Prosody enhanced TTS for Dysarthric Speakers

Period of Performance: 05/12/2009 - 04/30/2011

$130K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Invotek, Inc.
Alma, AR 72921
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This feasibility project investigates whether people with complex communication needs can control the prosody of a text-to-speech synthesizer within a unique speech-aware word prediction program. The research team will design a second-generation speech recognition system for dysarthric speakers that includes the ability to measure whether the speaker emphasizes a spoken word. Words that are emphasized by the speaker will then be emphasized by a text-to-speech synthesizer. We will incorporate this speech recognition technology into a "prosody aware" word prediction program so that people with dysarthria can use their speech, in combination with other techniques, to control the prosody of computer generated speech. People with complex communication needs, their partners, and third party listeners will evaluate this system to determine if prosody control improves the communication process. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The aim of this research is to increase the communication effectiveness of persons who have complex communication needs. We propose to do this by developing technology that enables them to control the prosody of a commercial text-to-speech synthesizer using their dysarthric speech and written cues.