Duration: 2011 – 2014

Project Description:


For people with a physical impairment, using switches and buttons to control everyday technology and devices is not always easy. Although voice control could be a viable solution, vocal interfaces for so-called ‘assistive devices’ are not yet widely implemented – because of several reasons:

  • Users that could benefit from voice control often have a speech pathology as well, making (even state-of-the-art) speech recognizers virtually useless.
  • A user’s voice may change over time due to progressive speech impairments, the environment, changing body position, etc. – requiring the voice control solution to adapt / learn ‘spontaneously’ for the system to work properly.

The ALADIN (Adaptation and Learning for Assistive Domestic Vocal Interfaces) project addresses current solutions’ shortcomings, thus making voice control a viable aid. The ALADIN interface is capable of learning what is the meaning of a certain command, which words are used, and what are the user’s vocal characteristics. This gives users much more flexibility, and helps them overcome current limitations: they can formulate commands as they like, using the words they are able to pronounce. The commands are learned while users are using the device.

Team members from CUO | Social Spaces:

Jan Derboven, Jonathan Huyghe

Research groups:
ESAT (KU Leuven)
CLiPS (UAntwerpen)
MOBILAB (Thomas More)
CUO|Social Spaces (KU Leuven)

Industrial partners:



Jort F. Gemmeke, Bart Ons, Netsanet Tessema, Hugo Van hamme, Janneke van de Loo, Guy De Pauw, Walter Daelemans, Jonathan Huyghe, Jan Derboven, Lode Vuegen, Bert Van Den Broeck, Peter Karsmakers and Bart Vanrumste. Self-taught assistive vocal interfaces: An overview of the ALADIN project. In Proc. INTERSPEECH, pages 2038-2043, 2013.

Derboven, J.  (2013). Adaptivity Considered Harmful? Issues in the Interaction between Users and Adaptive Systems. Keynote talk presented at LICT Scientific Symposium on Adaptivity in ICT. Leuven.

Mathijs Verstraete, Jan Derboven, Jort F. Gemmeke, P. Karsmakers, B. Van Den Broeck and H. Van Hamme. The design of voice controlled assistive technology for people with physical disabilities. In Language Technology in Pervasive Computing (LTPC), 2012.

Recent activities:

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