Google taking voice samples from people with disabilities to improve voice-recognition technology

These days you can use voice recognition for just about anything, but the technology doesn’t always recognize people who have speech impairments.

Now, Molloy College is teaming up with Backyard Players and Friends, a local nonprofit that serves teens and young adults with disabilities to help fix that.

“I think sometimes you forget what a privilege it is to communicate effortlessly,” said Brianna Amante, a graduate student at Molloy College.

Molloy College’s speech pathologists are helping the Backyard Players lend their voices to Google for the company’s new initiative called “Project Euphonia.”

The project, launched in conjunction with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, aims to make speech technology more accessible to people with disabilities. To do so, Google is collecting 500 voice samples to improve its own voice recognition software.

About 25 members of the Backyard Players and Friends are currently registered to take part in the study.

“It’s an opportunity for young adults and individuals with disabilities to give back to their community and to help advance and advocate for themselves,” said Audra Cerruto, Associate Dean & Director of Graduate Programs at the Molloy College School of Education and Human Services.

Google will reach out to the participants for an additional 1,500 voice recordings. 


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