Technology has always worked as a Messiah for the disabled by lending them a helping hand and connecting them on a global scale. Disabilities such as visual impairment, speech impairment, motion disabilities and disorders make life very difficult in this technology loaded world and hence having software that benefits them become more crucial than ever before so as to keep them connected and in the loop. There are a plethora of gadgets that help ease their difficulties and voice recognition comes in as a handy ally to most people suffering from ailments. Here’s a look at how speech-to-text and voice typing software make the lives of people with disabilities easier daily.
From helping blind people read to allowing deaf people to converse on groups, voice typing and speech-to-text software assist the disabled in multiple ways.
This ingenious application helps people with speech and language disorders to communicate effectively with others. It translates words that are not pronounced well into normal speech so that others can fully comprehend them, irrespective of their impairment or slurred speech.
The application works for several languages making accessibility possible for people around the world. The app first picks up the speech patterns of the user and creates a personal dictionary for them. Words spoken later are then matched to the words in this personal dictionary and hence gets converted into a normal speech that the listener can understand.
UNI works as a two-way communication tool for the hearing impaired and utilises gesture and voice recognition technology to make this possible. It functions by picking up hand gestures thanks to an image processing camera algorithm and then converting this into text by comparing with a library of sign language words.
It comes along with a voice recognition software that makes two-way communication possible. The app also allows you to build your personalised language library making it easier for you to craft words for daily use. The subscription-based app comes in two varieties one that requires the internet and one that works without data making it useful while on the go.
Finger Reader is a wearable tool that helps the user read text effectively and hence helps the visually impaired read while travelling and it can also be used as a competent translator. The user can point it to a line of text, and the device will do the rest by processing the words, linking it to a database, identifying the right words and then giving you audio feedback helping you “read” the text. Vibrations help the user know when the line of text ends or when a new one has to begin.
Transcence helps the deaf talk on group conversations by converting speech-to-text technology. Using the user’s microphone, the app picks up what they say and then converts it into text in real time. Each speaker has their own personalised text bubble, which will then display the translated text.
In daily life, we often forget to think about how disabled people live and about the problems they face. This arises not due to insensitivity from our part but rather due to the lack of contact we have with them. More often than not, people with disabilities are confined to the comfort of their homes, choosing to stay in rather than go out and handle the problems of day to day life wherein they are constantly reminded that they are not normal.
Until recently, their access to our world remained through television or the radio. But this trend is slowly changing thanks to intuitive AI and machine learning techniques that have given flight to advanced voice recognition and speech-to-text software.
May 17th is celebrated as Global Accessibility Awareness Day and commemorates the inclusion of the disabled in today’s digital world. Microsoft used this day last year to unveil their Xbox Adaptive Controller, which accommodates a range of special needs. Apple also took the opportunity to announce that its Swift programming language will be taught at schools to benefit hearing-impaired students.
Microsoft has also committed $25 million of their money to further research into AI for its Accessibility program which aims to help people with disabilities in their day-to-day life. Facebook recently began collecting data from disabled users to better their designs.
Let us all hope that more such initiatives will be taken up by tech giants helping more people with disabilities feel comfortable in today’s fast-paced world. AI and machine learning make this inclusion a dream that might turn into a reality in the years to come.