We just released version 2.7 of Speak for Yourself! This version is very exciting for some of you, and for others, there will be no difference in the app.
For us, it’s pivotal! This update allows VocaliD voices to be used in the Speak for Yourself AAC app! I know we’re not the first augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system to offer access to VocaliD voices. However, we are the first – and as I write this, the only – AAC app that has this option.
Lemmy (in the adorable pictures) and a few other individuals who chose to purchase VocaliD voices will be receiving those voices shortly.
We announced that we would be incorporating VocaliD technology in this post when we first decided to work with Rupal Patel and the VocaliD team. This was in May 2015, almost two years ago. Shortly after, I wrote about the ever-evolving voice option in AAC. In that post, I said, “When I first heard about VocaliD, it was through Rupal Patel’s TED talk . I watched with excitement. When it was over, I emailed it to Renee and our developer with a simple “I want this!” message, like a five-year-old with a Toys-R-Us catalog.”
Making it Happen
We are early adopters of this technology. When we agreed to make it available to the individuals using Speak for Yourself, we didn’t have an elaborate plan. We did it with a “whatever it takes, we’ll make it work” approach. When I say we are early adopters, I mean that Speak for Yourself users will be within the first 15 people in the world to have access to their custom VocaliD voices. Prior to this update, these custom voices were only available to users of traditional AAC devices from device manufacturers.
Our goal when we developed Speak for Yourself was to offer a high-quality language system that is financially within reach. We knew the iPad would be the only chance that some people with complex communication needs (CCN) would have to get their hands on AAC. Throughout the more than five years that Speak for Yourself has been on the market, our mission has been to make sure that the people who depend on Speak for Yourself to meet their AAC needs, have access to dependable, high quality communication. With this update, we are able to provide the option of a custom VocaliD voice to anyone using Speak for Yourself.
Thank you to Mark, our phenomenal lead developer, and to the team at VocaliD who worked diligently to make this possible. This is just the beginning. It is exciting to be part of new technology and to be able to bring it to the iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod) platform. We can’t wait to hear Lemmy and the new voices in Speak for Yourself!