MIT academic receives Callaghan Innovation funding

Dr Reza Shahamiri

MIT is about excellence.

The institute wishes to congratulate Dr Reza Shahamiri who has been awarded a $200,000 grant from Callaghan Innovation’s NSC Science for Technological Innovation Seed Projects 2017.

The Faculty of Business and IT lecturer along with his research partner Massey University’s Dr Ruili Wang will use the funding to create a prototype that allowing people with speech impairment to use voice recognition software and applications.

“We are very happy and grateful to receive the support from Callaghan Innovation. It will also give MIT students the opportunity to help with the development of the prototype and put their skills to use as well as work with cutting edge technology,” says Dr Shahamiri.

Speech disorders can be caused by stroke, neuro-degenerative diseases, brain injury or cancer and manifest themselves in a variety of different ways.

That’s why the platform Drs Shahamiri and Wang are creating must be able to be personalised for each user.

Millions of people around the world are born with speech problems with 100,000 in New Zealand according to the NZ Speech-Language Therapists’ Association.

There is a huge potential market for the systems, which could be as large as $3.5m in NZ and $5 billion in the US.

This research may not only improve the social life of those with speech disorders but also could help them to better interact with digital devices since in severe cases the damage extends to other neurological disabilities causing physical incapacitation.

It’s estimated the prototype will be ready by this time next year.