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Not How I Wanted to Spend a Saturday…



photo-2.jpgI had the pleasure of spending part of my Saturday getting my teeth drilled. I’m very grateful to have found a new dentist willing to see me on such short notice after breaking off part of my tooth and an adjacent filling last night. Not exactly how I planned to spend my weekend, but I did find a new way to use my iPhone.

Pretty early on in the procedure, after my mouth had been numbed, the dentist hit started scraping with his pick. I jumped in pain and he mentioned something about the size of the hole in my tooth.
photo2.jpgIt’s pretty tough to communicate when there are a bunch of instruments crammed in my mouth. But I had questions and wanted to explain to him what exactly hurt so he didn’t pump me full of too much novocaine. So I pulled out my iPhone to ask him about the size of the cavity and explain that the second shot of pain killer did the job.

A second dentist came in to assist. The two of them were talking about how they were going to fix my teeth and I joined in on the discussion by tapping my questions and answers in the Notes app. This image is part of the conversation.

This experience got me wondering if there’s an app that could help people with communicate when they couldn’t speak. I found an application called Proloquo2Go by AssistiveWare that does exactly that. Users can type messages or choose from pr-eformed words and phrases. The are then spoken by a selection of voices. AssistiveWare costs $149, which is very expensive for an iPhone app, but relatively cheap compared to dedicated Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately I have to go back to the dentist this week for more work and may end up using my Notes app to communicate again. Porloquo2Go is overkill for me, but I would like to find an app that can auto-complete words and phrases. Any ideas?

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  1. SAM

    08/16/2009 at 1:08 pm

    So, did he text you back with his answers?

    I could see this in a movie,
    man texts Doc,, Ouch! it hurts here
    Doc takes phone and texts back,, for how long?
    gives phone back to patient,,’
    patient texts,, not long ,, gives phone back to Doc

    and so on…

    Glad you were able to get your tooth fixed, however, your weekend bill will cost ya 3 laptops and your phone…

  2. Xavier

    08/16/2009 at 2:30 pm

    No, he spoke his answers back ;-) He is an iPhone user and did say “Hey, this is a great new use of an iPhone!”

    Maybe there’s an app idea for someone to build.

    The new dentist was kind enough not to charge me any extra weekend fees, but I still would’ve rather spent my cash on a new gadget or two instead of my teeth.

  3. double_o_don

    08/17/2009 at 10:26 am


    I had a similar “conversation” with a dentist a couple of years ago using Sticky Notes on my M1400.

    I keep the tablet with me at almost all times so that I can sneak work into the 5 minute windows wherever they appear.

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