The Speech Research Laboratory at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., is seeking people with ALS and their clinicians across the country to participate in a study to evaluate a personalized synthetic speech system for users of augmentative communications devices.
The system comprises software for voice recording called InvTool, software for automatically constructing a speech synthesis database from the recorded utterances, and a text-to-speech synthesis program called ModelTalker. The latter program uses the recorded speech database to produce unrestricted synthetic speech in the user's voice.
The study needs people with ALS who still have the ability to speak and who have personal computers. Under supervision of their clinicians, subjects will download the experimental software, then evaluate the voice-creation process using Web-based surveys.
There's no payment but participants may keep and use the ModelTalker software and synthetic voice they create.
The study organizers are also looking for physicians and speech-language pathologists to collaborate in the study. More information is available by visiting www.asel.udel.edu/speech/clinicians.html or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.