A man with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has become the latest to benefit from technology which he has said will allow him to retain his sense of identity.
Those living with the degenerative condition often have to rely on computer technology once they have lost the ability to speak.
But the “robotic”-sounding voice – most commonly associated with Stephen Hawking – can be uncomfortable for some.
Increasingly efforts are being made to “bank” key words and phrases and create a personalised synthetic voice, which sounds far more like the person themselves..
David Welsh is one of those to have taken advantage of this technology, arguing that technological advances would make a massive difference.
“The voice is so specific to your identity – so to be able to record your voice and retain that part of your identity, I think is really good,” the 48-year-old told the Press Association.
“I was aware that MND can affect the voice, so I knew that was an area that I might possibly have complications with later on.
“I hadn’t been aware that there was this service of recording your voice, so being told about that, it was good news really. I think it’s a great way to be able to record, to have, something that is so key to your own personality…to have your identity.”
Mr Welsh now lives in Enfield, North London, but originally hails from New Zealand – meaning he has quite a distinctive accent.
He will record a thousand or so phrases to complete the “voice bank”, although he admits that the deterioration in his condition makes the task a challenge.
“I have varying energy levels. Some days I wake up and I feel very energetic and there are other days when I feel very fatigued. So that’s another factor – to try to find a day when I feel good enough to want to participate in the process.”