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1Adam12

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Yes you can use other voices on the Dynovox :)
been waiting 2 months for my unit.
 

BarryG

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Hi Rose, sorry I missed your question about whether I had heard back from my dynavox rep. To be honest, I forgot all about it but I'll email her tomorrow about it. I was trying to see if I could move some files around to make the software find my new voice but I haven't figured it out yet. So far the only types of voices that the program will see is the Dec and the Accapela that it came with.
 

MtPockets

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Communication can be difficult, or not?

My model talker recorder, keeps saying I have too much background noise while recording.

A short break from the serious discussions, please let me add a little humor. Every old person got their depends on like me? Here goes:

WHEN I'M 100, IF I LEAN A LITTLE, LET ME!

The family wheeled Grandma out on the lawn, in her wheelchair, where the activities for her 100th birthday were taking place. Grandma had a mild stroke, couldn't speak very well, but she could write notes when she needed to communicate.

After a short time out on the lawn, Grandma started leaning off to the right, so some family members grabbed her, straightened her up, and stuffed pillows on her right. A short time later, she started leaning off to her left, so again the family grabbed her and stuffed pillows on her left. Soon she started leaning forward, so the family members again grabbed her and then tied a pillowcase a round her waist to hold her up.

A grandson, who arrived late, came up to Grandma and said, 'Hi, Grandma, you're looking good! How are they treating you?' Grandma took out her little notepad and slowly wrote a note to the nephew

'They won't let me fart.' :lol: :lol: :lol:

Grandson to the rescue.
 
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DgtofTNfan

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Thank you Rose!

A big thank you to Rose! I just spoke with the SLP @ the ALS clinic re: voice banking and she was going to provide information re: ....... the ModelTalker program. I told her we already have it downloaded and she was impressed. Having learned from you I was able to ask questions and not be overwhelmed with the information provided. I am just so thankful for your information Rose and everyone here that help us stay one step ahead of this monster. I hope to get a mic and get it downloaded and working at Dad's this weekend. Dad with a mic will be entertaining.:lol:

She also reviewed some of the augmentative communication devices available and encouraged me to look at Dynavox and Tobii to learn more about device options prior to the SLP eval. She recommended a SLP local to us that we can hopefully get in to see instead of returning to the clinic. She did inform me to plan on 4-6 weeks to get the device after it is ordered and funding confirmed. I need to get an order to get an eval scheduled so we can get the ball rolling. Good to know that Medicare will cover this @ 80%.

Thanks again.
Dana
 
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rose

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Dana,

If your dad is a member of the MDA and ALSA (both free, and extremely easy to register with, it can be done online even ~ you can do it for him) then, as a member he qualifies for a loaner communication device. It is free to him, so he will not have to expend his one time MDA grant of $2,000 toward it, or use the Medicare payment for it. If he starts out with a loaner, and he finds it difficult to use, or decides he would like something different, no money has been sunk into it. Once he's familiar with a device, and likes it, maybe you'd want to buy his own, but remember that Medicare only pays for a new one every 5 years. You could either ask the SLP to put you in contact with the reps from the MDA and ALSA. or contact them directly to find out which types of devices are currently available through both organizations. ~ they both have loaner closets, sometimes called loaner libraries. The MDA actually already has the palmtop I want to try,available right now if I want to borrow it from them, but I believe that technical support is not available for free from the MDA, but ALSA will not charge for it. I'm preparing for a move, so have put this part on hold, as a change in state of residence, will change which ALSA loaner closet I will obtain the device from.

I'm glad this thread is of help. About the Model Talker.....When you get your dad started, you might remind him that he won't be able to hear anything if he tries tapping or blowing on the microphone, that the sound goes into the computer. It probably seems obvious for those who understand the whole USB connection, but it took me a while to understand that I was not doing something wrong with the mike, and it was working.

Reassure him that he does not have to talk any louder than is comfortable. The mike does not require that he project his voice. There will be meters when he makes the test recording that show if he is loud enough, or too loud, and for enunciation, etc. If he falls outside of the parameters for any example he records, it just doesn't keep, (the little gray dots turn green when its a good recording) he just will have to try it again. Its very low pressure. No alarms go off if a person screws up LOL.
 
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rose

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Capt Al,

Thanks for the good laugh :)

If the Model Talker is telling you there is too much background sound, perhaps try adding some sound absorbing into the room. I imagine you don't keep carpeting down because of the wheelchair, but maybe put quilts on the floor for the recording session, and place pillows stacked into the window sill, as much soft stuff like this in the room will help dampen sound down. Earlier down in this thread, (post #7) rocmg even suggested putting mattresses up against the walls.
 

MtPockets

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Thanks Rose. I will try the pillow idea, hope it does not turn out like the joke. I think the noise is coming from the fams inside my computer. So if I put some pillows beside it, it might help. I need to get busy recording while my voice is strong enough.

Have a great weekend everyone.
 

rose

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Everyone who does this, take your time!

After the sample download you send to Model Talker, the next step is to record a full inventory of words and phrases. So, beginning with the full inventory, the first section of it is all about intonation, or our voice's inflection. The instructions did not seem overly clear that this is what the purpose of creating it was for, it just said to not over exaggerate, There are lots of phrases that end with a question mark or exclamation, and this is supposed to be heard in your voice when you say it. The next section is done in a monotone type voice, and you will hear the computer read the words first, then you repeat that. The monotone is much easier to record successfully. Don't get disheartened in the first section.

It can be so frustrating having to repeat the same thing over and over if there is a problem with the quality of that specific recording. Some gave me more trouble than others, some it seemed I just breezed through.

You can also look up at the toolbar on top, and find the "replay" button, so you can hear what you recorded once it has been accepted and you get the green light to proceed. I caused myself untold grief, after I'd had such trouble saying a sentence, finally got the recording to be accepted, replayed it, didn't like it, and chose to re-record it again. I really came to regret that decision :cry: But, mission accomplished eventually (again) I still don't like how it sounds, but believe me, I'm not giving it another try! Apparently one of the sounds I regularly have trouble enunciating is the hard "g". I am not aware of this when I speak, but the computer sure picks up on it!

Capt Al, if it is your computer fans making the noise, maybe the pillows (but you don't want to overheat it) or get longer cables and have someone put the cpu a nearby closet?
 

John1

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Thanks Rose. I will try the pillow idea, hope it does not turn out like the joke. I think the noise is coming from the fams inside my computer. So if I put some pillows beside it, it might help. I need to get busy recording while my voice is strong enough...
Hmm, I may have the same problem on my desktop Al. I installed extra fans for cooling when I upgraded the the CPU to a fast chip. I think I'll use my laptop which is much quieter. I hope I have not left it too late. My speech is always affected now but some days and weeks it's worse than other times.

Rose, how affected is your speech? Do you ever have to repeat yourself to be understood?
 

DgtofTNfan

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Thanks Rose for the suggestion about a loaner augmentative communication device.

I need to get a better mic this weekend to work more with the Model Talker as I can't calibrate the mic at this point so I have not got any further than that. I did notice as you said there is an investment of time in reading and recording the sentences for intonation, etc.

The end result is a "synthesized" version of your own voice. Do you like the sound of your voice through the Model Talker? I guess my question is actually how much does the synthesize voice sound like you?
Thanks again.
Dana
 

BarryG

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Computer noise

I have a Dell desktop which I use for work and it was noisy, sometimes the fans were so loud that it actually sounded like a vacuum cleaner. I tried to figure out what the problem was but it was in the BIOS and was not changeable in the BIOS settings so I downloaded and installed a free program called SpeedFan. The program allows you to control the fan speeds in your computer and it also shows you the memory and hard drive temperatures so you can tell if your fans are going fast enough for adequate cooling. Now with some experimenting with the fan speeds my computer is so quiet that I can hardly hear it.
 

MtPockets

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Cost?

What is the cost of the model talker program after everything is done. Can it be used on any computer or some special equip.

I have meters on the front of my computer case that shows me the temp and I can slow down some of the fans but not all. I have 5 fans.
 

rose

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John, my voice is more affected than my speech. I am frequently asked to repeat myself (by strangers, not as much by my family) My voice gets weaker, and even the front part of the word is louder than the back half. My voice starts to break up and disappear if the word is long. I guess my slurring (according to others) is at the 3+ glasses level of adult beverage consumption, but not to the point where its unintelligible.

Barry, thanks for the feedback about the diagnostic software for computer fans etc. This will be helpful to many people trying to make sense of how to accomplish recording. Its not like speaking is the only hurdle in getting this done!

Al, you can put your synthesized voice on any communication device which accepts voices. So, even if you had the new dynavox eye max, and had done some recordings directly into that actual dynoavox, you could still download your model talker voice into it as well. I'm not aware of any cost associated with using it, other than the cost of maybe purchasing a flash drive to put a backup copy on. The software program is free to PALS. .... don't forget about recording your laughter somewhere (this is one thing you can't put into the model talker)

Doing these recording sessions makes me aware that I apparently have consistent problems with the same tongue-lip combination, A couple of examples of single words I've had trouble saying clearly and loudly enough were "furthermore" and "n.c.o." ~ they don't seem similar, but gave me the same amount of difficulty. Ironically, the phrase "I have Lou Gehrig's disease, and I have trouble speaking" just about did me in! having to get out the "L" the "Gs" and a "D" then the "TRBL" & "S" altogether was not easy.

The key seems to be to do little bits at a time. Another problem for me, is the more I drink (any beverage LOL) or eat, the weaker my voice gets, so I've been foregoing eating, just my minimal coffee in the morning, until I give up recording for the day.

Dana, the voice synthesizer is not compiled until after all of the data is uploaded to Model Talker support. I'm a little less than 20% completed. I think that because we enter not only the language we speak, but the regional accent, that this is one of the ways the software "fills in the gaps" of what is actually put into it as recording. The sample voices they have on their website definitely sound like the person who made the recording, although they don't sound quite as human. The following is part of an email I received from their support team after I submitted the sample recording:


Now that you have completed the screening process and are beginning to record the speech from which we will build your synthetic voice, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT for you to keep a few things in mind:

1.) DO NOT change any of your audio hardware (Mic, USB interface, sound card, etc.) without checking with us.

2.) DO NOT make any changes to your recording environment. Record in the same place, in the same room, etc. Be especially mindful of the many "normal" background sounds such as fans, air conditioners, heaters, or other equipment that might be turned on/off intermittently and do not allow them to operate while you are recording.

3.) From one recording session to the next, try not to let the position of the mic with respect to your mouth and nose vary.

Consistency in the recording equipment, environment, and set up are CRUCIAL to making a high quality voice.

For development purposes, we would like to know what kind of equipment you are using for recording. We would greatly appreciate if you could reply to this message by filling out the following information.

Operating system:
Computer brand:
Computer model:
Microphone brand:
 

John1

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Once again Rose, thanks for the instructive post. I'm not sure I'll be able to reach an acceptable quality of pronounciation for MT, but I'll try.

John
 

BarryG

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Al, I went to the SpeedFan website and they claim that it can control any number of fans and temp sensors so it might help you keep the noise down. Just a word of caution that you don't want to make your computer fans run so slow and quiet that you overheat your computer.

Something else on the hardware side is that any computer geek can replace a small, noisy, fast case fan with a large, slow quiet fan. I've done it and it's not hard to do (depending on the system) and can make a huge difference in noise level.
 
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