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World’s first voice banking e-book launched for people with MND

A new book has been designed and developed to help preserve the voices of people living with MND in a short, friendly process.

Posted : 15/02/2022

A first-of-its-kind e-book, which banks people’s voices as they read the story aloud, has been launched today for people living with motor neurone disease (MND). 

People with MND can lose the ability to speak and may need an aid (for example a tablet or eye-gaze) to help them communicate. SpeakUnique offers people with MND an opportunity to record their voice (known as voice banking), for use on a device later should they need it, enabling the person to communicate with a voice that sounds like their own.

Now, technology giants from across the world have collaborated with our friends at the MND Association to design and develop a book to help preserve the voices of people with MND in a short, friendly process. MND Scotland has also joined the exciting new initiative to ensure people living with MND in Scotland have free access to the e-book.

I Will Always Be Me is written from the perspective of someone living with MND, explaining to their loved ones about the condition and their experience with the disease.

The short story, authored by New York Times bestseller, Jill Twiss, takes less than half an hour to read and is designed to be an alternative option to a traditional voice banking process – which can take many hours of reading random words and phrases to produce a computerised version of a voice.

Upon finishing I Will Always Be Me, the recording is uploaded and transformed into a digital voice by SpeakUnique within 24 hours, which can then be used with communication devices as and when needed by the user.

People with MND in Scotland will have free access to this new, engaging way of recording their voice, thanks to the generosity of MND Scotland’s fundraisers and donors. This service is also available for people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland through the MND Association.

Nick Goldup, Director of Care Improvement at the MND Association said:

“Voice banking is incredibly important for someone diagnosed with MND, but traditionally it could be extremely time-consuming, laborious and often a very lonely process for the person taking part. We wanted to change that – and so we are incredibly proud that I Will Always Be Me is a completely different experience. People with MND have been at the heart of this project from the very start so it was important for us to develop something that was easy to use, engaging, and offer the opportunity to become a long-lasting, treasured resource.”

Shirley Young, MND Scotland’s Head of Direct Services, said: 

“This e-book is a fantastic resource for people with MND and will help ensure recording your voice is a much faster, and easier process. The team who developed the story have done an incredible job, and we are really proud to be supporting this innovative project, to ensure people in Scotland have the same experience as those in other parts of the UK.”

You can help make sure every person with MND in Scotland has free access to voice banking, giving people their own voice back, by donating today. You can also read more about I Will Always Be Me on the website: iwillalwaysbeme.com.

‘I Will Always Be Me’ was developed by Dell Technologies and Intel, in partnership with the MND Association of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Rolls Royce.

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“'I Will Always Be Me' is a fantastic resource for people with MND and will help ensure recording your voice is a much faster, and easier process.”

Shirley Young | Head of Direct Services

Shirley Young | Head of Direct Services