Students build speech device for man with ALS - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Students build speech device for man with ALS

A group of students developed a speech device, named VisuALS, to help a man with ALS who lost his ability to speak. (Source: KFOR/CNN) A group of students developed a speech device, named VisuALS, to help a man with ALS who lost his ability to speak. (Source: KFOR/CNN)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KFOR/CNN) – Engineering and business students in Oklahoma invented a special speech device to help a man with ALS.

The man, Carl Phelps, wrote a love story after he was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, before he lost use of his hands.

This former college basketball player, a referee, golfer and superintendent suddenly was slurring his speech in 2014. By last year, he couldn't talk at all, even to his beloved wife.

He can talk to her now because of students who made a device that speaks for him.

“I wanted one but it cost over $20,000. When I saw theirs I fell for it. It brought happy tears and I begged for it,” Phelps said.

VisuALS was developed by the students at $3,000. A fraction of the cost of similar devices.

They hope to begin selling it to the public this year.

Carl is a beta tester and has been helping the students improve their invention.

“It is a huge blessing to have a way to communicate. I spoke to thousands and speaking was a major part of my life. It has given me a voice again,' Phelps said.

Copyright 2017 KFOR via CNN. All rights reserved.

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