AI startup creates realistic voice technology breakthrough

A Dutch startup, DAISYS B.V., has announced a new development in voice technology with human-sounding voices by means of artificial intelligence.

The innovation narrates written text in a natural way, generating new and realistically sounding voices. Speech properties such as speed and pitch can be adjusted in real time to allow the voice to be customised.

Over the last year and a half, the company, which is based in Leiden, the Netherlands, has worked with a small international team of AI developers to create the technology. “We’ve made several important adjustments to existing basic technology,” said Dr.ir Joost Broekens, CTO at DAISYS. “In addition, we had to cleverly ‘train’ our models, using the right balance of speech data from different speakers. Because of this, we’ve managed to generate new, naturally sounding voices that can be real-time adjusted by means of gender, pitch, power and speed.”

Barnier Geerling, CEO of DAISYS added: “This is a huge breakthrough. Up until now, naturally sounding voices were always deepfake, based on audio data of professional speakers. But deepfakes in text-to-speech for many reasons aren’t usable. One of those reasons is that not everyone wishes to lend out their voice without having control about what is being said with it. With this technology, as the first company in the world, we are able to create new voices that sound like real people.”

Geerling continued: “In addition, this technology makes it easier and faster to apply speech-steered technology. The market potential is enormous, think of audio-visual media using voiceovers, or ‘talking’ cars, robots, or appliances. For manufacturers this means the possibility to integrate realistic speech in their products becomes much easier and more efficient.”

The new voice technology is suitable for all online and offline surroundings where the human voice is used, like traditional media, smart devices, games, robots, speech assistants and public announcement systems.

Image: Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock

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