16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Dresden, Germany
September 6-10, 2015

Influence of Speaker Familiarity on Blind and Visually Impaired Children's Perception of Synthetic Voices in Audio Games

Michael Pucher (1), Markus Toman (1), Dietmar Schabus (1), Cassia Valentini-Botinhao (2), Junichi Yamagishi (2), Bettina Zillinger (3), Erich Schmid (4)

(1) FTW, Austria
(2) University of Edinburgh, UK
(3) Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt, Austria
(4) Bundes-Blindenerziehungsinstitut, Austria

In this paper we evaluate how speaker familiarity influences the engagement times and performance of blind school children when playing audio games made with different synthetic voices. We developed synthetic voices of school children, their teachers and of speakers that were unfamiliar to them and used each of these voices to create variants of two audio games: a memory game and a labyrinth game. Results show that pupils had significantly longer engagement times and better performance when playing games that used synthetic voices built with their own voices. This result was observed even though the children reported not recognising the synthetic voice as their own after the experiment was over. These findings could be used to improve the design of audio games and lecture books for blind and visually impaired children.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Pucher, Michael / Toman, Markus / Schabus, Dietmar / Valentini-Botinhao, Cassia / Yamagishi, Junichi / Zillinger, Bettina / Schmid, Erich (2015): "Influence of speaker familiarity on blind and visually impaired children's perception of synthetic voices in audio games", In INTERSPEECH-2015, 1625-1629.