Google Looks to the Disabled to Train Speech Algorithms

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Google has launched Proiject Relate, an app that can be used by the disabled to transcribe spoken words to text in real time, speak for them using a computerized voice, and communicate with Google Assistant using voice commands.The app is designed to decipher the speech patterns of those with disabilites that affect their speech so they can communicate with those around them.

Google is now looking to test the technology in the real worldand is calling on the same disabled users that it is trying to help to improve the app. Google is looking for English-speaking people people with conditions that make their speech difficult to understand to test the app. Participants will be asked to record a series of phrases to help the app learn from their individual speech patterns and then offer their feedback once they start using the app.

"For millions of people, being able to speak and be understood can be difficult as a result of conditions that can impact speech, including stroke, [Lou Gehrig's disease], cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson's disease," Julie Cattiau, product manager at Google AI, wrote in a recent blog post."Today, we're inviting an initial group of people to test Project Relate, a new Android app that aims to help people with speech impairments communicate more easily with others and interact with the Google Assistant. With your help, we hope to build a future in which people with disabilities can more easily communicate and be understood."

Google previously worked with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society to collect speech samples from adults with Down syndrome to train its speech algorithm as part of an initiative called Project Euphonia.

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