Users about to lose the ability to speak with their own voice can now re-create it synthetically, in 10 languages, enabling them to keep this essential part of their identity. Learn more about it @CSUN event.
We are pleased to invite you to attend the ‘my-own-voice’ presentation which will be held during CSUN, the Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, on March 5th, 2015 at 1.30 PM, on the AssistiveWare booth #318.
A couple of months after the launch of ‘my-own-voice’, Acapela Group (acapela-group.com) is proud to say that ten users have already entered the recording process, validating day after day that ‘my-own-voice’ is on the right track.
Acapela Group, speech expert and leading innovator in speech solutions, is presenting at CSUN ‘my-own-voice’, a breakthrough service allowing users diagnosed with speech or language disorders (resulting from ALS or other conditions such as aphasia, dysarthria or apraxia) to capture the essence of their voice before losing it. This ground breaking invention will enable users to keep speaking with their own voice rather than having to use a standard anonymous synthetic voice.
‘For years we have been receiving requests from users or their relatives looking for a solution to re-create their voice and until today the only answer we could give was ‘’we are working on it’’. We are very proud today to announce that we have created a service to meet this specific, crucial need. We know that once diagnosed the user doesn’t have much time to capture the essence of their voice before losing it. Our goal was to develop the most convenient service for them to use, while ensuring that all the sounds we need to create a synthetic version of their voice could be recorded. My-own-voice is a first step for us in the field of speech impairment. We look forward to developing further innovative solutions to help improve the lives of users, ’ says Lars-Erik Larsson, CEO of Acapela Group.
Meet Eric and Garmt, the pioneers of ‘my-own-voice’
Eric and Garmt have both been diagnosed with ALS. They have decided to create their own synthetic voice and have participated as pioneers on the first ‘my-own-voice’ experiences. They have actively contributed to turn ‘my-own-voice’ concept into a real solution for many people. We have learned a lot from them and would like to thank them, their family and friends.
“Since the day I was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) disease 2 years ago, my brother Josh and I learned my voice would be rapidly declining and very soon I would be unable to speak. This would frighten anyone, but I have always been a man of many words so it was incredibly crushing to me. My brother took action and we focused on finding the best synthetic voice out there that could replicate my voice so I could ‘hear’ myself again. After trying multiple companies, we quickly learned that Acapela Group was by far the most realistic and most technologically advanced. Unfortunately, by that point, I was unable to complete the clear speaking hours necessary to create my own voice. I was depressed again.”
“Then Acapela Group suggested if my brother had a similar voice to mine that he could do the speaking and then we could deepen the voice to sound like mine! It was such a brilliant idea and turned out perfect. The voice is extremely realistic and it is by far the best product of all the companies we tried. Working with the Acapela Group’s intelligent, personable and problem-solving team was what sealed the deal for me. I would have paid anything to hear my voice again, but their reasonable cost made it all the better. We had a great overall experience and I would be happy to answer any questions you have from an unbiased customer. Thanks Acapela Group! I can hear my ‘voice’ again!”
Eric Von Schaumburg
‘The voice from Acapela is an important part of me. No, that is not a grammatical error. My voice is a part of who I am, part of my identity. ALS took that away quite fast. Within months, the synthetic voice sounded more like myself than I did. The first few samples that I played for my friends convinced me that the time investment was worth it, as they honestly thought I was speaking myself instead of artificially. Now, I use it almost exclusively to communicate. I am being taken apart by this disease but this part of me is safe.’
‘Acapela supported me in an exemplary fashion, answering every question and offering advice and support where needed. I got to know them as a trustworthy, friendly and professional company.’
‘The decision to make your own voice when you have a deadly disease to worry about is not easy. The time investment is not huge, but it does take some effort. Also, at the beginning of the disease I was reluctant to think about the fact that one day, I would need to use one. So, that is not an easy decision. I am very glad that I decided to do it and profit from it every day now.’
The recording process
To allow individuals to capture their own voice, the first challenge for our R&D team was to create an entire, whole new process to enable recordings to be made by non-professional speakers, without any help from Acapela linguists, but with the support of the user’s speech therapist. Our expert knowledge had to be harnessed to an end user approach. It has worked out well. We have already run a couple of trials with users about to lose their voice. We have created the foundation for major progress for speech impaired people and we are working on improving methodology and tools to take this vital work forward.