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Stephen Hawking chooses a new voice

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June 4, 2004

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Celebrated Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has selected and is using NeoSpeech's Text-to-Speech engine, VoiceText, as his new voice. VoiceText is integrated into Dr. Hawking's communicator, E Z Keys, enabling him to clearly communicate with the outside world.

'As a scientist and lecturer, it is imperative that Professor Hawking presents his findings in a clear and concise manner,' said Tom Pelly, Dr. Hawking's technical assistant. 'Professor Hawking was very impressed by NeoSpeech's speech synthesiser, as it was by far the most natural-sounding and realistic of all of the off-the-shelf software voices that he has heard. This technology can help ensure that his vocals match his research in terms of credibility and believability.'

Dr. Hawking, a renowned scientist, professor and author, suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative motor neuron illness. While the disease has not affected Dr. Hawking's intellectual capacity, it has robbed him of many physical abilities. He can only move two fingers on his right hand and he is unable to speak, making his computer with voice synthesizer essential for communication.

Dr. Hawking has a computer screen mounted on the arm of his wheel chair, which runs communicator software. The software enables him to press a switch in his hand to create words and sentences easily and intuitively. Once he has built up a sentence, he sends it to NeoSpeech's VoiceText speech synthesizer, which turns it into speech. The technology enables Dr. Hawking to communicate, including writing scientific books and papers, and giving lectures.

VoiceText generates natural-sounding voices from text input and offers the same Text-to-Speech solution across hand-held, desktop and network applications, while supporting a broad range of industry standard operating systems. Available in several languages, VoiceText can process any size or type of text, in applications ranging from telephone access-to-information or personal e-mail, to reading complete news stories, delivering the highest level of accuracy and quality.

NeoSpeech, Inc. is a leading provider of speech-enabled solutions based on a suite of best-of-breed core capabilities in speech recognition, speech synthesis, speaker verification, and voice animation. The company offers flexible, innovative products for the mobile, enterprise, entertainment and education markets. The privately-held company, headquartered in Fremont, California, is backed by Voiceware Co., Ltd of Korea.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
5 Comments

What a great Scientist Stephen Hawking who conquered disability. You are inspiration to millions of scientists, Sir,

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

So you wrote this article and didn\'t include a link to the company website where, presumably, we could type in text and hear the verbal output? What were you not thinking?

Henry

HenryFarkas

@HenryFarkas....what are you talking about, there is a hyperlink in the text. What, were you not paying attention?

Scott Clarke

I think Stephen was not impressed with his former voice, an American one.

bligrdrv

Thank you Stephen for sharing with us your incredible Intellect, Problem Solving, and Completely out-of-the-box Thinking, Theories, and thought provoking ideas. I hope you like your new voice much better !!! Isn\'t technology wonderful ?!!

Randy Sellet
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