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 the use of 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.


Sheffield Investigators: Mark Hawley, Pam Enderby, Phil Green, Stuart Cunningham, Simon Judge

Partners: Barnsley Hospital Assistive Technology team, Toby Churchill Ltd., XOVOX Communications,  Medipex Ltd

Funders: NIHR