European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, VOICE Project
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The VOICE Project
Giving a VOICE to the deaf by developing awareness
of VOICE to text recognition capabilities

The VOICE Project is investigating the use of voice recognition systems in conversation, conferences, television broadcasts and telephone calls. It started in 1996 in the EC Joint Research Centre in Ispra and was then sponsored and funded by the EC Directorate General Information Society in years 1998-2000.
The Project has developed prototypes of user friendly interfaces allowing an easier use of commercial products in translating the spoken voice into PC screen messages and subtitles. This is a powerful help for people with hearing impairment, reducing the gap between them and the hearing world.
More than one hundred workshops have been organised for presenting the VOICE Project to more than 6000 users. Its prototype demonstrator has been used for subtitling part of the workshops, as demonstration of feasibility and validation on the field. The subtitling system has been used in several schools in order to transmit to all the students of a class the same information, by the same words, in the same moment.
An other aim of the Project is that of uniting, by means of an Internet VOICE Forum, Associations, companies, universities, schools, public administrations and anyone else interested in voice recognition. Since it is proposed as a dynamic tool of exchanging information, several pages are loaded at a draft stage, in order to allow active discussion via the Web.
In years 2001 and 2002 the activities addressed the harmonisation of television subtitling, in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union and the CENELEC Normalisation Committee, with the support of EC Directorate General Enterprise.
In the European Year of People with Disabilities 2003, several activities aimed at further spreading the achieved results, increasing the users' information and the services providers' awareness. The European Year closing event has been the Conference eAccessibility by Voice, held at Ispra (Varese, Italy).
In year 2004 we continued spreading the Project's results, encouraging the tests of the system, extending the application field to other techcnical means and considering also other difficulties in communication, security and safety, encountered by elderly, disabled or disadvantaged people.

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