If you are concerned about losing your ability to speak, Belgium-based Acapela Group‘s digital solution promises to preserve your voice forever. Acapela’s My-Own-Voice service captures the unique combination of vocal characteristics — including timbre, accent, and intonation — that define your voice. You read only 50 sentences to train the Your-Own-Voice deep neural network (DNN) text-to-speech engine. It will then be able to read text inputs in the sound of your voice. Acapela-Group won a CES 2023 Innovation Healthcare Award for its digital voice system.

Neurological conditions, infections, tumors, stroke, chest or neck injuries, and vocal cord damage during surgery are among the most common causes of voice loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you set up Your-Own-Voice while you can still speak, Acapela claims others will instantly recognize your voice. Acapela has trained the system to build personalized synthetic voices in more than 20 languages and language variations so far, with additional languages coming in the future. If you already lost your voice, you can still take advantage of Acapela’s service by asking a relative or friend to record their voice for you. If you use a voice surrogate, It won’t be your original biological voice, but you will be able to use a human voice of your choice as long as you subscribe to the service.

Your-Own-Voice is available now, with an update coming at the end of 2023 Q1. You can record your 50 sentences with PC or Mac software and hear how it sounds for free, but you’ll need to pay for a subscription to use it with a text-to-speech application. An annual subscription costs $100 a year, or you can purchase a permanent subscription for $1,000.

The ability to communicate with others using your own voice after permanent loss to disease or disability is empowering and likely a comfort to loved ones. If it becomes part of an “immortal” avatar that means never having to say goodbye, that could be a bit disconcerting. (Note that preserving voices after death is NOT part of Acapela Group’s mission.)