Google is testing a new ML-based app to help people with speech impairments communicate

The tech giant is looking for English speakers to help test out the "Project Relate" app.



On Tuesday, Google said it's looking for English-speaking people to test out a new machine learning-powered app that aims to help people with speech impairments communicate. The "Project Relate" app features speech-to-text functionality, speech-to-speech, and Google Assistant. 

Google researchers started working on Project Relate in 2018, building on years of research from both the company's Speech and Research teams. To improve the app, Google is now looking for "trusted testers" in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Testers will be asked to record a set of phrases that will help the app learn how to better understand their unique speech patterns. 

"Listen" is a speech-to-text feature on the app that can be used to send a text message or have a conversation with someone who reads the screen. The "Repeat" feature uses speech-to-speech technology that transforms input speech to synthesized output speech that's easier to understand. The Google Assistant feature was added to the app to help users with everyday tasks.

Google showcased the app on Tuesday to reporters alongside other projects, including using AI to advance breast cancer screening and an initiative to build a flood forecasting system. The company also delivered a pre-recorded tour of its quantum computing research lab in Santa Barbara, Calif.