Science · Technology

When Technology Talks

The current scenario allows for every activity and action to be analyzed in order to provide scope for further improvement. This analysis is the result of a lot of research and can used to improve how efficient a particular action is, at the macro or the micro level. The same holds good in the field of speech synthesis – where the progress is slow, but definitely positive; this too requires intense research and study. In the United States itself, 2.5 million people are unable to speak; of this, many use communication devices that are computerized. This has been achieved through the help of technology, but isn’t lifeless – the use has made it more vibrant.

Speech Disorder – Big roadblock to a basic need

Speech disorders are responsible for the way a person uses the necessary organs to create sounds. It is this combination of sounds that aids people in forming words that are essential for communicating with others. Disorders with respect to speech can affect children and adults alike. Some voice disorders are also categorized in the category of speech disorders. If you are interested to know more about it, click here.

Speech Synthesis

Speech synthesis is human speech produced using artificial means. A speech synthesizer, which is the integrated computer system used for this purpose, can be incorporated into either of the two forms – software or hardware. This works by using concrete pieces of previously recorded speech which are stored in the form of voice notes in order to create a database – this is called synthesized speech. Its quality depends on the size of the system (in terms of stored speech units); for example, a system may provide a large output but can lack clarity.

High-quality output can be achieved using specific usage domains which store entire words and sentences. The alternative is a synthesizer that can incorporate the vocal tract modal and characteristics that are humanistic in nature in order to create an output that is completely ‘synthetic’. To have a better insight on this story, you can read more in this article.

VocalID

VocalID is a project that aims to design synthetic voices that personalized in order to aid people who have severe speech impairments – it helps them use a voice that is characteristic of them and fits their body and personality. It is a project that has been under work for many years now, and has been spearheaded and collaborated upon by Dr. Rupal Patel, her students, and Dr. Tim Bunnell (from Nemours AI DuPont Hospital for Children). This team has worked on developing algorithms in order to build voices that are unique and can assist those who cannot speak without a computerized assistance. You can read more about it in this article

The Mechanism

Creating a synthetic voice that is customized is a process that involves two parts – recording the voices and blending them. For this, it asks for the help of people – and uses social collaboration to get recordings from donors of speech, who want to help through the gift of voice. At the result of this, a vocal identity is created using blending technology which is not only understandable but authentic too. It not only eliminates the limitations of a synthesizer (such as repetitiveness) but also makes it seem more real and emotive in the process.

Technology got vocal chords

This project began in order to provide a sense of uniqueness to those who rely on devices in order to be able to create speech. While this technology is still pending patents, it builds on a scientific theory of speech to combine the voice of the recipient to that for a donor from a database of speech recordings. The end result may be a hybrid voice, but it does not allow confusion with respect to the donor’s recordings, and manages to keep the vocal identity of the recipient intact. To have a detailed understanding you can refer more about it here.