ACE-LP: Augmenting Communication using Environmental Data to drive Language Prediction

ACE-LP LogoCommunication is the essence of life. We communicate in many ways, but it is our ability to speak which enables us to chat in every-day situations. An estimated quarter of a million people in the UK alone are unable to speak and are at risk of isolation. They depend on Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs, or Speech Generating Devices, SGDs) to compensate for their disability. However, the current state of the art VOCAs are only able to produce computerised speech at an insufficient rate of 8 to 10 words per minute (wpm). For some users who are unable to use a keyboard, rates are even slower. For example, Professor Stephen Hawking recently doubled his spoken communication rate to 2 wpm by incorporating a more efficient word prediction system and common shortcuts into his VOCA software [New Scientist, Intel Press Release].


We are recruiting participants to help us develop and design our new communication aid. Please get in touch via our project website (ACE-LP.ac.uk).


Please visit our project website for the latest updates:
ACE-LP.ac.uk

AAC user in conversation

ACE-LP brings together research expertise in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) (University of Dundee), Intelligent Interactive Systems (University of Cambridge), and Computer Vision and Image Processing (University of Dundee) to develop a predictive AAC system that will address these prohibitively slow communication rates by introducing the use of multimodal sensor data to inform state of the art language prediction. For the first time a VOCA system will not only predict words and phrases; we aim to provide access to extended conversation by predicting narrative text elements tailored to an ongoing conversation.

This project will develop technology which will leverage contextual data (e.g. information about location, conversational partners and past conversations) to support language prediction. We will develop an onscreen user interface which will adapt depending on the conversational topic, the conversational partner, the conversational setting and the physical ability of the nonspeaking person. Our aim is to improve the communication experience of nonspeaking people by enabling them to tell their stories easily, at more acceptable speeds.


Funder


EPSRC LogoEPSRC, RCUK
Call: User Interaction with ICT
EPSRC Reference: EP/N014278/1


Partners


Arria LogoArria NLG Ltd.
Aberdeen

Capability Scotland
Edinburgh

01.commattersCommunication Matters
Leeds

Edesix Ltd
Edinburgh

National Museums Scotland
Edinburgh

Ninewells Hospital & Medical School
Dundee

Scope LogoScope
London

 

Smartbox
Malvern

Tobii Dynavox
Sheffield

 


People


Annalu Waller

Professor Annalu Waller
Principal Investigator
(Dundee)

Contact: a.waller@dundee.ac.uk
Phone: 01382 388223

 


01smckenna

Professor Stephen McKenna
Co-Investigator
(Dundee)

 

01jzhangDr Jianguo Zhang
Co-Investigator
(Dundee)

 

01pkristenssonDr Per Ola Kristensson
Co-Investigator
(Cambridge)

 

Rolf BlackMr Rolf Black
Researcher Co-Investigator
(Dundee)

 

 


Photograph of Sophia Bano

Dr Sophia Bano
Computer Vision and Machine Learning
(Dundee)

 

Photograph of Zulqarnain RashidDr Zulqarnain Rashid
Interaction Designer/Software Programmer
(Dundee)

 

AAC Group Logo

Dr Shuai Li
Research Associate
(Cambridge)

 

 


Mr Chris Norrie
PhD Student/Web Admin
(Dundee)

 

Mr Tamas Suveges
PhD Student
(Dundee)

 

Martina Peeva

Ms Martina Peeva
MSc Student
(Dundee) 

 

 


Academic Output


Please visit our project site for up to date publications:
ACE-LP.ac.uk
 

Screenshot 2016-09-05 14.21.35Black R, S McKenna, J Zhang, PO Kristensson, C Norrie, S Bano, Z Rashid, A Waller (2016). ACE-LP: Augmenting Communication using Environmental Data to drive Language Prediction. Communication Matters Conference, Leeds, UK. (Poster, Book of Abstracts at CM 2016)

 

 

Screenshot 2016-09-05 14.21.35Black R, S McKenna, J Zhang, PO Kristensson, C Norrie, S Bano, Z Rashid, A Waller (2016). ACE-LP: Augmenting Communication using Environmental Data to drive Language Prediction. 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), Toronto, Canada. (PosterAbstract at ISAAC, anonymised)

 

Alan's PowerPointMcGregor A (2016). No Further On After 30 Years, Still Can’t Speak Fast Enough. 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), Toronto, Canada. (PDF of PowerPoint presentation)


Other Public Output


Please visit our project site for up to date publications:
ACE-LP.ac.uk
 

ACE-LPYouTube: An introduction to ACE-LP (2016). Annalu Waller, Rolf Black, with Alan McGregor, University of Dundee, Press Office.

 

 

Alan McGregor presenting at ISAAC

Report on ISAAC (2016). Alan McGregor, Honorary Researcher at Dundee University.

 

 

Women in Computer Vision: Sophia BanoComputer Vision Title (2016). Computer Vision News, RSIP Vision.

 

 

 


Press Cuttings


Please visit our project site for up to date publications:
ACE-LP.ac.uk 

STV News Screenshot

STV Six O’Clock News (5 Sep 2016). Susan Nicholson, STV.tv, player.stv.tv/summary/stv-news-dundee.

 

Screenshot 2016-09-05 14.05.20Speech aid advances could help end social isolation (3 Sep 2016). Kirsteen Paterson, TheNational.scot, Herald & Times Group.

 

 

 

Screenshot 2016-09-05 14.06.17£1 million Dundee University project to improve communication devices (2 Sep 2016). Ciaran Sneddon, TheCourier.co.uk, DC Thomson Publishing.

 

 


Social Media


Twitter: @DundeeAAC #DACELP
Facebook: facebook.com/Dundee.AAC.Group


Further Reading and Related Publications


Communication Access to Conversational Narrative (2006). Waller A. Topics of Language Disorders, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 221–239, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. (PDF at Edinburgh University)

The WriteTalk Project: Story-based Interactive Communication (1999). Waller A, Francis J, Tait L, Booth L and Wood H. In Assistive Technology on the Threshold of the New Millennium. Christian Bühler, and Harry Knops (Eds.). IOS Press. (PDF)

Locked in My Body (2016). Terry Newbury is fully awake but not able to communicate with the outside world. This short observational documentary tells Terry’s story and his fight to communicate again. BBC iPlayer.

My Left Foot (1954). Christy Brown (Book)

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly (1997). Jean-Dominique Baby (Book)