Interesting comments from a blog reader. Yes, this company is doing
interesting things. And yes, the voice synthesizer they use absolutely
sucks. Just more evidence of what I’ve talked about in past entries. Even
forward-thinking medical research professionals are seemingly ignorant of
how far voice synthesis has advanced. You don’t even need much computing
power to get "near-human" voice quality, just good speakers and the right
software. Someone doing today what I did eight years ago would have a better
selection of synthesizer engines to choose from, since both AT&T and
Speechworks have other offerings of similar stature. Indeed, I think it’s
unfortunate that Speechworks bought out ETI, because they position Eloquence
as an entry-level alternative to their higher-priced RealVoice system.
Having done side-by-side comparisons of the two synthesizers, Eloquence
still seems to me to have a slight edge in diction and cadence.
As I hinted to before, I am seriously considering new pricing structures for
Xpress It. I still haven’t had any sales and my own financial clock is
winding down. Conventional wisdom holds that personal software should be
$200 or less. Of course, Aurora, the closest overall competitor to Xpress
It, is $250 with a much less capable vocal system. In all fairness, Aurora
is pitched as a general tool for disabled people, whereas Xpress It is
aggressively designed for verbal communication with complete strangers. The
latter is more for disabled people looking to interact with the world. I
suppose one option is to match Aurora on price and see what people do.
What do you think?
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: Left Coast vs. the Rest of Us?
If you’re not already familiar with it, check out http://www.Cyberkineticsinc.com.
They had some coverage on CNN recently, and I couldn’t help but notice the
poor quality of the voice synthesizer they were using. For a non-techie
like me, their research is nothing short of amazing.