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Virtual Home Assistants for People with Dysarthria

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    Virtual Home Assistants for People with Dysarthria

    Virtual Home Assistants for People with Dysarthria

    Researchers at Cardiff University are conducting an interview study to understand the needs of people with dysarthria (a type of speech impairment) better. Many people with MND experience weakness in the bulbar region, affecting muscles of the mouth, throat and tongue. This can lead to problems with speech and voice, which affects the ability to communicate.

    This research proposes a new technique for people affected by dysarthria to interact with virtual home assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. The proposed technique overcomes people with dysarthria’s communication difficulties and enables them to use a theses device with non-verbal sound cues. The work will enable people with dysarthria, to be independent and give them the ability to use latest technologies such as home assistants equal to people without this impairment. Interviews will allow the researchers to assess the needs and requirements for building the system.

    Who is invited to take part?

    People who:
    • Aged 18+ and diagnosed with dysarthria.
    • Do not have any other medical condition that affects language production (e.g aphasia).
    • Have the capacity to give consent.
    • Have an internet connection, computer, or any alternative to be able to have online interviews.
    What would I need to do?

    As a person with MND, you are in an ideal position to give us valuable first-hand information from your own experience. The involvement will also include collecting voice recording if the participant agreed.

    Taking part of this study involves, interviews, voice recording sessions and system testing.
    • Interviews: Will be online or offline. Interview will be recorded.
    • Voice recording sessions: will ask you to record different sounds (online).
    • System testing: video recording (in case study is done remotely) before and during testing the system. In addition to answering questionnaire.

    Where do I find more information?

    Take part by filling in thisform or email the researcher, Aisha Joddha at [email protected]. You can find more details, including the participant information sheet, on this website.

    Please be aware the end date to take part in this research, is the 14th May 2021.

    Our working hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am until 5pm

    I'd laugh if I could.


      Isn’t it worth exploring Matthew?You could explain your communication methods at the moment and see what’s on offer?
      Best wishes


        Written communication is my only communication.



          Notwithstanding the wish of this PhD student to better the life of those with dysarthria, which is admirable, I read the blurb and you need to be able to hum which, to those with speech, sounds easy enough, but for those with no speech, to be told to hum instead of to speak, shows a lack of understanding of what ability those who have no speech are left with.

          Humming, or the ability to make and sustain any consistently recognisable sound, is very much dependent on one’s breathing ability - repetition with consistency of any sound is beyond many people with MND, but those same people are the very cohort who stand to gain most from advancements in assistive technology.

          ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
          Eye gaze user - No functional limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.


            I am always eager to participate in any reasonable research study to help others and myself improve the quality of life when living with MND. When you look at the application form it doesn’t even mention MND but it lists other conditions which result in dysarthria. The other question posed on the application form is what type of dysarthria and lists Ataxic, Spastic, Flaccid and Hypokinetic. Come on!

            As a lay member of the Sheffield Research Advisory Group this project would never have been approved in it’s current form.

            Please feel free to share my comments with the researchers.

            I’m going to do this even if it kills me!