Stephen Hawking chooses a new voice
By Mike Hanlon
June 4, 2004
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.