The STACHA is a device which enables wearers to experience the symptoms of stuttering. When a person with this disorder stutters, a distinguishing feature is an overactive usage of the muscles in the throat. This collar-like device has been developed to enable wearers to experience a realistic sensation of stuttering, by sending a faint current of electricity into the throat area, which constricts the muscles and re-creates a stuttering condition, making it difficult to properly pronounce. Because persons who have difficulty with pronunciation will tend to stammer when among larger groups of people, under consideration is a feature to have the device use voice recognition to pick up sounds and measure audio levels - thereby allowing it to, for example, apply greater stimulus to the throat in accordance with the surrounding audio levels. Also under consideration are plans to incorporate the device in educational environments.
Stuttering is a type of speech disorder in which the ability to utter speech is disrupted, preventing fluent vocalizing. Persons who suffer from these symptoms claim difficulty in communicating smoothly with others("I am unable to say my own name," "I cannot order food at a restaurant," "I cannot greet others, or make a phone call," etc.), and feel it is difficult to live a normal life. Stutterers may feel insecure or afraid of speaking to others, and are known to suffer from extremely high rates of social anxiety disorders and depression. Many adult stutterers suffer from secondary issues such as depression and social anxiety disorders, and so their difficulties can hardly be limited to a simple diagnosis of the speech impediment "stuttering."
On the basis of the experiences of concerned team members and interviews with stutterers, we have established two issues which this device will solve. The first is that by experiencing the symptoms of stuttering, we can spread awareness of this issue, thereby reducing instances of childhood bullying - which will lead to reduced insecurity and inferiority complexes, and prevent such conditions from taking hold into adult stuttering. The second is, that by having family members and people in the workplace gain a greater understanding of stuttering(adult stuttering is said to be a lifelong condition), we can help create a society that can thrive together with this condition. There is no established clear-cut treatment for stuttering, and its causes remain unknown. In other words, when a patient continues to stutter into adulthood, he or she will have to live with this condition for the remainder of their life. The goals we have set for this device are: to create a society in which stutterers become accepted, and can live normal lives, without the need to use stuttering as an escape hatch; ultimately our objective is for the world to stop recognizing stuttering as a disability, and reduce the numbers of stutterers who suffer from psychogenic issues. 1% of the total population are stutterers, and it is said that there are more than 1.2 million in Japan, 3 million in the U.S., and over 70 million worldwide. As can be understood from the aforementioned statistics, this device harbors the potential to solve many of the issues which burden many people all over the world.