Imagine waking up in a hospital, not knowing how you got there or why. And what if you were unable to communicate your confusion to the doctors or nurses around you?

Voxello, which was created in 2013, aims to overcome communication barriers for high-trauma patients with limited mobility. With the “noddle” device, these patients are able to communicate their needs simply with the tap of their finger, blink of an eye, or even the click of their tongue.

These gestures are detected by sensors, which are plugged into a computer. The system sends a signal via Bluetooth to the noddle-chat tablet, which then generates speech on behalf of the patient. The noddle can also be connected to the nurse call system.

Rives Bird, CEO of Voxello, says the company’s device is novel in the market, because it is adaptable to virtually all patients. “Say a patient comes out from the (operating room)  — they need a device that is universally adaptable to what that patient can do. We just need to teach them how to use [the noddle].”

Every year, hospitals care for over 3.9 million patients with limited ability to communicate. These patients are three times more likely to experience adverse events because healthcare providers aren’t aware of their needs.

According to a study on Voxello, 52 patients have been enrolled in the United States using the noddle, and none experienced big problems. These preventions could save healthcare facilities about $6.8 billion per year in the United States, according to Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups in its publication, “The Cost of Not Addressing the Communication Barriers Faced by Hospitalized Patients.” Read the full story here.