For people with non-standard speech — such as those who have experienced strokes, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, or developmental disorders — communicating with an AI assistant like Amazon’s Alexa isn’t quite as seamless as it is for many.
With that in mind, a speech recognition startup for atypical speech, called Voiceitt, has developed an accessibility app for iOS that improves Alexa. Here’s how it works.
Its creators note that:
“The company’s advanced automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology identifies and adapts to individuals’ unique impaired speech patterns like breathing pauses and non-verbal sounds, enabling anyone with mild to severe speech impairments to communicate and control smart devices with their own voice.”
Voiceitt has been awarded a CES 2021 Innovation Award as part of this year’s CES event. CES is this year being held virtually as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It runs today through Thursday.
“We are honored to be selected as a CES Innovation Awards Honoree and to be added to their prestigious ranks of gold standard products,” said Danny Weissberg, CEO and Co-founder of Voiceitt. “For us, this award is not only an acknowledgment of the value of our product, but also a celebration of our ability to increase the independence and quality of life for individuals with speech impairments.”
Coming soon to an App Store near you
The Voiceitt app is currently available for preorder through the App Store. It will launch January 28. The app is free to download, with in-app purchases available. It includes five free introduction phrases so users can test how will Voiceitt works with their speech. There will also be a 30 day free trial. After that, subscriptions cost $199 per year, covering 200+ ready-to-be-trained phrases, along with custom phrases and commands.
You’ll also need to have a device that runs Amazon’s Alexa voice AI, such as an Amazon Echo. Currently Voiceitt is available only for Alexa. Hopefully other voice assistants will be supported in the future as well.
Since atypical speech patterns may often be correlated with physical challenges (for instance, as is the case with Parkinson’s), an app like this could be a game-changer. For most people, being able to, for instance, operate the lights in their home via voice is a nice gimmick. For a person who has difficulty moving around, it could be transformative.