May 26, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT
BOSTON – Max Plansky of the Northeastern men’s basketball team will now have a voice of his very own.
Through a non-profit Indiegogo fundraising campaign, more than $10,000 has been raised since May 21 in an effort to give Max his own unique speaking voice. Despite reaching “Trailblazer” status ($10,000) in a record 22 hours, the program will continue accepting donations until June 4, with the goal of delivering Max’s new voice by December 2015.
The technology behind the project belongs to VocaliD, which creates personalized voices for the millions of people who rely on computerized speech to communicate. Through years of research, VocaliD developed a method of blending vibrations in the voicebox with the “vocal DNA” of a donor to produce an original voice that fits and honors the recipient.
Since being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, Max has been nonmobile and mostly nonverbal. Now 16 years old, Max uses a computer to talk, but the generic voice does not sound like him. Through VocaliD, Max will have a personalized voice in which to express his love for sports and to engage with his friends and family.
As an official member of the Northeastern men’s basketball team, Max regularly attends practices and games, including the 2015 CAA championship and the NCAA tournament contest against Notre Dame in Pittsburgh. Max’s infectious happiness and strength through adversity has been a crucial component of the Huskies’ success, both on and off the court.
Through his involvement with Northeastern, Max has become interested in sports reporting, most recently interviewing players and coaches at Northeastern baseball home games. Now, as a VocaliD Trailblazer, Max will be able to follow his passion and express his thoughts in his own voice.
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