Old 03-07-2011, 03:51 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition software

Hello,

My name is Brendan Kennedy and I'm a reporter in the Living section of the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper.

I'm working on a story about a British man named Laurence Brewer, who has motor neurone disease. In anticipation that he may lose his speech, Mr. Brewer is using an American voice-recognition software Model Talker to preserve his voice so that he will still be able to read to his 13-month-old son in his true accent. The attraction of using this software is that, at least in theory, it reproduces your voice more accurately than other synthetic speech software.

Here's a link to a BBC video: BBC News - Motor neurone disease patient banks speech patterns

I'm looking for Canadians, particularly those in the Toronto area, who have used or are using some type of voice-recognition software to preserve their voice.

If you might be comfortable speaking to me, please send me an email or give me a call. My contact info is below.

Thanks,
Brendan
416-869-4192
bkennedy@thestar.ca

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Old 03-07-2011, 10:07 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

Brendan,

You may have more luck finding a person who would fit your needs if you look for someone who has done voice banking, rather than voice recognition. Voice recognition software allows the computer to recognize words spoken by the user and to perform certain actions that have been previously configured into the voice recognition software.

One of those actions might be to play a prerecorded audio file or to use a synthesized voice to read a prexisting text, but the audio component of the action would be played by some form of audio software, not the voice recognition software. Creation and storage of the sounds that will be played, whether through direct recording and playback or through use of a synthesized voice, is usually referred to as voice banking.

After viewing the video, I am fairly certain that Mr. Brewer is using the Model Talker software to bank his current voice for use in creating a synthetic voice that sounds something like him and can be played back by the standard Windows text-to-speech engine. I know of one person here who was working with that software -- maybe she'll see this thread and give you some first-hand information.

Hope this helped.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:12 AM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

I completed voice banking using the modeltalker software about 4 years ago and I am just now at the stage where I will have to start using aspeech synthesizer.

I live in Toronto too.

I'll email you.

I'm happy to help out on anything that will raise awareness.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:30 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

So Brendan came by my house to interview me about Modeltalker.

They got a lot of fun shots of my family.

Unlike the BBC article, Brendan included some basic facts about ALS so it should help raise awareness. The Star has a million+ readers.

Plus, I asked them to print the address of my ALS Society of Canada fundraising website.

I'll post a link to the article when it comes out.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:39 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

Good I would like to read it
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:24 AM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

This is a great idea! glad he was able to interview you, I have MANY relatives in Toronto and I know they would appreciate you writing an article about ALS because it needs to be done and often, I will be VERY INTERESTED to read the article, I will also post it to my blog so could you PLEASE tell me when it is published, thank you, and kudos to Brendan Kennedy
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:05 AM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

We have a "celebrity" by association here! The man in the BBC article/video is none other than Dani's Laurence!

Dani, L looks so good in the video- his eyes "dance" when he smiles & laughs!
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:04 PM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

Quote:
Originally Posted by mare View Post
We have a "celebrity" by association here! The man in the BBC article/video is none other than Dani's Laurence!

Dani, L looks so good in the video- his eyes "dance" when he smiles & laughs!
Has Dani or anyone else mentioned this interview before? It is a very good interview. Laurence is very composed and collected. It was picked up by a few other news agencies so it got good coverage.

It is tough to be interviewed and say what you want to say without sounding like a babbling fool. Laurence did a great job especially with such an emotional topic. I was the babbling fool. I'm glad my interview will be in print because I was jumping all over the place - Brendan had to work hard to make sense out of all of it.

Luckily I had my voice banking thread to refer back to which was very handy
Voice Banking
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:25 PM #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

<<<<<<<<<<<<<< confused who's Dani laurence ?
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:38 PM #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

Pudge, Dani posts under Danijela and she is in Bolton, England and her husband is Lawrence.
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Old 03-20-2011, 06:11 AM #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Toronto Star request - looking for people with ALS trying voice-recognition softw

@Laurel ty for your reply, if lawrence laurel is a celebrity i sadly have not heard of them, however is Lawrence has ALS he is a HERO and to me that is more special than anything.
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