Jan 2, 2015

New Year Voice Resolution

Artificial voices have been around since the 1700s and have made much progress, but have been very limited until now. There is a new service hoping to help some of the millions of voice impaired people. A company, VocaliD has been set up to allow volunteers to donate their voice to help someone speak.

To create a voice, the company takes the shape of the vocal tract from a voice donor, and the source from a recipient, who has given something as limited as a vowel. After taking that short recording from the recipient the team selects a donor with a similar 'filter' and uses a computer algorithm to layer one over the other. The process takes about ten to fifteen hours after recordings from both donor and recipient have been completed.

It provides unique voices for those who rely on computerized devices because they are unable to speak. The technology builds on speech science theory and creates a hybrid voice that preserves the clarity of the donor’s recordings while conveying as much of the recipient’s vocal identity as possible.

Some things from the FAQ on the site - A banked voice would make it possible to re-create your voice should you ever lose it in the future. Your voice may also spark new discoveries and innovations in speech technologies, biometrics, and health diagnostics. Becoming a speech donor is simple, rewarding and even educational. All you need to record is an Internet connection, a microphone, a quiet place, and a computer or smartphone running the Chrome browser. You will be asked to read or repeat short sentences that, together, cover all the combinations of sounds that occur in the language. It takes a few hours, but you can record at your leisure and do not need to complete all at one sitting. LINK  This year I plan to be a donor and have my voice recorded to help the cause.