Assistive Technologies


FastSpeech: Fast, Robust and Controllable Text to Speech

Neural Information Processing Systems

Neural network based end-to-end text to speech (TTS) has significantly improved the quality of synthesized speech. Prominent methods (e.g., Tacotron 2) usually first generate mel-spectrogram from text, and then synthesize speech from the mel-spectrogram using vocoder such as WaveNet. Compared with traditional concatenative and statistical parametric approaches, neural network based end-to-end models suffer from slow inference speed, and the synthesized speech is usually not robust (i.e., some words are skipped or repeated) and lack of controllability (voice speed or prosody control). In this work, we propose a novel feed-forward network based on Transformer to generate mel-spectrogram in parallel for TTS. Specifically, we extract attention alignments from an encoder-decoder based teacher model for phoneme duration prediction, which is used by a length regulator to expand the source phoneme sequence to match the length of the target mel-spectrogram sequence for parallel mel-spectrogram generation.


Paralysed man moves all four limbs using groundbreaking exoskeleton that reads his mind

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A man has been able to move all four of his paralysed limbs using a groundbreaking mind-controlled exoskeleton, scientists have said. The tetraplegic 30-year-old, known only as Thibault, said his first steps in the robotic suit felt like being "the first man on the Moon". The system, which works by recording and decoding brain signals, was trialled in a two-year study by French researchers at biomedical research centre Clinatec and the University of Grenoble. Scientists conceded the suit was an experimental treatment far from clinical application but said it had the potential to improve patients' quality of life and autonomy. Wearing the robotic limbs, Thibault was able to walk and move his arms using a ceiling-mounted harness for balance.


Prosthetic legs of California high school wrestling captain stolen from gym

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 24 are here. Check out what's clicking on FoxNews.com The prosthetic legs of a double amputee and soon-to-be high school wrestling captain were stolen from a gym closet in California last week, putting his dreams of winning a state championship or even wrestling this season in doubt. Brett Winters, a senior at Pacific High School in San Bernardino, California, was born without tibia bones in his legs. As a baby, his mother was told by doctors that Winters could either spend life in a wheelchair or amputate his legs.


Helping the Disabled Live an Active Life with Robots & Exoskeletons Work in Japan for engineers

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In the House of Councillors election of July 2019 two new Diet members were elected who each have severe physical disabilities. One is an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patient and the other has Cerebral Palsy. Both are barely able to move their bodies and require large electric wheelchairs to get about. The assistance of a carer is also necessary. In particular, the ALS patient is dependent on an artificial respirator and is even unable to speak.


Who Uses Text to Speech (TTS) Anyway? - ReadSpeaker

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First things first: what is TTS? TTS or Text-to-Speech technology converts text into spoken speech. If you know Siri or those handy voice GPS directions on smartphones, then congratulations! Since 1000 AD, humans have strived to create synthetic speech, but it didn't enter the mainstream until the mid 1970s – early 1980s when computer operating systems began implementing it. Walt Tetschner, leader of the group that produced DECtalk in 1983, explains that while the voice wasn't perfect, it was still natural sounding and was used by companies such as MCI and Mtel (two-way paging).


Learn about the benefits of text to speech

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Every end user is a customer, and the quality of the customer journey is everything, regardless of whether the objective is purchasing a product or service or engaging in content fruition. End users can be website visitors, application, device, service, and machine users, online learners or teachers, and more. Text to speech allows content owners to respond to the different needs and desires of each user in terms of how they interact with the content.


Seven exoskeleton startups rising up in Europe Sifted

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The view from France: "France is a paradise for tech startups: world class engineers, reasonable costs, engaged teams, inspiring environment. The scene here is bursting with activity, especially regarding healthcare, which is incredibly stimulating." "The market is tough, with users mostly risk-averse leading to slow adoption. Raising our Series A was most difficult. Once you have onboard professional investors, it's easier. "In five to ten years the cost will go down to the price of a small car.


A Mind-reading exoskeleton lets a completely paralyzed man walk

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With so much debate around the ethical use of technology, news like this certainly provides hope for the future. I personally believe technology will provide the biggest breakthroughs in the Healthcare industry and this is just another example of that happening. A 30-year-old Frenchman named Thibault, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down was able to walk in the controlled environment of a lab in an exoskeleton suit. For someone who hasn't been able to walk for the four two years due to a spinal injury, imagine the emotions he must have gone through when he took that first small step. Earlier, I had written about a couple of other mind-reading devices already in the making.


Paralyzed Frenchman hails 'feat' of walking again with robot exoskeleton

The Japan Times

GRENOBLE, FRANCE – The French tetraplegic man who has been able to walk again using a pioneering four-limb robotic system, or exoskeleton, said walking was a major feat for him after being immobile for years. The French scientists behind the system, which was publicly unveiled last week, use a system of sensors implanted near the brain that send signals to the robotic system, moving the patient's legs and arms. Speaking to media on Monday in the French city of Grenoble, the 28-year-old patient, who was identified only by his first name, Thibault, said he had to re-educate to use his brain when he started to try the whole-body exoskeleton. "As I hadn't moved for two years I had to re-learn to use my brain," he said. "At the beginning, walking was very difficult. Now I can stand up for two hours in the exoskeleton and I can do walking cycles for a very long time," he also said.


Paralyzed man able to walk with mind-controlled exoskeleton suit

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A paralyzed man was able to walk using a mind-controlled robotic suit, French researchers report. The 30-year-old man, identified only as Thibault, moved all four of his paralyzed limbs using an exoskeleton controlled by his brain. Thibault said walking in the suit was like being the "first man on the moon," according to the BBC. While his movements were far from perfect, researchers believe the suit could one day improve patients' quality of life. So far, Thibault has only only tested it in the lab at Clinatec and the University of Grenoble in France.