Stroke victims who lost the ability to talk have real hope of regaining a voice thanks to the technology that harnesses brain activity to produce synthesized speech, researchers said on Wednesday.
University of California scientist, San Francisco, implanted electrodes into the brains of volunteers and decoded signals in cerebral speech centers to guide a computer-simulated version of their vocal tract – lips, jaw, tongue and larynx – to generate speech through a synthesizer.
This speech was mostly intelligible, though somewhat slurred in parts, raising hope among the researchers that with some improvements a clinically viable device could be developed in the coming years for patients with speech loss.
“We were shocked when we first heard the results – we couldn’t believe our ears. It was incredibly exciting that a lot of the aspects of real speech were present in the output from the synthesizer,” said study co-author and UCSF doctoral student Josh Chartier. “Clearly, there is more work to get this to be more natural and intelligible but we were very impressed by how much can be decoded from brain activity.”
Stroke, ailments such as cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, brain injuries and cancer sometimes take away a person’s ability to speak.
Some people use devices that track eye or residual facial muscle movements to laboriously spell out words letter-by-letter, but producing text or synthesized speech this way is slow, typically no more than 10 words per minute. Natural speech is usually 100 to 150 words per minute.
The five volunteers, all capable of speaking, were given the opportunity to take part because they were epilepsy patients who already were going to have electrodes temporarily implanted in their brains to map the source of their seizures before neurosurgery. Future studies will test the technology on people who are unable to speak.
“Very few of us have any real idea, actually, of what’s going on in our mouth when we speak,” said neurosurgeon Edward Chang, senior author of the study published in the journal Nature. “The brain translates those thoughts of what you want to say into movements of the vocal tract, and that’s what we’re trying to decode.”
The researchers were more successful in synthesizing slower speech sounds like “sh” and less successful with abrupt sounds like “b” and “p.” The technology did not work as well when the researchers tried to decode the brain activity directly into speech, without using a virtual vocal tract.
“We are still working on making the synthesized speech crisper and less slurred. This is in part a consequence of the algorithms we are using, and we think we should be able to get better results as we improve the technology,” Chartier said.
“We hope that these findings give hope to people with conditions that prevent them from expressing themselves that one day we will be able to restore the ability to communicate, which is such a fundamental part of who we are as humans,” he added.
The user said when a traditional car goes up in flames, everybody knows it’s not common. But when a Tesla does it, they wonder if it’s a harbinger of a dystopian future where everybody’s cars blow up because of weird technology.
Akothee Celebrates Mzungu Baby Daddy’s Birthday.
Singer Akothee who is a mother of 5 has celebrated her French baby daddy Dominic’s birthday in a lengthy message. Mr Dominic Decherf is the father to Akothee’s last born, Papa Oyoo.
In a lengthy message on her instagram post, Akothee narrates how Mr Dominic proposed to her on this day 11 years ago; which also happened to be his birthday.
Sharing cute throwback photos from their engagement day, Akothee revealed that on the same day Dominic bought her a new home worth Ksh 45 M in Mombasa.
Akothee met Dominic alias Papa Oyoo when she was a taxi driver in Shanzu and she was then living in a rented home.
Akothee went on by highlighting some of the things she has achieved since she met him. Madam Boss has also went on to become a big brand influencer in Kenya.
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It was on a day like this 17. 9 2009 on your birthday ,that you proposed me and bought me a house behind the then nakumat @ 45M. The Muzungu who was selling the house to us ,thought I was naive and he could steal from us ? You loved the home so much that you dint want to let go , the Muzungu still wanted to keep his bedroom upstairs for his holidays 😂😂😂I had never owned a property before ,but trust me , it dint make sense to me and I could not imagine sharing a compound with that man🙆,I had known him for over 3 year's, we used to come to that house for dinner with friends during our hustle mood 😂😂😂😂, and he used to play very rich Swiss guy , Don't ask me what I was doing there ,😂😂😂. You thought the kids & me would be happy in that home 🙏 you loved the pool and the chef Mr shinando , you wanted to see your queen happy . I had to protect you and our property . Now today I want to tell you that Since I met you ,I have known that true love and Angels still exist ❣️. Come and see what the girl you met as a taxi driver living in shanzu at Toles own compound rented house ,has become 💪 1. A mega star 2. An entertainer 3. An entrepreneur 👉@akotheesafaris 4. The number one leading & highly paid brand Ambassador/ influencer in Kenya @akno.tela 5 . An investor @akothenproperties 6. The original philanthropist @akotheefoundation On top of it 7 . THE AKOTHEE FAN BASE ( the only celeb with no haters , just loyal fans and admires ) 💪 8. An eminent MEMBER of ELREB . LOVED BY MANY & RESPECTED BY ALL 👉FROM GRASS TO GRACE 👉FROM SHAME TO FAME 👉FROM GRACE TO GRACE 🙏The only man who would like to see me grow . Mr Dominic decherf Wuon Oyoo @papaoyoo When counting my blessings ,I count you 7 times . You are my HERO ,MY ORIGINE , THANK YOU FOR ALWAYS BEING THERE FOR ME AND THE KIDS.not forgetting the many trips you made with me to childrens court🙏 fighting over a child that is not yours 🤦DOMINIC WHO ARE YOU AGAIN? Help me wish Papa OYOO HAPPY BIRTHDAY And I wouod like to award one of my fans sharing birthday with Papa Oyoo Drop your birthday month and date and tag @rarainthekitchen
Cardi B Files For Divorce From Rapper Offset
After their 3 years of marriage, Cardi B has filed for divorce from her husband and fellow hip-hop star Offset, according to court records.
The couple, who married secretly in September 2017 and have a two-year old daughter named Kulture.
Court records obtained shows that Cardi B is seeking custody of their daughter Kulture and child support from Offset. Cardi B filed for divorce on Tuesday in Georgia, where the couple have been living and also the home state of Kiari Cephus majorly known as Offset.
The couple had already been through a well-publicized rough patch that resulted in her announcing their break-up almost two years ago where Cardi B talked of it in an Instagram video in December 2018. “We got a lot of love for each other but things just haven’t been working out between us for a long time. It’s just like, I guess we just grew out of love, but we’re not together anymore,” she said in the Instagram video.
Offset then asked for forgiveness on-stage in front of a crowd at her Rolling Loud concert, though it was not well received by Cardi B’s fans.
Cardi B celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary with a post on Intagram page, alongside a picture of the two of them together with the caption, “We keep learning and growing. That’s what marriage about.”
Cardi B, is known for hits include WAP, Bodak Yellow and I Like It. Offset on the other hand is a member of the Migos Band.
No laughing matter: Kenya’s premiere quarantine comedy club to take over your screens
254 QCC LLC. is set to launch the much-awaited online comedy performance show in the next two weeks. Dubbed 254 Quarantine Comedy Club (254 QCC) focusing on providing an avenue for artists and creatives to earn a living through digital comedy and entertainment. Artists and creatives signed onto the platform provide their services by entertaining hundreds of thousands of Kenyans who tune in live online to the weekly 254 Quarantine Comedy Club show.
“This is a platform designed to use art to better the community by giving the artists themselves an audience to perfect their skills as well as a source of income,” said Dorothy Ogega the Founder of 254 Quarantine Comedy Club.
254 Quarantine Comedy Club seeks to make a serious statement in the Kenya showbiz industry by redefining how the entertainment business is run. The creatives once signed onto the show, whose only requirement is to have talent and prepare a set, are remunerated no more than two hours after their performance. Unlike the traditional perform-and-wait, the 254 Quarantine Comedy Club is pegged on the belief that artists and creatives are among those most affected by the lack of shows and live performances.
There have been several editions of 254 QCC including the Kericho Edition which attracted popular MCs Kiptabut & Joyrider, Comedians Tipsy, Bartinga, Galgalo and Inspekta Nikko among many others. The show, which was streamed live was supported by the Kericho County Governor, His Excellency Paul Chepkwony.
Among the most notable names to have performed on 254 Quarantine Comedy Club include comedians Akuku Danger, Mulamwah, Smart Joker, Rib Crackers, JB Masanduku, and Comediennes Adhis Jojo and Nasra, with 2 special appearance from Afro-fusion singer and Peace Ambassador Iddi Achieng (HSC.)
The show is hosted by MC Sleepy David, having also attracted famed guest host Captain Otoyo.
254 Quarantine Comedy Club has appealed to a set of diverse performers including musicians and deejays, among them Kriss Darling. The show is also currently in talks with singer-songwriter Eric Wainaina for a collaboration.
“We want to churn out comedy that is no joke, to provide a platform for creatives to market their talents and get paid. You work, you get paid, that is our mantra,” said Daphne Kemunto, an Associate and Project Lead on 254 QCC.
254 Quarantine Comedy Club promises to be more than just a comedy platform. Already there are works in the pipeline where the creatives signed on to 254 QCC are collaborating with local communities to promote them.
Dorothy Ogega adds, “We want to use our art to better the community by launching projects that benefit them. The first project we are launching is a resource water tank in one of the largest informal settlements in Kenya as we identify areas of needs and address them.”
254 Quarantine Comedy Club is managed by Kenya’s top creative minds with industry experience spanning decades in media, film and television. The show is run by Henry Wesonga and Evans Obare under the stewardship of the long-serving Creative Director Victor Ber.
The 254 Quarantine Comedy Club has so far held 4 main shows with 3 other targeted closed audience shows.
“254 Quarantine Comedy Club is made for creatives, with creatives and enjoyed by everyone. It’s not just entertainment, it’s an experience. We are calling out to partners who would like to join us and support our creatives, let’s grow this industry together,” said Dorothy Ogega.
The 254 Quarantine Comedy Club is currently available for live streaming on its social media pages @254qcc on Instagram and FB Live on 254 Quarantine Comedy Club from 10PM Kenya Time, 3PM US, 8PM UK, 9PM Europe and 11PM UAE.
ABOUT DOROTHY OGEGA
Dorothy Ogega is the Founder of 254 Quarantine Comedy Club LLC. A geriatic nurse by training, and calling, she migrated to the USA in 1997 where she specialises in Diabetes Management. She also sits on the board of TeleAfya LLC as a Co-founder.
As a free platform, 254 Quarantine Comedy Club relies on commissions to support its operations. 254 QCC is currently in partnership with TeleAfya LLC., Hillpark Hotel and TwaTwa Express.
You can reach her on: Dorothy Ogega <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Healthcare App inspired by a toothache to bite off more health problems
When Vincent Chepkwony saw his mother’s health condition escalate from a mere toothache to a full-blown health problem, he knew something had to be done about Kenya’s access to healthcare. This was in January 2017.
“My mother attended Kapkatet Hospital to get medication only to be referred to Litei Hospital. Because of the congestion at Litei Hosital, and the severe pain my mother was going through, she took matters into her own hands and begged one of the nurses to help her. Long story short, she was given the wrong medication which aggravated her condition, until when we found out much later,” says Vincent.
Something had to be done. Three years later, and something has been done.
“From that moment, a seed was planted in me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What if my mother had died?”
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Truer words have never been spoken. Armed with an idea and passion, Vincent migrated to the US for further studies in the year 2000, graduating a Master’s in Software Engineering and Digital Health Informatics.
Together with Ms. Dorothy Ogega, Vincent founded TeleAfya, a health awareness app that seeks to devolve healthcare access to the basic level. The mission he says is to provide healthcare especially to disadvantaged minorities, including women and children in maligned counties in the country.
But this predicament is not unique to Vincent.
How many times have you gone to the hospital and stood in line for hours and hours and at the end of it all end up getting poor service? Or no service at all? How many doctors have you seen asking for kick-backs or going for extended lunch breaks with patients dying in line?
With TeleAfya App, all this is mitigated as the most available doctor is always on duty. It’s not just the doctor choosing the patient, but you choosing the doctor as well. Patients who would normally travel for hours, sometimes in the case of referral hospitals the whole day and end up returning home without a diagnosis from the doctor, now have an easier way out.
A home to doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacies, midwives, and community health workers, TeleAfya has partnerships with transport services such as ambulances and organizations with vehicles, becoming a one-stop shop for everything health. You can almost say, a hospital in your pocket.
But you don’t need to have a smartphone to enjoy its services.
Currently in partnership with Sosit Dispensary and Kapkatet Health Center as local dispatch centers, other dispatchers are being on-boarded at the moment in Mombasa and Kilifi counties.
TeleAfya describes itself as a ‘Healthcare Digital Transformation Hub’. TeleAfya prides itself as the home of Digital Healthcare Policy Entrepreneurs who are keen on helping governments and individuals solve healthcare delivery problems that need urgent attention by setting a blueprint for health care access and delivery across Africa.
“TeleAfya is going to foster easy communication with people in mashinani. Just like M-Pesa, TeleAfya will be that account that has everything about your health. As long as you have your phone, your health is at your fingertips,” says TeleAfya Co-founder & Marketing Director Dorothy Ogega.
TeleAfya connects patients to specialized medical services that may be otherwise unavailable in their community. It also allows patients to avoid the time associated with traveling long distances in order to see a specialty service provider in-person. Additionally, patients can avoid extra visits, scheduling, and wait periods if the specialist is regularly available for TeleAfya appointments.
Medical health care providers can partner with TeleAfya, access its database of patients, and earn an extra income whilst simultaneously increasing their client base and capacity to travel around the country to tend to patients.
In this case, a nurse and clinical officer can pair up together to provide care such as routine health screenings to patients across the county without having to spend on any costs of establishing a business.
From solving his mother’s toothache problem and now setting his sights on East Africa, TeleAfya is always moving but never losing the aim of its target. ‘Making healthcare accessible to all.’
The TeleAfya App is currently available for download on Google Playstore for Android users. iPhone compatibility and the Pandemic Integrated Tracing and Testing System are currently in the testing phase with a view to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
With TeleAfya, your health is now in your hands. Literally.
ADULTING SURVIVAL GUIDE I Things You Need In Your First Apartment.
Growing up, I always fantasized about moving out and living in my own space. Not that I hated living with my parents. The idea of having my own space to myself always excited me. Fast forward to adulthood, I now have my place that I’m pretty much proud of. This article is practically about your first apartment checklist.
As much as you may want to get brand new stuff for your house, I’d advise you to look for bargains, let’s say like preowned items like that old sofa at your parent’s house or stuff you’ve found at your local thrift store. There’s no need to buy brand new everything. I have put together a helpful first apartment checklist to help you sort through the essentials and remember the little, but important things you need when moving into your first apartment home.
- Welcome Mat.
- Area Rug.
- Shoe Rack.
2. LIVING ROOM
- Couch and Chairs.
- Coffee Table.
- Throw Pillows.
- Throw Blankets.
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Soooooo happy with the house progress so far 😍😍😍 I finally have a place where I can comfortably create and it's making 2019 a lot better – that's why I took some time away, to build my sanctuary 🤗🤗 Now that it's "done" and I'm back, let me know what type of content you'd be into watching 🤷🏾♀️🤷🏾♀️ Working in today's video so I will have two this week & moving forward so watch this house tour if you haven't already and sub for more yes? #linkinbio 😘😘😘 #housetour #openplan #accentwall
- Pots and Pans.
- Cups, dishes and utensils.
- Dish towels.
- Drying rack.
- Trash can.
- A comfortable mattress.
- Sheets, pillows and blankets.
- Full-length mirror.
- Bath and hand towels.
- Bath mat.
- Toiletry storage containers.
- Cleaning supplies.
- Toilet plunger and brush.
- Toilet paper holder.
I hope this simple apartment checklist helps you organize your move and ease the stress that comes along with setting up a new home. Keep in mind that moving into your first apartment is only the beginning, the memories and moments you spend filling it with love and joy are what truly makes it feel like home.