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Using Azam's in built special effects to help decipher certain speech impediments

Using Azam's voice morphing functions, people who cannot speak clearly due to physical problems or learning disabilities, will be able to produce voice recordings that are easier to understand.

As a reminder The Azam Disabilities Initiative (ADI) is an ongoing project to assist those with disabilities to communicate more effectively and easily using PCs. Free use of Azam software is available to anyone with disabilities, initially in the UK, by requesting an access code key from participating Charities, Doctors' Surgeries or Local Authorities.

Andronicos' son Kristian has severe disabilities including partial hearing, profound learning difficulties and a speech impediment. Kristian is one of several people that have been used for researching the effectiveness of Azam voice morphing. Please listen to the original recording of the nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep and compare it to the one that has had some basic special effects applied. This is how Kristian normally sounds:

This is how Kristian sounds after Azam morphing (special effects) have been applied:

We have noticed that increasing the playback speed (to 12,000), adding echo (40%) and a slight flanger effect, makes certain words clearer, especially those that contain 'L'. We are currently working on a simple to use method to make voices of disabled persons sound more natural after applying Azam voice filters. As a matter of interest, Kristian is 27 years old.

Azam has several filter categories with literally thousands of possible permutations. Applying these special effects is easy and quite similar to turning the dials of a CD player. The above case is just one example over the last year, following consultation with charities for disabled persons and those who live with profound communication disabilities. Advice will be sought from speech therapists and sound technicians to provide customizable templates for specific speech disabilities.

If you would like to take part in a simple voice morphing experiment to assist Andronicos in his research, please download the one page form (PDF) here. Let us know how you get on. The Azam recording(s) should be sent to adi@azamit.com. Please ensure you write 'Azam ADI Voice Effects' in the subject line, but kindly do not disclose the patient's name in any correspondence or within the Azam recording, unless the contributor of the recordings approves it.

The implications could be enormous for disabled persons. Some may be able to work from home and get normal jobs. Others, such as those with profound learning difficulties who have problems communicating by speech may be able to do so using Azam voice filters. Their relatives and family friends may be able to understand more of what is being said.

Azam International Technologies Limited is a Social Enterprise commercial organization. Nevertheless it spends a substantial amount of resource and R&D effort in providing FREE Azam to people with disabilities, initially in the UK and eventually worldwide.

Could you or your organization make a difference?

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