Spectra - Speech-to-speech translation
New technological advancements in speech, language, and media are changing the way people interact with devices and with one another. These same technologies have tremendous potential in building assistive technologies that enable users with disabilities to more easily use computers, communicate with others, browse the web, log in to secure websites, and navigate city streets.
Speech technologies are especially adaptable. Speech programs that convert between text and audio make it possible to convert emails and other text sources to audio for users with low vision, and for audio to be converted to text so users with impaired hearing can read voice mails and captions from broadcasts. The same speech interfaces that make mobile phones easier to use can be incorporated into almost any device -- from laptops to TV remotes to game platforms, further expanding the range of tasks that users with disabilities (including those with limited motion) can perform for themselves, giving users independence, autonomy, and privacy.
AT&T Research is focusing on how best to adapt its speech and language projects for the assistive technology market, estimated to be 41 million in the US alone (US Census Bureau, 2006 American Community Survey). We are building assistive technology prototypes for our core markets (mobility, internet and entertainment services) -- see some examples below. We are also pursuing basic research in collaboration with universities, companies and non-profits that work with people with disabilities. If you are interested in working with us, get in touch with any of the researchers listed on this page!
Making technology work for those with disabilities improves technology for everyone, including the growing population of senior citizens. And by freeing users from staring at a screen or using a keyboard or other input device, assistive technologies enable hands-free control of devices and computers, allowing everyone to more safely multi-task and interact more freely with devices.
Get more info on:
Our assistive technology research and prototypes are built on our basic speech, language and multimedia processing technologies, including:
AT&T researchers, along with the ASA Text-to-Speech (TTS) Technology working group (S3-WG91), are currently collecting data comparing the intelligibility of seven different synthetic speech systems at various speaking rates. The aim is to make TTS more usable by all, including users of mobile devices, children with learning disabilities, people with visual disabilities (see paper) or hearing impairments.
The iWalk prototype gives speech-mainly access to local business listings and walking directions. iWalk was designed primarily as an assistive technology. Features of iWalk include:
Spectra is an iPhone application for interactive speech-to-speech translation. Features of Spectra include:
iMIRACLE is a prototype iPad application that lets users search for video content by station, genre, title, or content keywords. Users can browse retrieved content, and can watch it on the iPad or on connected televisions. iMIRACLE could be useful for users with hearing loss or physical dexterity disabilities, who cannot "fast forward" through a TV show to the segment they want to watch.
The iRemote prototype is an electronic program guide designed to reduce the television guide search problem: it permits users to search for TV and movie listings by title, actor, genre or keyword, and integrates with Windows Media Center and the Microsoft set-top box. AT&T Labs researchers have made an accessible version of iRemote with the following features:
You can read a short paper about EPGAAC here.
The eReader prototype is another example of an existing technology that is being repurposed to make it more accessible - in this case, specifically for people with visual disabilities. It is built over the Calibre open-source eReader software. Features include:
See a demo of the eReader prototype here.
The iPad-based StorEbook prototype is a different kind of eReader. It is designed to engage children with learning disabilities. It features:
See a demo of the StorEbook prototype here.
SAFE is a prototype for multi-factor authentication. Following a simple enrollment procedure, users download the SAFE application onto their mobile device. Then, instead of using a password, users use SAFE to log into any participating website or application. SAFE can help users with visual disabilities, who may find it hard to use web forms for authentication. SAFE features:
See a demo of SAFE here.
We are actively seeking partners in this research. If you are:
Also, we periodically run evaluations of our basic technologies. If you are interested in participating in a user study or evaluation, please get in touch!
AT&T values diversity in its workforce and customer base. In 2012, AT&T ranked No. 1 in CAREERS & the disABLED magazine's 2012 list of “Top 50 Employers” for people with disabilities. Take a look at:
Multimedia (videos, demos, interviews)
MIRACLE video content analysis Demonstration of the MIRACLE video content analysis engine. MIRACLE (1k)
AT&T SAFE A demonstration of authentication using AT&T SAFE. SAFE (2k)
Spectra - Speech-to-speech translation This video is a demonstration of the Spectra speech-to-speech translation application. Spectra (2k)
Taniya Mishra demonstrates the StorEBook expressive e-reader Taniya Mishra demonstrates the StorEBook expressive e-reader. StorEBook (3k)
eReader for people with visual disabilities In this video, researcher Ben Stern introduces eReader, a speech-enabled e-reader for people with visual disabilities built over the open-source tool Calibre. eReader (2k)
Demonstration of the iMIRACLE content-based multimedia retrieval system Bernie Renger demonstrates the iMIRACLE content-based multimedia retrieval system on the iPad. iMiracle (2k)
The iWalk navigation service for people with visual disabilities In this video, ALFP fellow Shiri Azenkot and researcher Amanda Stent demo the initial prototype of iWalk, a local business search and navigation service for people with visual disabilities. iwalk (2k)