Film critic Roger Ebert lost the ability to speak four years ago, the result of cancer surgery that ended up taking his lower jaw. But he loves movies, and always has. Esquire had a great story about Ebert and his wife earlier this year.
Then in March, I heard that he got his voice back, sort of. He had been using a speech synthesizer on his MacBook Pro for a while, but a Scottish company that compiled his commentaries on DVD went and sampled specific words from those DVDs, then ran those through software that lets the speech synthesizer speak in Ebert’s own voice. This PopEater piece has a link to the Oprah program where Ebert debuted his new voice.
Now I hear that he’s actually going back on TV, using his new voice. How awesome is that? Hopefully the technology that helped make this possible will be used for other people as well.