THE voices of loved ones could live on with families for generations under an innovation being pioneered on by a Bournemouth company.

Voice Bank will allow people to record samples of their speech and have them stored and reused by software which uses Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant.

The invention will use text-to-speech programs so the voice can speak any information it is given, or potentially even read bedtime stories, copyright permitting.

It has been developed by the digital technology company Rarely Impossible, which recently unveiled a way to use Alexa to help children with spellings using the phonics system which common in schools.

Claire Crombie, customer engagement director at Rarely Impossible, said: “Someone in the team lost someone a few years ago and they said the hardest thing is you won’t feel them, by the certain way they might say something. This got us thinking.”

She said the team had learned from experience of creating the Alien Words phonics ‘skill’ for Alexa. “We learned that it is not just about what you say but the sounds you use to say it. There are about 44 sounds, known as phonemes, even though there are only 26 letters in the alphabet,” she said.

“I have recorded about 150 sentences and that took about one hour to run through the model. To get a really good model to work from, you would need to record around 500 sentences. To run this through the learning model would take about a day.

“So 500 would take a day and we need to make sure the right sentences are being captured so that it will recreate the voice to be identical.”

Sentences will be recorded into a phone app and stored on that device, so the user would only export them for storage elsewhere if they wanted to.

The software is currently in testing, but the aim is to make the voice capture app available for free and possibly charge to turn it into new speech.

Ms Crombie said the technology they were using was improving. “Over time, the model is learning emotion and inflections and it is getting better and better as time goes on,” she said.

Voice Bank is part of Rarely Impossible’s aim to release new products or content regularly to the public.

A video about the product is at