Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Restoring Voice

PostedJanuary 28, 2018

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LEDE: Our voice is part of our identity.  A new technology aims to restore it for those who’ve lost the ability to speak.

Randy Atkins: People who can’t talk on their own, like Stephen Hawking, can use communication devices that speak for them…but in a digital voice that sounds nothing like their own.  So Rupal Patel, a speech pathologist with VocaliD, is combining her patients’ vocal sounds with recorded readings from donors to create a more personal voice.

Rupal Patel: It should sound in identity like the recipient who’s going to use the voice, but it should sound as clear as the voice donor.

Randy Atkins: She'd like to see more people donate their voices through the VocaliD website.

Rupal Patel: Whether it’s to share their voice with others, whether it’s to preserve for yourself for some other time…we encourage you to...go through that process.

Randy Atkins: Patel says that one day, this technology could also be used to give distinctive voices to our gadgets making them easier to identify.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.