a version of your assistant to give voice to people with cerebral palsy or ALS

We all remember Stephen Hawking’s particular method of communicating. A software that allowed him to talk to other people despite the difficulties he had due to his illness. Now Google presents Project Relate, an application that is in beta phase and that tries to solve precisely this issue.

The new Google application is designed for those people with speech problems due to neurological problems such as stroke, ALS, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s disease. After testing it in a small group of people, Google is looking for English speakers who can boost their development.

Listen, repeat and speak

After analyzing millions of voices of people with problems, the Google Speech and Research team has presented its Project Relate. Although they are still looking for more people to experience how it is used in the field. Those who sign up are asked to speak a series of phrases to improve understanding of these unique speech patterns.

As described in the access request, Project Relate needs at least 500 phrases to receive the necessary training for each voice. This is usually between 30 and 90 minutes to record the voice. Something that can be done at your own pace and without having to do it all at once.

Google Project Relate 2

Once trained with the personal voice, the application offers three functions: listen, repeat and speak with the Assistant. Through the listening function, speech is transcribed into text in real time, so that users can paste and copy these phrases in the applications or to directly teach the phrases with the mobile.

The second function is to repeat. This is, repeat what the person has said in a synthesized voice. A function designed for when you are having a face-to-face conversation and you want to reaffirm the phrase so that the other person does not have problems understanding it.

Finally, there is the Assistant function, where the Google Assistant is trained to understand the voice of the person with difficulties and applies the different commands.

“Project Relate can make the difference between a look of confusion and a laugh of recognition,” explains Aubrie Lee, a Google manager whose voice is affected by muscular dystrophy. While the Google Assistant has no problem understanding most users, it is interesting to see how artificial intelligence algorithms are advancing enough to also understand people with much more difficulties.

More information | Google

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