Monday, March 15, 2010

Interesting Text-To-Speech options

I guess this would have been more of a post about 2 weeks ago, when I saw it before a lot of people had written about it, before Oprah talked about, etc... but I still wanted to write about it!

As you know Roger Ebert of Siskel & Ebert, Ebert & Roeper, & the Chicago Suntimes is no longer able to speak.  This had to have been an extremely difficult thing for him considering he spoke for a living.  Recently a company from Scotland has given him back his voice.  Ebert admits that he could have used a device to talk for him, but he always felt strange because it was not his voice.  I guess I can understand that, I think I would have a hard time using a device if it didn't sound like me.  So, this company in Scotland, CereProc, took hours of Ebert talking on his show, digitized it, and created a voice for him.  many of the words we use over and over each day, about 2000, and the ones it didn't have recordings of they are abel to piece together from other syllables.  It's really an amazing technology when you think about it!  Here's a link to original aritcle - Text-To-Speech Program to give Roger Ebert his voice back

I realize that this type of program is not practical for students who are recommended for AAC and TTS.  Many of them have no voice to start with, and we are trying to give them a voice.  I think development has more of a global nature.  This type of product development will trickle down and make computerized voices much more understandable and real sounding.  It's going to take some time, but it will happen.  For those people who have recorded large amounts of themselves, this has to be a great option for them.  For me, I can't wait to see what else may come of it!


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