Good winner Project Revoice takes voice tech to new level

 

The winner of the 2018 Grand Prix For Good is Project Revoice, a campaign created by BWM Dentsu Sydney for the ALS Association. Remarkably, this is the second time the ALS Association has won this award after its memorable ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ took the honours in 2015. 

‘Project Revoice’ is an innovation initiative which uses new technology to help people diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease) to record their voices so that after they lose their ability to speak, their synthesised voices are still recognisable as their own. The new technology, powered by Canadian company Lyrebird, can re-create high-quality voices with only a few hours of voice banking. To demonstrate the power of the innovation, ‘Project Revoice’ gave Pat Quinn, co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a re-creation of his voice. Quinn did not record his voice before ALS robbed him of his ability to speak, but using foot- age from ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ interviews, ‘Project Revoice’ was able to clone his voice. Quinn said: “This takes speech tech to a new level and means everything to how I communicate. I didn’t like to hear my old computer voice, so I often avoided conversations. This technology gives me back a piece of myself that was missing. For patients to know they can still speak in their own voice after ALS takes it away, will transform the way people live with this disease.” ‘Project Revoice’ was the brainchild of Oskar Wester- dal and René Schultz, a Swede and a Dane, living and work- ing in Australia. In collaboration with Lyrebird in Canada, Finch in Sydney,andTheALS Association in the USA, they spent a year bringing this revolutionary project to life. ‘Project Revoice’ is now work- ing to encourage ALS/MND communities around the world to record voices so they can be digitally recreated in the future using the new voice cloning technology. 

The Grand Prix For Good is reserved for the non-pro t or NGO that jurors feel created the year’s most trans- formational creative initiative.

 
Harriet Palmer