SpeechAngel at YouthSpeak Forum Switzerland

On 14th April SpeechAngel took part in the event YouthSpeak in Switzerland.

This was the first edition of the forum and was powered by AIESEC.

This conference was aimed at social start-ups and was a great way for us to explain our goals and brainstorm with other change-makers.

The SpeechAngel Team partook in discussion of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals which are as follows:

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and wellbeing
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
  17. Partnerships for the goals

Best wishes,

The SpeechAngel Team.

What’s it like to live with MS?

Here’s a great article on living with MS by the journalist Lisa Salmon.

 

Read the challenges that are presented by living with disease here:

http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/wellbeing/what-its-like-to-live-with-multiple-sclerosis-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-ms-11364055103781

 

Information on the author:

Mother-of-two young sons, Lisa Salmon’s writing career spans 25 years. Registered blind after a car accident, she has shown strength in overcoming great adversity. Lisa lost her new-born son in 2002, suffered a miscarriage a year later and fought a near-fatal blood clot. She has won the Barbara Taylor-Bradford Woman of Substance Award for her courage and lives with her family in Yorkshire.

Best wishes,

The SpeechAngel Team.

Mobility rights activism with Marcel Brans

While back in Holland, in Breda, we teamed up with Marcel Brans. Marcel is a mobility rights activist who is engaged in a project to make the city of Breda the most accessible city for wheelchairs in the Netherlands.

Marcel is advising SpeechAngel into living with mobility limitations and the way he faces up to his challenges. We will be sharing a full video interview with Marcel about his life, work and thoughts on speech technology in late May.

Subscribe to our newsletter to find out when the content will be up.

 

Best wishes,

The SpeechAngel Team.

Why speech interfaces are the future of assistive technology

At SpeechAngel, we’re enabling people by giving them power through their voice.

This is an article by Professor Teixeira at the university Aveiro on the importance of speech interfaces when dealing with mobility limitations: 00b7d5182a5bea156b000000-2

It’s a fantastic insight into how this technology can help change millions of lives.

Here’s a quick summation to get you started

 

Speech as the basic interface for Assistive technology

Background information

  • About 50 million people (10% of todays European Union – EU population) are disabled.
  • 1% present at least one type of impairment.
  • 6% = mobility impairment.
  • 4% = cerebral palsy.
  • Number of elderly people aged from 65 to 80 will rise by nearly 40% between 2010 and 2030 in the EU.
  • The group of people over 80 will almost double by 2050.

 

State of Assistive Technology

In Europe

  • European commission is making a 1 billion dollar investment R&D.
  • HERMES (cognitive care and guidance for active aging).
  • The CompanionAble (Integrated cognitive assistive and domestic companion robotic system for ability and security).
  • WWAAC – The World Wide Augmentative and Alternative communication Project.
  • Handicom (provides several devices ranging from single-handed keyboards, Bliss language processes or sign language software.
  • Tobii (Sweden based. Specialised in AAS devices).
  • VOCA (voice output communication aids).
  • Microsoft provides an AT program.

 

In Portugal

  • AT is more orientated to visually impaired people, since they represent the larger group of disabled people.
  • CIDEF – Robobraille project,
  • FCT- funded project: Ubiquitous Web Access for visually Impaired People (VIP-ACCESS)
  • Electrosertec: leading company in Portugal providing all types of AT to visually impaired people.
  • Vodaphone Portugal: Vodaphone Say
  • B-Live (home automation infrastructure)
  • CARL (intelligent robot)

 

The Importance of Speech Interfaces in Assistive Technology

  • Speech is the easiest and most natural way for human-human and human-machine interaction.
  • Therefore interfaces must be speech-based
  • The end-users of these solutions are not only visually impaired people, but also individuals with severe speech disabilities and the elderly.

STATUS QUO (Portugal)

Problems for Speech

  1. Speech is an interesting interface but can only be secondary.
  2. Speech interfaces don’t have an appealing market.
  3. Speech technology is not useable.
  4. We already have the necessary speech technology.

 

Potential for Speech

  1. Speech can be the only interface with AT.
  2. The market in AT is growing.
  3. Voice output communication aids.
  4. Speech recognition in writing.
  • Speech Synthesis in reading, writing.
  1. Speech training methods and devices.
  2. Processing of speech in cochlea implants.

 

Conclusions

The following actions are required

  • To personalise the communication aid devices to SSPI.
  • To adapt and expand state-of-the-art speech technology in European Portuguese to SSPI.
  • To conduct multidisciplinary work on the requirements, development and evaluation regarding the real use of speech technologies.
  • To develop prototypes.
  • To enhance the communication competence and quality of life for affected individuals.

 

Best wishes,

The SpeechAngel Team.