Speech recognition technology like asking Siri a question or Alexa to turn on your lights has become a part of everyday life. Yet people with non-standard speech can have great difficulty in accessing it.
In the spring of 2021, Ace Centre began a collaboration with Voiceitt, an organisation at the forefront of making voice recognition technology more inclusive. The aim of the project was to measure the impact Voiceitt had on the people using it.
We sat down with Claire Elliott, AAC Consultant at Ace Centre, to ask her a few questions about this collaboration and the Voiceitt app.
What is Voiceitt?
Voiceitt is a speech recognition app for people with speech disabilities, disorders, or impairments. With machine learning, Voiceitt identifies and learns an individual’s unique speech patterns for phrases that have been trained.
How can Voiceitt support people with dysarthric speech?
The Voiceitt app can be used by people with dysarthric speech in two ways. The first is Conversation mode. Phrases that an individual wants to use in conversation, such as with family or ordering at a café, can be trained and then repeated clearly by Voiceitt when triggered. The second is Smart Home mode. Voiceitt integrates with Alexa and the individual can train phrases to make requests directly to Alexa for control of their environment.
How have Ace Centre collaborated with Voiceitt?
Ace Centre worked on a project with Voiceitt, funded by the NHS Health Innovation Manchester Momentum Fund. The overall goal of the project was to validate the Voiceitt technology and app, and determine the extent to which clinical training with Voiceitt can improve participation, independence and quality of life for people with poor speech intelligibility. The project aimed to comprise of 7-10 participants, recruited by Ace Centre. Participants used the app for at least three months and provided feedback.
What did the participants think about Voiceitt?
Eight people participated in the project and all had different experiences using Voiceitt. Some loved being able to control Alexa and were able to set this up for varied different functions like turning on and off lights or turning on their Xbox. Others found that the need to train phrases was limiting and they would prefer to use their speech. The Smart Home control of Alexa was the most popular.
Can you introduce Claire?
One of our participants, Claire, has really enjoyed using Voiceitt. Watch her case study video to find out what she thought and see her demonstrate how she uses it.