The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is proud to share that we have been featured in episode two of “The Age of A.I.,” a new YouTube Originals documentary series that takes an immersive look at artificial intelligence and its potential to change the world. The new learning series is hosted by Robert Downey Jr. and available to stream on YouTube.com/Learning beginning on December 18.

Episode 2 features former NFL linebacker Tim Shaw, who is battling ALS, as he works with a team at Google to help restore his ability to communicate, testing the prototype of Project Euphonia for the first time. Through Project Euphonia, Google and ALS TDI partnered to develop technology that can help ALS patients with speech impairments, like Tim, communicate using their smartphone.

Below are some frequently asked questions about Project Euphonia and additional resources to learn more about the project and Google partnership.

 

What is Project Euphonia?

Project Euphonia is a collaboration between ALS TDI and Google to develop tools to help ALS patients with speech impairments communicate. Project Euphonia seeks to train Google’s standard speech recognition algorithms to understand speech by people with difficulty speaking caused by the weakening of the facial muscles due to ALS.

 

What is ALS TDI’s involvement in Project Euphonia?

Project Euphonia relies in part on data from ALS TDI’s Precision Medicine Program(PMP). PMP is the most comprehensive and longest running translational research study in ALS. Through PMP, researchers at ALS TDI partner with people with ALS around the world to share and gather data on voice, movement, lifestyle, medical and family histories, genetics, biomarkers, and patient cell biology to better understand the disease.

Many participants in the PMP have recorded hundreds or thousands of specific phrases in order to help improve Google’s speech recognition algorithms – allowing mobile phones and computers to more reliably recognize and transcribe the phrases expressed. This could allow people with ALS to independently send text messages or to generate spoken commands using Google Home devices.

 

When will this technology be available for me?

We do not currently know when the voice-recognition technology developed through Project Euphonia will be available to the public. ALS TDI’s role in the project consists of providing data and collaborating with the Google research team. Google will make the decision as to when and how these technologies will be made available.

 

Can I contribute my voice data to Project Euphonia?

Data from ALD TDI’S Precision Medicine Program is an integral part of Project Euphonia. Anyone with ALS can add their data to PMP—regardless of where you live or what stage of the disease you are at If you’d like to participate, you can sign up here.

Where can I find out more about the Project Euphonia voice technology featured in “The Age of A.I.”?

You can find more information about Project Euphonia on Google’s Artificial Intelligence blog.