At the beginning of 2016 the project was given a Scottish Government grant to explore and evaluate the real-world NHS journey from voice consultation and recording to voice delivery. This exciting development will see NHS clinicians trained to use the voicebanking technology and assess its application as part of routine clinical care.
The initial trial pilot will be rolled out through NHS services in Lothian, Fife and the Forth Valley, starting late autumn. People with communication impairments who are eligible will be invited to join the project clinical study by their local speech and language therapists.
If the pilot phase in Scotland proves successful, the team hopes to expand the project throughout the rest of the UK, taking us one step closer to achieving our goal of providing personalised digital voices, simply and efficiently for all.
To date we have recorded over 100 voices of people who may lose or are losing their speech, due to various conditions including Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and laryngeal cancer. These research participants have given us valuable feedback on samples of their synthetic voice which has allowed us to further refine our voice building technology.
Here’s what some of our participants have said:
“I much prefer it to an anonymous voice that isn’t mine”
“The voice is recognised by the family and friends who all think it is me”
“…I would far prefer to use it than the annoyingly bland off the shelf version. The voice identifies the person and to a large extent its tone expresses both personality and character so to capture this is in a synthesised version is an important development for many of us who have speech issues.
To be able to communicate in a way in which sounds like my voice and therefore all that it portrays beyond the words themselves is a huge advance. Another important step towards maintaining personal dignity in the face of severe handicap which is an essential ingredient of compassionate care in my view. ”
Watch this space for further updates on our clinical pilot.