200 volunteers donate voices for Xiaomi's "Own My Voice" project

Xiaomi&039 Own My Voice Project poster

With increasing disability recognition and advancements in technology, many tech companies and organizations have started moving past awareness and into acceptance. And, with this acceptance, we are now seeing innovations built to empower accessibility and offer opportunities for everyone to get involved in developing an inclusive society for all.

One of the latest efforts in making technology accessible to everyone has come from Xiaomi via its "Own My Voice" project which has enabled the integration of self-developed speech technology with advanced algorithms to offer a text-to-speech solution for a user with speech disorders.

Xiaomi's Technology Committee topic convener on Tech for Good, Zhu Xi commented on the reason behind the launch of the project, saying:

We are excited to explore multiple values that technology innovation brings to us, such as responding to users' demands for the self-identity and the construction of identity.

[...] If we notice and address the needs of minority groups at an early stage, the process of technology diffusion could be greatly shortened. This allows the benefits of new technologies to become accessible to users with special needs without delay.

The new resource, developed by Xiaomi AI Lab, allows users with speech disorders to produce a customized voice. The subject of the project was able to communicate with others in his own voice customized and synthesized from a variety of volunteer-donated voices. The voice was also digitally manipulated to preserve the privacy of volunteers and make it more original.

Over 200 volunteers within Xiaomi donated their voices to curate the "most suitable and personalized" voice for the recipient. Xiaomi has mentioned that many smart devices featuring the company's AI voice assistant, Xiaoai, support the latest technology.

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