Arlyn Edelstein

Arlyn Edelstein, of Johnstown, poses with Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, the Penn State graduate who invented Vive, a voice-augmentation concept that gives Edelstein the ability to speak. A poet, Edelstein will recite her original work using the pioneering system at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Happy Valley LaunchBox, 224 S. Allen St. in State College.

A Johnstown poet will soon have her voice heard.

Arlyn Edelstein, whose nonverbal cerebral palsy has deeply influenced her work, will speak at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Happy Valley LaunchBox, 224 S. Allen St. in State College, where she will recite poems using the newly patented, motion-activated, augmented personal speech assistant invented by Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, a recent Penn State University biomedical engineering graduate. 

Edelstein, whose theme is “My Voice, My Power,”will recite her original work using the pioneering Vive system. 

Normally unable to speak, she constructs words, sentences and phrases through the interconnected use of a special earpiece, a pressure-activated pedal and the Vive editing software. Her use of the foot pedal acts like a pen or keyboard.  

After she has selected her words, they are amplified and read aloud through a Bluetooth-linked speaker.

The vocabulary, stored in the small control unit’s memory, is easily expandable and culturally adaptable through the Vive editing software. 

Edelstein has been collaborating with Project Vive since July in preparation for the event.

“I can’t believe it,” Edelstein said via Voz Box. “I have been hoping to do this all my life.”

McCulloch, who developed the Vive voice-augmentation concept while a volunteer for children with nonverbal cerebral palsy in Ecuador, will demonstrate one of her team’s adaptive communications devices that’s being developed for worldwide mass markets.

“Arlyn’s poetry, that reflects on nature and her life with cerebral palsy, has inspired us as a team and showed us the life-changing potential of the Voz Box,” she said.

The invention has won wide acclaim and is among the featured small businesses at the Penn State LaunchBox accelerator.

Live music will be performed by Isaac Moyer and refreshments will be served.

The event is open to the public.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.