Philips North America announced VoiceItt, developer of the voice recognition software TalkItt, as the grand prize winner of the second annual Philips Innovation Fellows competition, in partnership with global web-based crowd funding site Indiegogo, recognizing the company and technology as the next meaningful innovation in health and well-being.
According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 7.5 million people in the United States alone have trouble using their own voices.  TalkItt empowers people with motor, speech or language disorders to easily communicate. By recognizing the user’s vocal patterns, the app will translate unintelligible pronunciation from any language into understandable speech via a smartphone, tablet or computer.
“We are honored that Philips and its employees – who strive to create meaningful innovations in the area of health and technology every day – have recognized our efforts to help people live more fulfilling lives,” said Jessica Eisenberg, Marketing Manager, VoiceItt. “Winning Philips Innovation Fellows will help us change the lives of individuals living with speech disabilities caused by medical conditions, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, as well as their family members, caregivers and friends, who communicate with them daily.”
VoiceItt, which was selected from among five finalists as the contest winner by Philips employees, will receive $60,000 in prize money, in addition to the $25,235 it raised through the contest’s presence on Indiegogo during the crowdsourcing phase of the competition. Along with the monetary prize, VoiceItt will receive mentoring from Philips executives and relevant business leaders.
“VoiceItt’s mission to give a voice to those who struggle to speak because of a medical condition embodies our vision for meaningful innovation,” said Brent Shafer, CEO of Philips North America. “The potential of TalkItt to improve so many lives resonated with our judging panel and our employees, and we’re honored to name them the winner of our second annual Innovation Fellows competition.”
Last year, Philips named Fosmo Med the grand prize winner of the inaugural Philips Innovation Fellows competition. Fosmo Med’s Maji Intravenous (IV) saline bag creates a sterile solution through reverse osmosis from any water, clean or dirty. The product has currently completed the R&D phase and request for determination has been submitted to the FDA. Once approved, Maji could be used for treating diseases, such as cholera, in disaster regions and developing countries worldwide.
Philips practices what it preaches. It is featured in Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results for its use of the Subtraction Technique in creating the Slimline DVD player.
“The Philips Innovation Fellows competition has provided credibility for our cause, ultimately raising our profile among investors,” said Ben Park, CEO and founder of Fosmo Med. “After working closely with Philips executives, it became clear that we shared the same goal: creating technology that saves and improves lives. This competition equipped us with the resources needed to finish our R&D efforts and prepare for the FDA phase of the project, which will bring us one step closer to market.”