Recent progress in communications technology has been very rapid. High-speed mobile Internet access and mobile devices have enabled the development of robust technologies such as machine translation, automated speech recognition, voice synthesis, and even speech-to-speech translation. Communication applications that support sign language recognition are also being introduced and upgraded. Nonetheless, people with speech, hearing, or mental impairment still require special communication assistance, especially for medical purposes; this makes their health and life dependent on other people. Automatic solutions for speech recognition or voice synthesis from the text are poor fits for communication in the medical domain because they are dependent on error-prone statistical models. Additionally, in emergency cases, rapid information exchange is essential. Systems dependent on manual text input are insufficient. Recently introduced systems for automatic sign language recognition are dependent on statistical models and image and gesture quality. Such systems remain in early development and are based mostly on minimal hand gestures unsuitable for medical purposes. Furthermore, Internet-dependent solutions cannot be used in most countries requiring humanitarian aid. We propose a high-speed, intuitive, Internet-free, voice-free, and text-free tool suited for emergency medical communication. Our solution is a pictogram-based communication application that provides easy communication means for individuals who are speech- or hearing-impaired, have mental health issues impairing communication, or non-natives who do not speak the local language. It provides support and clarification in communication with such people using intuitive icons and interactive symbols easy to find on a mobile device. Such pictogram-based communication can be quite effective and, ultimately, make some people's lives happier, easier, and safer. We have developed a conceptual prototype of a patient-physician communicator on a smartwatch that can be used for local as well as remote communication.
Wołk, K., Wołk, A., Marasek, K., & Glinkowski, W. (2017). Pictogram-based mobile first medical aid communicator. In Procedia Computer Science (Vol. 121, pp. 3–10). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2017.11.002