What would it be like to have no voice of your own? VoiceID technology is an amazing leap!
Some say the human voice is like the fingerprint of the soul, yet many people in the world have no voice due to medical or neurological conditions.
Luckily, a great bit of technology existed for decades called the synthetic voice, which affords voiceless folks the ability to communicate more easily with the world The world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking has been the poster boy for the original synthetic voice.
Chances are, even if you aren’t familiar with Hawking’s fame by name, you’ll probably recognize his “voice” if you listen to him talk for a few seconds. (Check out a little bit of his TED Talk, if you need a refresher on his voice or a great insight into questioning the universe.)
Giving voiceless people a better chance at verbal communication is a fabulous thing. Unfortunately, until recently, the same voice has been used by every 10-year-old girl, 75-year-old man, and anyone in between who could not speak for themselves.
Imagine being at a conference of sorts specifically for people who cannot speak! All conversations would be in a single, synthesized tone, no matter the age or gender of the speakers! It would sound surreal (and maybe a bit irritating from the voiceless person’s perspective).
The problem is made even more curious by the fact that all around us nowadays, lovely, less-robotic/more-individualized synthetic voices are becoming a part of everyday life: we’re constantly bombarded with soothing voices on our GPS systems, floor notifications in elevators, or when we’re conversing with Apple’s Siri, just to name a few.
Why should we reserve pleasant voices for such gadgets?
Rupal Patel – Aiming to Make Voices “As Unique As Fingerprints”
Researcher Rupal Patel thought that same thing about synthesized voices and their lacking quality, then went a step further. She wondered: “what if we could make synthesized voices tailored to the user? Moreover… what if we made synthesized voices that were so specific to the user… they were almost like fingerprints?” Let’s take a look at her fascinating TED talk…
Want to learn more about Rupal Patel’s VoiceID Technology
We found another video from the Huffington Post regarding the new technology that could give the Stephen Hawkings of the world a chance to sound more like themselves. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t want to play on our site… sorry about that! However we think it’s good enough to watch, so click here to jump to HuffingtonPost.com2 and check it out!
Take action and donate your voice today!
If you or someone you know is in need of a more unique synthesized voice or you just want to help in some way, learn more on the Huffington Post article Cutting-edge Tech Gives a Synthetic Voice to the Voiceless by clicking here, or learn how you can donate your own voice to someone in need in the Smithsonian Magazine’s article You Can Now Donate Your Voice to Someone Who Can’t Speak by clicking here.
Stay open, curious and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda Ulrich
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- Patel, RuPal. “Synthetic Voices, as Unique Fingerprints.” TED. TEDWomen, Dec. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. <http://www.ted.com/talks/rupal_patel_synthetic_voices_as_unique_as_fingerprints?share=14efe1b952>. ↩