In a blog post published Thursday, Amazon and speech startup Voiceitt announced a collaboration that aims to make Alexa more accessible to people with atypical speech. Voiceitt is an app that uses machine-learning and speech recognition technologies to help those with speech impairments communicate and be more easily understood.
In a press release, Voiceitt acknowledged the popularity of smart speakers and digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa—despite their massive popularity, however, they can prove inaccessible to those with various types of speech delays. This can make the communicatively impaired feel as though they are excluded from using voice-first devices. Teaching a machine fluent speech is hard enough; teaching a machine to learn atypical speech is exponentially more challenging. Thus, Voiceitt “recognized the opportunity to expand its technology offering to facilitate not only in-person communication but also interaction with voice activated and controlled devices.”