Research Projects

ProCEED - Prototyping Context-driven micro-Enterprise Experiences for Development

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With ProCEED, our aim is to explore the ICT design requirements of local micro-entrepreneurs in Mozambique, prototype these experiences in the form of a mobile-based service that capitalizes on an existing Portuguese TTS system to enable literate and illiterate vendors to connect with their customers, and test and evaluate the service prototype in the field. Our approach is context-driven, involving the participation of a community of micro-entrepreneurs in Maputo for ensuring that the resulting prototype is usable, sustainable, and culturally relevant. This method and the use of cultural and technological probes also facilitates testing of the TTS component for suitability and operability. ProCEED is part of a long-term aim to develop scalable TTS-enabled mobile service applications for emerging markets.

As mobile phone use continues to skyrocket in Sub-Saharan Africa, innovative approaches to mobile-based ICT service design offer an important step forward in alleviating poverty, achieving greater digital inclusion and bypassing problems of illiteracy, expensive airtime costs and lack of internet connectivity. Text-to-speech (TTS) technology offers an important yet underused dimension in ICT services that use interactive voice response as an alternative to reading and typing text. And yet, in Sub-Saharan Africa, where Indo-European languages tend to dominate, little has been done to leverage existing English, French and Portuguese TTS systems for enhancing ICT accessibility. 

Bibliographic References

- [Pa10] Panos London (2010) 'The Challenge of Digital Inclusion in Mozambique', policy briefing, London: Panos Information Society. [PDF]

- [Gr02] Grudin, J. & Pruitt, J. (2002) 'Personas, Participatory Design and Product Development', in Proc. Participatory Design Conference. [PDF]

- [Ga99] Gaver, B., Dunne, T & Pacenti, E. (1999) 'Cultural Probes', Interactions 6:1. [PDF]

- [Hu03] Hutchinson, H., Mackay, W., Westerlund, B., Bederson, B. B., Druin, A. Plaisant, C., Beaudouin-Lafon, M., Conversy, S, Evans, H., Hansen, H, Roussel, N. & Eiderbåck, B. (2003) 'Technology Probes: Inspiring Design for and with Families', in Proc. SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 5:1. [PDF]

Past Publications

- [Ra13a] Raza, A. A., Haq, F. U., Tariq, Z., Pervaiz, M., Razaq, S., Saif, U. & Rosenfeld, R. (2013) 'Job Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-based Services for Low-literate Users', in Proc. 2013 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI Best Paper Award. [PDF]
- [Ra13b] Raza, A. A., Haq, F. U., Tariq, Z., Saif, U. & Rosenfeld, R. (2013) 'Spread and Sustainability: The Geography and Economics of Speech-based Services', in ACM DEV 3. [PDF]
- [Sh07] Sherwani, J., Ali, N., Mirza, S., Fatma, A., Memon, Y., Karim, M., Tongia, R. & Rosenfeld, R. (2007) 'Healthline: Speech-based Access to Health Information by Low-literate Users', in Proc. IEEE/ACM Int'l Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development. [PDF]
- [As13] Ashby, S., Barbosa, S., Silva, C., Fumo, P. & Ferreira, J. P. (2013) 'Modeling Postcolonial Language Varieties: Challenges and Lessons Learned from Mozambican Portuguese, Proc. Interspeech, paper #896, Lyon, France. [PDF]
- [As12] Ashby, S., Barbosa, S., Brandão, S., Ferreira, J. P., Janssen, M., Silva, C. & Viaro, M. E. (2012) 'A Rule Based Pronunciation Generator and Regional Accent Databank for Portuguese', Proc. Interspeech, paper #160, Portland, Oregon. [PDF]

Additional Portuguese Unisyn Lexicon (LUPo) Publications

- [As12b] Ashby, S., Ferreira, J. P., Barbosa, S. & Silva, C. (2012) 'Rule Based Pronunciation Modeling for Resource-Scarce Varieties', Proc. Iberspeech, Madrid, Spain. [PDF]
- [As12c] Ashby, S., Viaro, M. E., Barbosa, S. & Campaniço, N. (2012) 'Modeling Phonetic Variation in Pluricentric Languages: An Integrative Approach', Dialectologia 8,
- [As12d] Ashby, S. (2012) 'Co-producers of this Means of Expression: In Support of the Study of Indigenizing Language Varieties', in Non-dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages: Getting the Picture, vol. 14, Frankfurt, Peter Lang. [PDF]
- [As11a] Ashby, S., Cummins, F., Barbosa, S. & Campaniço, N. (2011) 'Nasal Heads or Nasal Tails: A Pan Lusophone Survey of Preconsonantal Murmur', Proc. ICPhS. [PDF]
- [As11b] Ashby, S. & Barbosa, S. (2011) 'Bantu substratum interference in Mozambican Portuguese Speech Varieties', Africana Linguistica 17:3-31. [PDF]
- [As10a] Ashby, S., Barbosa, S. & Ferreira, J. P. (2010) 'Introducing Non-Standard Luso-African Varieties into the Digital Domain', Proc. FALA. [PDF]
- [As10b] Ashby, S. & Ferreira, J. P. (2010) 'Reuse of Lexicographic Data for a Multipurpose Pronunciation Database and Phonetic Transcription Generator for Regional Variants of Portuguese', Proc. Euralex. [PDF]
- [As10c] Ashby, S. & Ferreira, J. P. (2010) 'The Role of Morphology in Generating High-Quality Pronunciation Lexica for Regional Variants of Portuguese', in Computational Processing of the Portuguese Language, vol. 6001, Berlin-Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 162-165. [PDF]
- [As09] Ashby, S., Ferreira, J. P. & Barbosa, S. (2009) 'Adapting the Unisyn Lexicon to Portuguese: Preliminary Issues in the Development of LUPo', Proc. Iberian SL Tech. [PDF


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