The advent of synthetic voices has had an incredible impact on the speech-impaired community, giving those with communication loss access to a voice. However, the options available have tended to be limited, potentially stifling a user’s sense of individuality. In response to this, students within the NYU Steinhardt Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) are holding a voice drive to help individuals with speech loss reclaim ownership of their voices.
To participate in the drive, donors submit recordings of their own voices to a “Human Voicebank” to be potentially matched with a recipient who shares similar vocal characteristics. Once a match is made, the donor’s recordings are blended with 2-3 second samples of the recipient’s voice to create a synthetic voice that maintains the vocal quality and identity of the individual with communication loss.
The drive is being held in collaboration with VocaliD, a company that was founded by a speech-language pathologist to create custom digital voices.
The voice drive will run through June 21. To contribute your voice to VocaliD’s Human Voicebank, email firstname.lastname@example.org.