Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Developing a voice input voice output communication aid - new paper published (open access)

Developing a voice input voice output communication aid
Some people with severe speech difficulties rely on a voice output communication aid or VOCA to help them communicate with others. Perhaps the most famous VOCA user is Professor Stephen Hawking.

Many others also rely on these devices in their everyday lives. For some however these devices might not be ideal. People who have some speech prefer to use their own voice to communicate. They will often only use a VOCA as a last resort if they are having difficult making themselves understood.

Unfortunately it can also take time to compose a message on a VOCA, often requiring the user to look at the screen, and break eye contact with their conversation partner.

We have been looking a novel way of using speech recognition to help VOCA users to compose their messages. We hope that using speech might be faster, and more intuitive way of using a VOCA.

In a paper recently published in the IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering we explain the development of a prototype system that using speech recognition to help users control their VOCA .

We are now continuing this work in the VIVOCA2 project which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) - you can find out more about this project here.  

[written by Stuart Cunningham] 

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