Alice Smith was awarded the RSE Enterprise Fellowship in autumn 2019, with an exciting business proposition, SpeakUnique, she benefited from an equity-free package of support worth up to £100,000 each to aid in the commercialisation the project.
SpeakUnique developed technology for the creation of personalised, synthesised voices, creating a bespoke product that is either a close replica of a person’s own voice, or a custom-built new voice according to the customers desired characteristics. Outcomes from the research project showed that personalised voices help people retain dignity and a sense of control in the face of devastating and incurable diseases.
In 2019, Speak Unique was awarded the Emerging Innovation Award for Edinburgh Innovations, Inspire Launch Grow awards. Since then, partnerships and funding has been secured to cover the cost of a SpeakUnique synthetic voice to any individual who could benefit, thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s “Provision of Communication Equipment” legislation, Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) and MND Scotland.
“Personalised synthetic voices are valuable not just to the individual, but also to their families as their loved one can maintain a key part of their identity. We are extremely grateful to the 1,600 people from all over the UK who donated their voices to the research project, which has allowed individuals to communicate with a voice that is identifiably their own.”