MyVoice software for motor-handicapped people

Published on: 21/11/2007
Document
MyVoice is a software tool developed by the research team at the Technical University in Liberec. It is distributed by Fugasoft company in Liberec. The tool enables motor-handicapped people a) to work with a PC, a) to be in contact with other people via internet, c) to study from home and d) even to control various home appliances. All these activities can be accomplished entirely hands-free by means of voice commands spoken to a microphone (wired or wireless) connected to a PC. The handicapped person does not need to use keyboard or mouse.

Policy Context

MyVoice was developed as response to multiple requests from the community of Czech handicapped people who knew about our previous research in speech technology area. The software was completed in 2005 within very short period (6 months) to give them the tool as fast as possible and hence the design and development was taken as an academic initiative without any grant support. Later, after the software has been acknowledged by its first users, the research team at the TU of Liberec received a large national grant that allows for further improvement of the software and for development of other voice-operated tools that can help Czech handicapped people. This new granted project is named "Assistance, information and communication services based on advanced voice technology“ and it has identification number 1QS108040569.

Description of target users and groups

Motor-handicapped people who cannot use their hands.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The software is distributed by a small private company named Fugasoft that manages software upgrades and basic maintenance. The company sells the software mainly to end users (handicapped people). Several copies have been provided also to institutions that take care of handicapped people and to universities.

Technology solution

Technology choice: Proprietary technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

Some 50 handicapped person in Czechia already use it in their daily lives.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

The software is one of the results of the Speechlab research team at the Technical university in Liberec. It has been publicised by the Czech TV as well as in magazines published by several societies of handicapped people. The authors (Prof. Jan Nouza and his team) were nominated for a Czech government award in 2006.

Lessons learnt

Even though some publicity was given to the MyVoice project, still not many Czech handicapped people know about it and about its potentiality. It would be very useful if Czech governmental as well as non-governmental institutions do more for dissemination of this information. Special courses for end-users, their assistants and also for teachers in schools for handicapped pupils seem to be one of the most important issues, Scope: National