Effective Self-Expression for People with Severe Speech Disorders

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$162,725.00
Award Year:
2012
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
1R43DC012734-01
Agency Tracking Number:
R43DC012734
Solicitation Year:
2012
Solicitation Topic Code:
NIDCD
Solicitation Number:
PA11-096
Small Business Information
INVOTEK, INC.
1026 RIVERVIEW DR, ALMA, AR, -
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
956866784
Principal Investigator:
THOMAS JAKOBS
(479) 632-4166
tjakobs@invotek.org
Business Contact:
THOMAS JAKOBS
(479) 632-4166
tjakobs@invotek.org
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Speech generating devices (SGDs) offer people with difficult to understand speech (dysarthria) a synthesized speech replacement for their natural speech. However, people who require SGDs often prefer using their natural speech because it is perceived as normal and is cognitively less demanding for the speaker than other communication methods. Additionally, natural speech carries with it a sense of personal identity that synthesized speech cannot match. We propose a newgenre of communication device, named Real Talk, which augments an individual's natural speech ability instead of replacing it. We accomplish this through our unique speech recognition technology, which we developed specifically for individuals with dysarthria and that integrates tightly with our word prediction software. This combination of speech recognition and word prediction substantially reduces the typing required to produce messages. For this project we will improve our existing speech recognition system to use noise- tolerant microphones that enable accurate recognition in noisy environments. We will supplement natural dysarthric speech with a written transcript for face-to-face conversations and provide synthesized speech output for other communication environments. Individuals with dysarthria will evaluate the technology in laboratory and real-life settings and the impact of this device on communicative interactions will be measured. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The proposed device helps people to communicate effectively when they have physical disability and their speech is difficult or impossible to understand.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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