Fonix Text-To-Speech integration with portable DYNAwrite device voice-enables speech-impaired individuals

New York 12 August 2002Fonix Corporation, a provider of natural-user interface technology for wireless and mobile devices, Internet and telephony systems, and vehicle telematics, and DynaVox Systems LLC, specialised in Advanced Augmentative Communication (AAC) solutions, announced that Fonix award-winning Text-To-Speech (TTS) technology has been licensed by DynaVox Systems for use with that company's new DYNAwrite speech augmentation device. By way of Fonix DECtalk TTS, DYNAwrite enables speech-impaired individuals to communicate audibly via a portable speech-output device, which offers a rich, fully customisable range of voices.

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DYNAwrite is the first keyboard-based product in the DynaVox family of augmentative communication devices. The portable device enables people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease; Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, stroke, or multiple sclerosis to communicate simply by typing. DYNAwrite's Fonix DECtalk-enabled TTS then vocalises the typed words using one of nine defined voice personalities including four female, four male, and one child. Fonix also offers TTS voices in multiple languages such as U.S. English, U.K. English, Latin-American Spanish, Castillian Spanish, and German.

"Fonix DECtalk TTS technology has been a primary technology behind some of our most popular and effective AAC products", stated Joe Swenson, President of DynaVox Systems. "Not only does Fonix give our customers the gift of speech, but it enables them to do so using a voice and a personality which matches their own. Fonix TTS offers natural-sounding and high quality voices, contributing to this technology that has helped thousands of users to increase their overall quality of life."

Powerful and easy to use, DYNAwrite offers a full-sized keyboard and multiple access methods that can change with the abilities of the user. The device offers advanced rate enhancement features such as abbreviation expansion and flexible abbreviation expansion, and can be used with a cellular phone. DYNAwrite also offers keyboard layout options for scanners including QWERTY, ABC, and Scanning Optimized.

"We are pleased to further our relationship with DynaVox Systems through the release of DYNAwrite", stated Kurt W. Flygare, Vice President of Sales for Fonix Corporation. "DYNAwrite is one of the most powerful keyboard-based AAC products on the market today. Using this convenient, portable device, with Fonix TTS, users can simply type and talk, quickly and easily."

Fonix DECtalk, one of Fonix Corporation's most popular and successful TTS technologies, turns ordinary text into natural-sounding, highly intelligible speech. The application produces clear, correct pronunciation of single characters, words, phrases, and proper names.

Fonix DECtalk TTS is capable of accurately pronouncing letters, words, or phrases at speeds from 75 to 600 words per minute. Each of its voices: Paul, Betty, Harry, Ursula, Frank, Wendy, Dennis, Rita, and Kit, can speak ethnic-specific proper names and offers punctuation control for pauses, voice pitch, and stress in order to achieve human-like speech patterns and inflection.

Major chip manufacturers, independent software and hardware vendors, and Internet content and service providers incorporate Fonix technology to provide their customers with an easier and more convenient user experience. Fonix products, including Text-To-Speech (TTS), Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), and Handwriting Recognition (HWR), provide the most natural communication solutions available.

DynaVox System's DYNAwrite AAC product with Fonix DECtalk technology will begin shipping immediately. DynaVox Systems LLC develops and manufactures advanced augmentative communication solutions, and for over 18 years has been committed to helping people with disabilities live fuller lives. The innovative products assist thousands of individuals around the world to conquer communication barriers and to excel in the classroom, workplace and the community. Other brands from DynaVox Systems include DynaVox 3100, DynaMyte 3100, Dynamo, DynaVox Software for Mac and Windows computers, and DynaSyms.


Leslie Versweyveld

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