The electrolarynx is the most widely used device for speaking without vocal cords. However, its use is not very elegant, therefore I built a prototype of an electronic larynx. The electronic larynx can improve the life of laryngectomy patients. 

Operation of the electronic larynx

The electronic larynx is a miniature speaker, invisible hidden in the mouth, that produce the sound that is normally produced by the vocal cords. In this way, a person can speak by articulating as usual without producing a sound themselves. 

Invisible electronic larynx

Electronic larynx with wireless control

Electronic larynx parts
Electronic larynx parts

The electronic larynx contains a small phone speaker, amplifier, bluetooth module and a battery. In my simple prototype, the sound is coming from the smartphone, where it is stored, and than sent to the electronic larynx via bluetooth. The prototype works 30 minutes on a battery. When using more devices, one can quickly exchange in case of an empty battery. 

There was a patent on an identical device granted in 1994, which has now expired: https://www.google.com/patents/US5326349. However, this patent has not been exploited. The patent describes the operation of the electronic larynx in detail.

Suitable sounds

Extensive study needs to be done on which sounds are best suited. To get an idea, I've posted some samples of vocal cord sounds on Github.

FAQ

  • Where is the electronic larynx located in the mouth?
    I have put it on the tongue, I have not inventoried other possibilities
  • What is the frequency range?
    I have not measured this, but smartphone speakers can, as you know, satisfactorily reproduce music and speech.

Future improvements

  • The voice of the patient before the laryngectomy can be recorded so that the voice is retained.
  • The intonation and volume can be controlled inconspicuously.
  • The prototype dimensions are 28 x 21 x 10mm and can be made smaller.
  • The acoustics in the oral cavity can be measured and serve as input for computer controlled voice control.

Who is interested?

The electronic larynx can be improved even further. I am looking for a university that could take this up. I have no commercial interests. A prototype is available for free.

Do you have any comments about the website? Please let me know.