothing, but it’s actually great at capturing the complexities of natural speech compared with the old tongue-coating method, which records just one sound at a time (though the Palatometer can capture isolated sounds, too). CompleteSpeech claims most patients improve significantly after 10 to 12 sessions, and some after just five or six sessions.