This is Afonso Braga, 47, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2013. The disease attacks the central nervous system and causes persistent and irreversible paralysis. Already in the first year after diagnosis approval, Zé, as he prefers to be called, has lost all body movements and also sound.
He even tried to implement speech targeting applications, but most of the market options were limited to the English language, fixed dictionaries and confusing interface. With training in information technology, the miner, father of three children, painted a kind of struggle against time to develop an alternative way of communication. This is the time when WeCanSpeak has arrived.
The conversation with the reporter took place solely by the eye movements of the interviewee, who fixed on the keys of the computer screen until forming words, later becoming audio. Despite all the limitations, he says he is healthy, especially because of the skilled treatment he receives and the full support of family and friends.
The official launch of WeCanSpeak took place on the last day, in less than ten days, more than 300 Downloads. The tool can be used on computers and Tablets And is available free of charge. The paid version is offered to "more demanding users", as Ze himself is classified.
Among the basic assumptions set for application development were: to be universal; Be configurable (the user can create his own dictionary with full words and phrases that correspond to his daily life); Be simple, practical and intuitive (the user does not need to have some commands to speak simple expression); And be accessible (people with all kinds of purchasing power can access the tool).
The application even allows him to get friends at home on Thursdays for a poker game. Gambling, according to his wife, was still early in the morning. "Communication is the basis of socialization and losing this ability to socialize is perhaps the greatest pain caused by the disease," he said.