Croatian Company Creates Device to Aid People Who Stutter

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 30th of October, 2019, this Croatian-made device is named Stuey, based on the English word ”stuttering”, and the process of patenting and protecting intellectual property is ongoing. It is estimated that more than 70 million people are tortured with this problem in the world, while that number in Croatia stands at around 70,000.

Although the exact cause for stuttering is unknown, most scientists today consider stuttering to be a neurological condition that interferes with speech production. Daily situations involving speech cause high levels of stress and tension for people who stutter, leading them to avoid social interactions, which can often cause serious mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Damir Skoko recognised that telephone calls tend to be among the most difficult situations for people who stutter, so he came up with the idea of ​​developing the electronic Stuey device two years ago in order to try to help people who stutter by trying to make telephone communication easier for them. He first researched the market and then kicked off the project.

“As an extension of the hands-free phone kit, it connects to a mobile phone and, using an innovative method, allows the stuttering person to make the desired call. I can’t speak in more detail about the specific technical characteristics of the device. It’s not some high-tech speech modification solution as many people think; the solution is actually quite simple and comes from having good knowledge about stuttering issues,” explains Damir.

To further the project, he conducted research among people who stutter, and the results, as he said, were useful.

“All of the respondents rated their stuttering as more frequent during a telephone conversation than in general. Furthermore, 89.2 percent of the respondents believe that such a phone-assisted device will reduce their stress and tension levels and increase their quality of life,” the Croatian innovator said. He is still working on all of the details, and with his team he is primarily striving to minimise the product’s dimensions.

“Over recent months, I’ve been intensively working on device development in collaboration with a young Zagreb-based electronics development company. Firstly, I’m thinking of getting the device certification for Europe and America, defining the sales channels and dealing with marketing activities,” Damir explains.

In his business, he says, he will focus on the market area of health and quality of life, and in particular on devices for assisting people who stutter. Although he is aware that competition exists in this particular area, he is convinced that there is still plenty of room for progress.

“For business success, it’s necessary to move in line with market needs and recognise opportunities in the environment, so I’m open to opportunities in other areas in addition to the issue of stuttering,” Damir added.

He is a graduate engineer with ten years of experience in projects in Croatia and abroad, but has always had ambitions for private enterprise and starting his own business. He sought opportunities and sought to further inform himself about market needs.

He received useful guidance at the Croatian ZICER Blue Office (Plavi Ured). He then received financial support that helped him get started developing the products and preparing the devices for the global market.

As he is already in contact with certain foreign organisations for stuttering persons, his desire is to present Stuey first to the largest such organisation in Europe – the British Stammering Association.

There is also a significant Stuttering Association in America, the National Stuttering Association – therefore, this Croatian entrepreneur will primarily focus on presenting and promoting the device through various worldwide stuttering associations and organisations.

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