Expressing the way you feel is very important to each and everyone of us, which means you do not want to say everything with the same intonation. For people with communication difficulties who rely on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solutions and Text to Speech voices, this was impossible in the past. To address this need, we have developed ExpressivePower™, which combines the benefits of Text to Speech voices with the ability to communicate in a more expressive way. Now AAC users can share what they want to say with emotion.
Going beyond Text to Speech
The limits of Text to speech
Text to Speech voices are very powerful as they allow the user to say anything they want. However, because the voices do not understand the context of what is being spoken, they are unable to add appropriate intonation. For several years, Acapela Group, our voice provider, has been recording a number of words and statements in a more expressive way. However, to use these in the Text to Speech voices, special codes needed to be inserted in the text. With ExpressivePower™, we have taken things a step further.
Expanding expressive recordings
In the children's Text to Speech voices that we co-developed with Acapela Group, we have extended the range of expressive recordings to include things children often say, such as "My turn", "It's not fair!", and “Stupid!", as well as variants of "dad", "daddy", "mom" and "mommy" in calling, angry, questioning, whining, and wheedling tones. In addition, the child voice talents recorded sounds children often emulate in play, such as a barking dog or the siren of a fire truck. Having access to these expressions and sounds in the proper intonation greatly increases the communicative power of a child using AAC to speak.
A voice per button
In Proloquo2Go, we added the ability to choose a voice, volume, speech rate, pitch personalization and relative volume per button. This allows the user to do impersonations, dialog, or just pick the voice that fits their mood.
Ease of use
With the ExpressivePower feature in Proloquo2Go, we have made it extremely easy for users to create buttons with special emotive expressions and sounds without having to learn and insert codes in the text. Most of the recent Acapela Group voices have expressions and sounds, with the children's voices having a particularly rich set. Available expressions vary from voice-to-voice, as each voice talent has a different personality.