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Disabled Boy Invents Speech Machine

Anglia TV report on the young disabled entrepreneur that has invented the Lightwriter, a communication device that won a British Design Award

News 1973 5 mins Not rated


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Aged just 21, Toby Churchill became disabled and lost his speech after contracting encephalitis while swimming in a polluted river. Frustrated with the basic communication aids then available for people who cannot speak (the traditional method was the alphabet card), he designed the Lightwriter – a portable typewriter which instead of typing on paper, typed the message on a display.

In 1969 the Lightwriter won a British Design Award aswell as a number of international awards. In 1973, the company Toby Churchill Ltd was set up to manufacture the Lightwriter and make it available to other people with similar needs.