Motivation and Development Process

Motivation for Development

The initiator of the project, Hajime Takano, is a patient suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Diagnosed in early 2013, he has become a severe case requiring 24-hour care, having undergone a tracheostomy in 2017 and losing the ability to communicate verbally.

Despite these challenges, Takano expressed a strong desire to maintain social connections, continue communication, and particularly engage in presentations. He explored various methods to achieve this.

While there are numerous assistive devices for individuals with severe disabilities, Takano managed to create an environment for gaze input, enabling him to use a computer almost effortlessly. This allowed him to operate PowerPoint presentations and speak using text-to-speech functionality.

However, there was no existing solution that could simultaneously handle both tasks.

To address this challenge, HeartyPresenter was developed.

Development Process

As Takano’s speech impairment progressed, making it difficult for him to speak in public by the spring of 2015, he began using computer-generated speech for communication. This led to the idea that if he could communicate, he could also present using the same technology.

The conceptualization phase began around the summer of 2017. Following this, the development team was assembled, and work commenced in December of the same year.

The alpha version was completed in early February, and between the end of February and the end of March, it was tested in four presentations. Insights gained from these trials were incorporated into the development of the beta version.

This website is operational to provide users with the opportunity to try out the beta version during its development, with the aim of receiving valuable feedback.

Once user feedback on the beta version has been considered, the plan is to release the official version.