What the Tech? “Personal Voice” technology

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(ABC 6 News) – Apple announced new technology is coming to iPhone and iPad later this year that will allow users to record their own voice that can be used to speak text out loud. Apple calls the accessibility feature “Personal Voice”.

The idea is to give people who are losing the ability to speak, to record themselves now and use those recordings when talking on the phone, in a FaceTime call, or when in a room with someone else. As you may already know the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers cans read aloud text that you type in one of Apple’s computerized voices. To do this, you just need to highlight any text and swipe the bar to select “speech”, or “speak”.

When the update is rolled out later this year, rather than hearing the text read by a digitized or computer voice, the text will be read in your own voice. To capture this, users will need to record a series of words and phrases to store in a voice bank. The technology is similar to that of the company “The Acapela Group” which developed software to convert text to speech in a person’s own voice, to maintain their identity to be able to continue speaking the way they sounded before.

“It’s intended for personal use for patients with a diagnosis of a degenerative disease that will make them to progressively lose their voice, explained Luisa Cordona of The Acapela Group at CES in January. “It is very simple to do so all we need is to capture about ten minutes or 50 sentences of the person’s speech before they lose their capability for speaking,” she said.

Anyone can record their voice using the Acapela software on its website and save the recording in a personal voice bank.

“Within 24 hours we generate a digital voice, a text-to-speech voice which can be used on any tablet, PC, or mobile phone that makes use of text-to-speech.”

The Acapela Group also allows users to record some of their own phrases. Apple says its “Personal Voice” feature will be part of improvements to its already wide range of accessibility features later this year.