New smartphone app lets you donate your voice
- Scientists have researched a new app developed under a programme called VocaliD for smartphone which will allow people to donate their voice to be customized into speech for those with severe speech impediments because of a stroke, Parkinson’s or cerebral palsy and unable to speak.
- Such patients were generally stuck with generic computerized voices as seen in case of physicist Stephen Hawking.
- The researchers listen to limited sounds that patients produce and shed light on person’s speech like high-pitched, raspy or breathy. A surrogate similar in age and sex will be selected to donate their voice by reading several sample sentences, sourced from books like White Fang and The Velveteen Rabbit.
- The surrogate’s voice is blended with the patient’s using a software tool called ModelTalker and stripped down into tiny units to make up speech and build a personalised voices.
- It is a slow process as surrogates must record at least 800 sentences in the studio for several hours to create a usable voice and 3,000 sentences for relatively natural sounds.
- VocaliD wants people worldwide to donate their voices for having a range of speaking styles on tap and successful be able to do the data collection via the iPhone.