Speech Volume Meter for Disabled Student Services at California State University Long Beach
Mentor:Chuhee Kwon, Professor of Physics and Department Chair, California State University Long Beach
The Disabled Student Services (DSS) office works with students who have difficulty with monitoring proper speech volume, specifically students in the autism spectrum. They found that commercial decibel meters are costly. Also, the sophisticated numerical display showing the sound level of a source in decibels is hard to interpret and distracting. Students have difficulty in associating the numeric display with their speech level (too loud or too soft). Our objective is to create an inexpensive visual feedback device of speech volume that is appropriate and beneficial to their needs. Using LabView we created a simple program for three light indicators: too loud (red), too soft (yellow) and target volume (green). To make a handheld device, we interfaced the program with an Arduino Uno. We received approval from DSS to test the device with their students. During the testing period the results will be quantified, by recording the percentage of time that each light indicator is on. There will be two test sessions. To acquire a base line, the first time students are tested they will not have the visual feedback, but the percentages of the speech levels will be recorded. And, the second time they will have the visual feedback. The higher the percentage the green indicator light is on shows its effectiveness in helping the students monitor and control their speech volume. Testing the device with the intended student population will gave us necessary feedback to make changes so that the device better meets their needs. We anticipate finding that the visual feedback device for speech volume is effective in training DSS students to monitor their speech level.