Empowering individuals with ALS to create their own synthetic voice within minutes
Tobii Dynavox , the world leader in assistive technology for communication, announces that it releases a new voice banking integration within its speech-generating software TD Talk , available immediately. Using Acapela Group’s solution My Own Voice , people with conditions such as ALS can easily capture their own unique voice, to create a personalized synthetic voice and use it directly in TD Talk.
For individuals diagnosed with ALS or other conditions resulting in speech impairments, capturing their own voice before losing it is a crucial step in preserving their identity. Until now, the option to create a synthetic voice, called “voice banking”, often became available too late in the process as it was highly dependent on using eye gaze devices, that are prescribed once individuals have already started losing their voice. In addition, people having banked their voice often had to wait for a long time for prescription of an eye gaze device, despite having already lost their voice for several months.
As TD Talk can be downloaded and accessed via both touch and eye gaze on tablets, those diagnosed with a condition resulting in loss of voice, can capture their own voice as soon as the condition is diagnosed. Only 50 phrases are needed to secure that the unique voice identity is banked, which can usually be done in less than 30 minutes. Once the voice is captured, it is used to easily create your own synthetic voice with an integrated synthetic voice solution, from Tobii Dynavox’s independent subsidiary Acapela Group or other providers. The integrated voice banking capability is currently available in nearly 20 languages.
“With the new voice banking integration, we want to help the many people diagnosed with a condition resulting in loss of voice, who wish to capture their voice in time, before losing it,” said Markus Cederlund, Chief Product Officer at Tobii Dynavox. “By making it possible for more people to preserve their voice and sense of identity through serious conditions, we believe that we can contribute significantly to their quality of life.”
About ALS and communication aids
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an acquired neurological disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It progressively impacts a person’s ability to walk, use their hands, talk, eat, and eventually breathe. After an individual develops trouble speaking, it becomes more severe with time until speech becomes difficult for others to understand. Approximately 1 in 50,000 worldwide develop ALS per year, mostly between the ages of 40 and 70.
Communication aids often play a vital role in the lives of people with ALS and other conditions where the voice is lost, as they allow people to use their eyes or hands to make their voices heard and communicate. The speech-generating software TD Talk, with integrated voice banking comes pre-loaded on TD Pilot , Tobii Dynavox’s iPad-based communication aid that can be controlled with the eyes and hands.