Innovative. The start-up Acapela shines at CES Las Vegas 2023, considered the “temple of technology”. Based in Labège, south of Toulouse, this company has implemented a solution to reconstruct, using artificial intelligence, the voice of patients suffering from speech disorders as a result of an illness or operation. . This solution is called “My Own Voice”. the independent opinion went to meet its developers.
>> ALSO READ: Toulouse: in 2021, Toulouse startups raised 350 million euros
Artificial intelligence, spokesperson for patients
Acapela has been working in the field of speech synthesis for twenty years. Thus, it asserted itself as a leader in voice solutions in the European market. Much of its activity is dedicated to the medical sector. This is where the “My Own Voice” digital solution comes in. It is intended for people who suffer from disorders or loss of voice after an operation or a serious illness such as throat cancer, cerebral palsy or even laryngectomy.
In anticipation of voice loss, the patient can invoke My Own Voice to create a synthetic voice. Specifically, this solution materializes in a web service available on IOS and Android. From a tablet or computer, the patient must first create an account in the app. Then he will be invited to record the 50 standard phrases offered by the site. A decisive step, as it is from these recordings that the artificial intelligence will generate the user’s digital voice. “This web service does not require any special skills or equipment, except for a computer, headphones and an Internet connection”, guarantees Acapela.
The advantage of My Own Voice: it is available in 20 languages and maintains the original essence of the patient’s voice. Interviewed by Opinião Independente, Remy Cadic, CEO of Acapela, specifies:
The solution recovers the patient’s voice as he recorded it, with his accent, his intonation, his emotions. The goal is to maintain the patient’s identity as much as possible.
An accessible solution from children to adults, regardless of gender. After testing it for free online, the user can purchase it for use in supported applications on Windows (SAPI), Android (with Google TTS API), or another compatible iOS application from a partner.
3,000 users per year
For now, 3,000 users per year use this solution. A number that is set to increase rapidly as it is estimated that 50 million people are unable to communicate effectively without a communication aid.
Each year, about 2 million people are diagnosed with a speech disorder, but only 2% of them have a communication aid device”, justifies the start-up.
It is, therefore, to allow all these people to recreate social and professional ties that the French company Acapela Group created My Own Voice.
Awarded at CES Las Vegas 2023
Acapela is one of the 26 companies from Occitania participating this year in Consumer Electronics Fair (CES) in Las Vegas, the largest international fair dedicated to technological innovation. It takes place this year from the 5th to the 8th of January. With 9 editions under its belt, the region is also a pioneer at CES. The CES Innovation Awards aim to reward innovative solutions in 28 different categories. For Acapela, as for the other companies present at the CES, the challenges are multiple: gaining visibility, convincing new partners and accelerating its international development.
For its “MyOwnVoice” solution, Acapela won a CES Innovation Award in the “Digital Health” category – E-Health in English-.
This is a real reward for the teams that developed the solution. Receiving this recognition from CES demonstrates the upheaval that My Own Voice is already causing in the daily lives of many patients and the innovative power of AI-based speech synthesis. For us, this is a very good opportunity for notoriety, because the CES enjoys an incomparable media influence”.
The Haute Garonne start-up hopes to take advantage of this springboard to go from 3,000 to 10,000 by the end of 2023. And this, counting on the collaboration of new associations and partners in various fields of health.
With him, three other companies from Occitania, a record, were awarded in this 2023 edition of the “CES Innovation Award”. Present at the site for the inauguration of the France Pavilion, the President of the Region Carole Delga said she was “proud to find at CES all these companies from Occitania that innovate and prepare the jobs of tomorrow” in twitter. Indeed, the Occitania region, through its agency AD’OCC, supported the 26 regional companies to participate in CES.
I wanted to be at their side this year, to promote the exceptional ecosystem we have in Occitania and to develop the potential of our companies and their innovations”, she also expressed in a press release.
>> READ ALSO: CES 2023: 26 Occitanie Startups Present in Las Vegas This Year
an ambitious startup
Strengthened by this international influence, Acapela starts the year full of ambitions. In addition to the desire to expand its patient network, the start-up from Haut-Garonne aspires to increase the number of languages offered by My Own Voice to support the development of the solution worldwide.
We currently offer 20 languages, we would like to offer ten more in the short term”, points out Rémy Cadic.
As a second line of development, Acapela intends to “make the registration process more flexible to make the solution even more accessible, including for children”. In the long term, Acapela even intends to make the solution accessible to as many people as possible, to have a printed voice outside the medical field, such as education, the metaverse, videogames or even virtual reality.
>> READ ALSO: Technology: startup from Toulouse present at CES in Las Vegas