MADRID, SPAIN — Cheil Worldwide España and Samsung have launched a new app which allows Spanish-speaking ALS patients to not only keep communicating with their families, friends, and carers but to also control utilities in their homes, such as lights and TV.
Tallk is a free app that turns any camera on a Samsung smartphone or tablet into an eye movement tracker with the ability to turn tiny pupil gestures into words and actions, allowing people who are physically incapable of speaking or moving to keep communicating with their family and friends and control IoT connected utilities and devices. It has been designed particularly for people who have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as motor neurone disease, and have lost the power to speak and move even though they retain their mental abilities.
Uniquely, the Tallk app interfaces with Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, meaning the user can also operate smart-enabled devices with their eyes – turning on lights, adjusting the air conditioning, or changing channels on the TV, for example.
Although eye-tracking technology enabling text communication on its own is not new, the cost of the devices currently available for Spanish language ALS patients is around €6,000, making them inaccessible to most since the average income in Spain is only €23,000. The aim of Samsung’s Tallk app is to democratise communication and independence.
Tallk is the product of Samsung’s Technology With A Purpose platform and was developed by Cheil Worldwide España in collaboration with Fundación Luzón, Spain’s leading ALS charity, and Irisbond, a hardware company specialising in eye movement tracking, which is based in San Sebastián.
Alfonso Fernández, Marketing Director & Digital Transformations at Samsung Spain, said: “We believe that this is great news for patients with this terrible disease as it allows universal access to this type of software, giving voice to those who suffer from it and thus making their day-to-day more bearable.
“At Samsung, we seek to create innovative initiatives and solutions that contribute to improving people’s quality of life. Tallk is part of our ‘Technology with a Purpose’ programme focused on finding ways to improve people’s lives in the areas of education and culture; employability and entrepreneurship; and wellness and accessibility. In this case, our main objective is to improve the wellbeing of ALS patients and this application will allow them to communicate and live a more independent life.”
Alejandro Di Trolio, Executive Creative Director at Cheil, said: “Samsung Tallk represents a new way of using the full power of creativity and technology to bring solutions to people’s daily lives. With Tallk, a patient with ALS will not only be able to access an eye-tracking communication technology for free they will also be able to have autonomy thanks to the connectivity of Samsung’s SmartThings IoT technology, which unlocks the power of interaction with the world that surrounds them.”
ALS is a degenerative disease that affects voluntary muscle movements that control actions such as chewing and walking. While its progress varies from person to person, the typical pattern sees patients experiencing muscle spasms and involuntary movements in the early stage, with the middle stage characterised by muscle weakness and increasing difficulty doing activities like walking or swallowing. By the final stage, all voluntary muscles become paralyzed, robbing a person of their ability to speak and eat, and causing breathing problems. Life expectancy from diagnosis to death is currently around three to five years.
Executive Creative Director: Alejandro Di Trolio
Creative Directors: Jaime Azurmendi, Sergio Villarrubia
Art Directors: Alvaro Martinez, María Benitez, Estanislao Bollain, Irene SanJosé
Copywriters: Miriam Alonso, Teresa López
Account Directors: Gracia Calabia
Agency Producer: Irisbond, Somos 5
Photographer: Somos 5
Director/ Production: Co Angélica Roma