Can you imagine not being able to hear the sound of your child’s voice? Unfortunately, that is a reality for many parents whose children live with cerebral palsy and other speech disorders. But one company is giving a new voice to those with speech disorders. VocaliD, a Boston-based voice-technology company, is helping families communicate in a more authentic way. The company uses the voices of volunteers, including children, to build unique voices that sound more realistic than other computer-generated voices. The results, and the impact it has on one family, is astounding. Take a look.
Voices are as unique fingerprints and thanks to new speech technology, 8-year-old Leo True-Frost has finally found his.
Leo was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that prevents him from articulating words. To help him talk, the confident, gregarious second-grader uses an electronic communication device. However, the synthetic voice sounds like a robotic adult man — hardly matching Leo's youth or personality.
"It's very tough, but it's the voice that has allowed him to access the world so I love it," said Leo's mother, Cora True-Frost, who lives in Syracuse, New York. "He was initially very embarrassed and ashamed to use his talker. He would look around and didn't see anybody else speaking with a device that way."
Now researchers are developing a first-of-its-kind voice technology that captures the spirit of an individual's personality.