We’ve talked a lot about how great the Tobii is and how phenomenal it is to hear her thoughts. The thing that we don’t really talk about is the limiting nature of it as well. The amount of words she has access to is limited to the amount of time we have to program it.
Currently she has access to a vocabulary of about 250 words. She knows well over 10,000 I’d imagine. It’s not fair to her, but finding the time to program every night is simply impossible. And with over 100 pages to keep updating, it’s daunting. I realized today that she has no way of saying “I’m 5 years old.” She can only say “I’m 4 years old” because that’s how it’s programmed and I haven’t even thought to open that page to address it since well before her 5th birthday over 2 and a half months ago. There are songs she can select she hasn’t sung in a year, foods she no longer eats. The initial setup took about 2 months. The maintenance is forever.
And it’s Windows based! Everything runs slow, takes too long to load, and simply isn’t that intuitive.
It’s frustratingly tedious to program the machine, but it’s even more frustrating for her to be unable to use her words. I hope there will be an easier automation tool in the next version, or maybe she’ll get so frustrated she’ll start programming it herself. Now that would truly be phenomenal. But until then, I’m left with her needing to outsmart me and the machine:
You. “Can’t”. Understand. All.