Speech Accessibility Project to Share Recordings and Data

Article Featured Image

The Speech Accessibility Project, a joint effort between several big tech firms and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is planning to share the voice recordings and related data of 211 people with Parkinson's with universities, nonprofits, and companies looking to develop speech technologies.

"The goal of the Speech Accessibility Project is to make speech technology accessible to everyone," said Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, the project's leader and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in a statement. "We've already shown that, by training [automatic speech recognition technology] using one part of this dataset, it's possible to reduce error rates for people with Parkinson's disease by almost a factor of two. We are hoping that other universities and companies will be inspired and challenged by that result to come up with hundreds of good ideas for using this data to make speech technology more accessible."

The Speech Accessibility Project's available data includes text of the original speech prompts, a transcript of the participants' responses, and annotations describing the speech characteristics and how they affect participants.

The Speech Accessibility Project is being funded by Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft and seeks to train voice recognition technologies to understand people with diverse speech patterns and disabilities. The project is still recruiting U.S. and Puerto Rican adults with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and who have had a stroke.

SpeechTek Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

The Speech Accessibility Project is Recruiting Adults with Cerebral Palsy

The Speech Accessibility Project is recruiting U.S. and Puerto Rican adults with cerebral palsy to aid in the training of speech systems.

The Speech Accessibility Project Could Open Doors, Literally

Dysarthric speech is getting more equal representation in voice algorithms.

Tech Giants Partner on Speech Accessibility Project

Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta, and Google join efforts to improve speech recognition for people with disabilities.