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Jul 15, 2016 9:53 AM

New England technology gives unique voices to those who can't speak

The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — No one would give a young girl a prosthetic leg meant for a grown man. Why should voices be any different?

As devices that convert text to speech shrink in size, efforts to customize them are expanding. Belmont, Massachusetts-based VocaliD creates a custom voice using just a few seconds of audio from the recipient and combining it with a voice donated by someone with the same vocal characteristics.

Founder and CEO Rupal Patel started thinking about the idea after seeing a grown man and a young girl having a conversation using the same male, computerized voice. The company delivered its first seven voices late last year, and is working on about seven dozen more. More than 14,000 people around the world have donated their voices to the project.

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