Sheffield investigators

Professor Mark Hawley

Emeritus Professor Pamela Enderby

Professor Phil Green

Dr Stuart Cunningham

Simon Judge


Barnsley Hospital Assistive Technology team

Toby Churchill Ltd

XOVOX Communications

Medipex Ltd



About the project

The SPECS (Speech-driven Environmental Control System) project has developed novel environmental control systems (ECS) to help disabled people control their home environment.

ECS help disabled people maintain their independence by allowing them to control everyday household technology such as the TV, heating or lights. However, many ECS can be time consuming or physically demanding to use and using automatic speech recognition (ASR) to control these systems is an attractive alternative.

The use of ASR to control ECS has been limited in the past due to reliability issues due to background noise and the fact that many users also have a condition such as dysarthria, which affects their speech.

An advanced prototype has been developed and tested which is able to recognise commands from speakers with severe dysarthria and performs well within typical home environment. The SPECS device is undergoing final evaluation before being taken to market with a commercial partner.