Service Creates Custom Voices For Those Who Can’t Speak

Service Creates Custom Voices For Those Who Can’t Speak

VocaliD uses your voice to give people a unique way to express themselves.

Ross Brooks
  • 21 march 2014

People with sever speech impediments often have to rely on an artificial voice that sounds an awful lot like a robot. VocaliD wants to give those people a better way to express themselves, which is why they have started a service that lets you donate your voice.

The first step is to select a surrogate of the same sex, similar age, and who has with a voice that sounds somewhat similar to the recipient. Just like a prosthetic limb, the voice has to fit the person, otherwise it wouldn’t be much use at all.


Once selected, a donor then reads through several thousand sample sentences, sourced from classics such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and TheVelveteen Rabbit, to provide the raw material needed to construct a new voice. It takes at least 800 sentences to create a usable voice, and around 3000 for one that sounds relatively natural.

All of this raw material is then combined the recipient’s voice using a piece of software called ModelTalker. It breaks the sentences down into the smallest possible units of speech, which can then be used to construct entirely new sentences in the hands of someone with a speech impediment.


The project has only created a few personalized voices so far, but the impact is clear, as proven by one anonymous user who said:


I was almost in tears when I first heard it and I can’t express what it means to know that, whatever happens to me, I will be able to communicate with my own voice.

Now VocaliD wants people from all over the world to donate their voices so that they can build up their “voice bank”. They also has plans for an iPhone app to make the donation process easier, as well as a gamified version that would make it more fun for children to donate their voices – all of which have the power to give someone a voice they never had.

Source: New Scientist
Edmund Yeo vis Flickr


IKEA Is Letting Kids Design Its New Line Of Toys

Travel Yesterday

30-Year-Old Photographs Used As Travel Guides

A new photo series revolves around tracing the origins of images from the past

Technology Yesterday

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Health Yesterday

VR App Prescribed For Pain Relief

A pharmacy chain in Sweden is stepping away from tradition to develop a happy place for the pain-afflicted

Retail Yesterday

Banks Are Coming Together To Create A New Payment Network That Rivals Venmo

A number of financial institutions are collaborating to make a new person-to-person monetary system called Zelle for their customers

Related Expert

Kevin Fliess

Online Travel Services

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Pocket Camera Aims To Facilitate The Struggles Of Live Streams

The Mevo helps resolve the complexities of streaming video with an intuitive setup and smart editing controls

Food Yesterday

Startup Believes Traceability Will Help Disrupt The Multivitamin Industry

Ritual is a daily supplement for women that traces every ingredient back to its source

Food Yesterday

Photo Series Brutally Murders Some Of Your Favorite Fast Food

The portraits by artist duo Ilka & Franz do away with mealtime regulars in a way that is both beautiful and humorous


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

General Electric: Lighting’s Impact On Sleep Is More Than The Off Switch

Jeff Patton, General Manager of Connected Home Products at GE Lighting, uncovers how lighting technologies can affect our sleep cycles

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Mobile Yesterday

Coffeemaker Teaches You How To Make The Perfect Cup

The device comes with an accompanying app that guides novices and experts alike through the brewing process

Brand Development Yesterday

The Story Behind How LYNK & CO Created A Car Brand From Scratch

Head of Design Andreas Nilsson describes which values were most influential in determining the identity and design direction of the new auto company

Travel Yesterday

Architect’s Design Presents A Radically New Approach For New York’s Penn Station

The firm of Vishaan Chakrabarti has envisioned a bright community and travel hub in the heart of the city

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: Building An All-Encompassing Performance Suite

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats on the partnership opportunities available in health and fitness

Gaming & Play Yesterday

Fantasy Game Responds To Each Player’s Emotions

The card battling venture measures responses through a Bluetooth clip to adjust the experience accordingly

Luxury Yesterday

Carry A Map Of NYC On A Handbag

The bag from Bottega Veneta has been designed exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman to celebrate New York City

Technology Yesterday

Roaming Robots Crawl Around Your Body To Do Small Jobs As You Go About Your Day

A new concept wearable developed by researchers at MIT and Stanford are fully functional bots that live on your clothing

Retail Yesterday

Runners Are Delivering Groceries To Parisians

French supermarket Carrefour partnered with a running group for fast and memorable deliveries

No search results found.