Approximately 1.8 million people in the US have a difficult time speaking and being heard due to neurodegenerative diseases such as MS, ALS, Parkinson’s, and Muscular Dystrophy. Our system is a comfortable, unobtrusive throat microphone-based assistive device that focuses on the wearer's voice. Building off our 18 years of throat microphone research and development, our system empowers our users to be heard again.
Freddie Feldman, CEO of VocoLabs, has been creating throat microphones for music performance since 1998. In 2014, Feldman decided to pivot the business away from music and towards assistive devices. He led a charitable project to build custom throat microphones for a pair of twins ("The Lads”) in the UK suffering with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Feldman crowdfunded the project, raising almost $8000 to build the mics, travel to the UK, and work with the The Lads. There is more information about that project here: http://theladsproject.org.
VocoLabs recently developed a custom throat mic for an MS patient living in a nursing home in Naperville, IL. Not only does the system make it easier for someone with diminished speech capacity to be heard, but the reduced effort needed allows them to speak for much longer without fatigue.
Freddie Feldman’s grandmother had Parkinson’s Disease for 15yrs and passed away when he was a teenager. Feldman recalls, "I wish I that I could have had one of these microphones for her many years ago. I can still hear in my head, the sound of her strained whisper trying to tell me stories of her coming to this country at the turn of the 20th Century. The chats were never long enough, short-changing our connection, because it took so much effort for her to even whisper. At the end of your life with one of these diseases, you are robbed of the ability to express yourself with your loved ones."