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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Coming soon: a free speech coaching app

Uploaded: Jul 13, 2023
The talent and commitment of Tri-Valley high school students continues to impress me.

They’re featured in the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership’s annual DreamMakers and RiskTakers program. Regular readers will recall that I wrote about Gatik Trivedi two weeks ago and his summer STEM program. I was connected with Gatik initially through the recognition program.

He’s a Dougherty Valley senior as are Shreyas Sambara and Neel Kondapalli. Shreyas reached out to me by email and shared what they’re doing with Speech Splendid, a no-cost app designed to supplement or replace expensive speech therapy for students as well as help any presenter improve what they’re doing. They’re currently about a month away from having it in the Apple store.

We chatted on Zoom and Neel pointed out that families with a student who needs speech therapy can face daunting bills of $100 or more per session. Their app, built around artificial intelligence, provides immediate feedback after a person talks into the camera. It’s the same for a person seeking to improve their presentation skills who receives speech coaching. They estimated they spent eight hours a week for 15 weeks to put the app together.

It's estimated that about 30% of the population has anxiety when it comes to speaking in public. This becomes a personal training device that can replace or supplement the traditional route through groups such as Toastmasters.

The app divides the data into two tracks: the facial movements and the audio components and then provides written feedback on how to improve. Given that the app is free, it invites people to use it multiple times.

They’re not charging for the app because they want to reach as many users as possible. Profit is not the goal, they said. They think the app could help their fellow high school students who are part of the speech and debate program or the model United Nations or other programs that are built around presentations. They also hope to see it utilized in middle and elementary schools to give students a head start on public speaking as well as help those needing speech therapy.

A side note: I started speaking in public as a 10-year-old 4-H member and the skills I learned have served me very well over my professional and personal life.

As you would expect, Neel (seated) and Shreyas both have ambitions in computer science at the university level. Neel started coding when he was seven and wants to work with artificial intelligence in computational biology. “His ultimate goal is to fuse data science and medical analysis to create software solutions for pathology labs,” they wrote in their press release.

Shreyas already has had his research projects supported by Stanford and MIT. He loves to write and reports for the school newspaper. His college goals include applied mathematics, data science and maybe some business courses.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Pton Resident, a resident of Foothill High School,
on Jul 17, 2023 at 10:45 am

Pton Resident is a registered user.

This is so cool. I hope it works well in helping people improve their speech.

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