Today we launch voiceOK….
In 2018 we started an R&D project to investigate what you could do with voice technology. This project was kick started by the discovery of my great great aunt's diaries from the 1930’s, we searched to see if there was a way to digitise her diaries and create a digital voice that sounded like her. Unfortunately we were unable to source enough audio samples to generate her voice, surprisingly there wasn’t much audio of her recorded. There were some VHS tapes from the 1990s but this was limited and she passed away over 20 years ago.
After this discovery, by the end of 2018 we had created a landing page and a teaser video to what we thought we could create. A method to allow people to create a digital voice of their own voice. Throughout 2019 we continued our R&D into the technology, testing different neural networks, but then 2020 happened and the world was tipped upside down. Many of those in our lives who are at their most vulnerable were put into an isolated environment or in the worst cases they are now no longer with us.
In March 2020 we paused our R&D work into digital voices and turned our focus on preserving voices because if people don’t digitise their voice today what will there be to listen to in the future.
Today we release the start of voiceOK, a mobile platform that enables you to preserve your voice and your memories for future generations. By preserving your voice it can then be digitised.
We accomplish this by recording all the phonemes (distinct units of sound in a language) in your speech. To get the phoneme coverage needed to confidently backup your voice we need to capture at least 2,000 sentences or one hour of high quality audio of you speaking.
voiceOK achieves this by providing you with great story books that you read aloud through the app on your phone. Using the voiceOK app you select a story from our library and simply read it. The story is broken up into short sentences or parts of a sentence that are highlighted on the screen, once you finish reading the highlighted words you tap the next button to move to the next set of words. This allows voiceOK to match the voice recordings with the words that were expected to be read in the text. voiceOK needs at least an hour of recorded books to make the backup, but there is no reason why you can’t or shouldn’t record more. The more you record the better your voice backup will be. The app stores all the recording on your device, our premium service provides encrypted secure cloud backup as well as other features.
During the process of creating voiceOK we realised that creating a voice backup is great for the future but what about for now. The stories that are recorded can also be used now, over the coming weeks and months we will be releasing additional features where you can use your voice recording for now. One example, anyone you select can listen to you reading them a story if you can't be with them at that time, asked for through and played by your smart speaker.
What about the memories of your life we talked about earlier or the life of someone close to you? We call this part of voiceOK, Keepsake, a place where you verbally answer tailored questions about your life, these answers form your memory keepsake. Securing your memories for future generations and in time building a audible family tree for your family. We will be expanding Keepsake over the coming months giving you the ability to gift creating a keepsake to a loved one. Using the keepsake builder to select pre-written questions as well as giving you the ability to add your own questions, so that your loved one can record these memories for you, safe forever.
So a big welcome from us to voiceOK an app for today, tomorrow and the future.
Download on iOS today, Android coming in a few weeks.