Yuudee – Augmentative and Alternative Communication Portfolio
On 08 Dec 2017, the UNICEF Innovation Fund announces 6 new investments in open source technology solutions – Beijing Daokoudai is among one of six new portfolio companies to receive investment. Beijing Daokoudai’s Yuudee2 is part of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) cohort and the Fund’s first investment in a company from China.
How would you describe your solution to children?
You may have friends that you play with who are having a hard time expressing themselves verbally, or who find it challenging to bring words together to form a sentence. Unfortunately, there are limited solutions and tools out there to help children who have speech and language difficulties. Beijing Daokoudai’s Yuudee2 is an application aimed to address just that. It is designed to encourage children with difficulties in speech, or language expression to interact on various designed digital scenarios in order to practice completing sentences and help guide them in building words together with ease. So… Imagine Yuudee2 as a place where you can find best and sincere friends for you. Play together with them on your phone! You can use your own way to know each other, explore and discover what they are eating and playing, try to talk with them.
How would you describe it, if your audience comprised of subject matter experts and investors?
In closer detail, Beijing Daokoudai is developing Yuudee2, an application designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or with language disorders. It can be used to train and improve children’s ability to use complete sentences to express their language. Users of the product include children, parents, and trainers. These products are not so common in China at present, and we want to be the pathfinder and industry leader within this space.
What is unique about your solution and how is it different from what currently exists?
Yuudee2 focuses on sentence organization training using carefully chosen life and learning scenarios and interaction design. In addition, we provide a distinctive training roadmap: VB-MAPP based assessment, training courses matching training results, training effect tracking and evaluation.
Why does being open-source make your solution better?
Having an open source system allows people anywhere around the world to provide input and participate in the development of the product’s design and functionalities. We want to be open source so that there will be more people working on improving this product, creating product extensions, and developing new solutions for autistic children and children with language disorder.
How did you come up with your solution and what inspired you to form your company?
Over the past 6 years, the main members of our team have been engaged in the research work of autistic children. Through ADIR and ADOS evaluation of more than 2000 autistic children, we found that most autistic children and children with language disabilities face challenges to express themselves. We also found that AAC products can effectively help autistic children’s expression. Thus, Yuudee2 is being built to be able to assist children with autism express themselves through complex syntax and sentence structure.
How did your team come together? What is your team’s MO and drive towards the problem you’re trying to solve?
Our team members have come from the technology, Internet, and education industries. But most importantly, we all have a special interest and passion in addressing the gaps in special education. Yudee 2 is a representation of combining our skills and experiences with our passion in providing better tools for children with disabilities These is our mandate and the driving force for us to face all kinds of challenges as a company.
What do you plan on doing with UNICEF’s Innovation Fund investment and how will you use that to leverage raising follow-on investment?
UNICEF’s Innovation Fund investment will support the design and development of the main functions of our product. Over the course of the 12 month investment period, Beijing Daokoudai intends to enable children to communicate using sentence structures in everyday life. We aim to have over over 2,000 users and to measure the positive impact on children’s ability to communicate.
Photo Credits | Top: © UNICEF/UNI164539/Liu | In Article: © UNICEF Innovation