One of the most popular new technologies is voice activation. Smart speakers such as Alexa and Siri allow users to perform everyday tasks simply by speaking to them, and this feature will only become more common. For those with severe speech impediments and disabilities, however, this type of technology has been inaccessible – until a pioneering Israeli company intervened.
Smart speakers are compact speaker devices that connect to the internet and can be activated via voice commands – mimicking a conversation between the user and the device itself. Common functions are the ability to play music or set timers, but more advanced versions can act as virtual home assistants.
This means they can manage more complex tasks such as changing light and temperature settings, opening and closing windows and doors, and ordering food deliveries. All of these would be of particular value to those who are disabled, helping them to live more independently. Those with speech impairments would not be able to benefit from this though, which is why Voiceitt was launched.
Voiceitt is an app that integrates with smart speakers such as Alexa, enabling these programmes to recognise uncommon speech patterns. The user repeats several key words and phrases multiple times, allowing Voiceitt to recognise the way that individual speaks. Next, it uses artificial intelligence to build a complete speech model so that it can recognise a much broader range of words and instructions. The more time the user spends providing information – such as repeating a specific phrase for a few minutes – the better Voiceitt will become at understanding ever more complex speech patterns.
The start-up was co-founded by Danny Weissberg and Stas Tiomkin in 2012, two graduates of the Technion – the Israel Institute of Technology. Since 1912, the academic institution has been at the forefront of spearheading Israel’s scientific endeavours. Israel today is the country with the highest percentage of scientists and engineers – and the majority of them studied at the Technion, home to three of Israel’s five science Nobel Laureates.
Alan Aziz, CEO of Technion UK, commented: “When it comes to inclusivity, Voiceitt really talks the talk. The brilliance of this artificial intelligence programme is almost enough to leave you speechless – representing another amazing contribution from Technion graduates.”
About The Technion:
The Technion has earned a global reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, life sciences, stem-cell technology, water management, sustainable energy, information technology, biotechnology, materials engineering and aerospace. It is also one of only five similar institutes worldwide that include a medical school, encouraging rapid progress in biotechnology, drug development, and stem-cell technology. As Israel’s centre for high-tech education and research, the Technion is central to the nation’s economic progress. As the premier institute of its kind in the region, Technion breakthroughs can benefit all the nations of the Middle East. As a worldclass research university, the Technion helps advance the frontiers of science and technology to benefit people around the world.