UPDATED: Watch video of Ebert using his new voice after the jump.

Ah, science, how wonderful you are. When I learned that illustrious film critic Roger Ebert would never be able to use his natural speaking voice again, I, like many others, wondered if he'd take to using text-to-speech converter not unlike what famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking uses to communication. Turns out Ebert has indeed been working toward a speech aid, only his artificial voice will have a distinct advantage over the more robotic tones most associate with the technology; it speaks in his actual voice.

Ebert has an interesting post up at his own blog detailing how he came to deal with his new-found mute-hood, and, as with all of Ebert's candid posts about his battle with cancer, it's a bittersweet read. In it he outlines a few experiments with using standard issue software (his wife liked the British variant he now uses around the house) before one day stumbling across CereProc, a Scottish-based firm on the cutting-edge of synthesized voice technology. Ebert then opened a dialog with the company in the hope that they could develop a custom voice synthesizer pieced together from past recordings of Ebert's voice.
categories Cinematical