You may not have come across Cereproc before, but the Edinburgh-based company is a leader in speech synthesis and text-to-speech systems. Now, the company’s emotional speech synthesis system has been granted a patent, giving Cereproc a huge advantage in the rapidly evolving market.
Cereproc is the company behind Roger Ebert’s synthesised voice, which was created for the famous film critic after surgery for thyroid cancer left him mute. Cereproc recreated Ebert’s voice from hours of interviews and recordings.
Cereproc’s aim is to bring more natural sounding and emotionally realistic voices to markets including the entertainment and interactive sectors, as well as health care and augmented reality.
According to Chris Pidcock, Cereproc’s chief voice engineer:
“One of our core aims is to create voices that are authentic and full of expression – and emotion is a part of this. We believe that higher quality, more realistic voices will increase the uptake of text-to-speech technology, and open up new markets to us.”
“In addition to our other ongoing projects, we are currently working with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) providers to add emotional TTS to the voice output of their devices. The prospect that these joint ventures could result in enabling people with serious neurological conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease or Cerebral Palsy, to speak with emotion, and in some cases for the first time ever, is really exciting. That is something which the team is truly proud of,”