Dell and Intel Made a Storybook for People With MND to Digitize Their Voices

VMLY&R simplifies a gut-wrenching process

MND (motor neuron disease) is a cruel neurodegenerative condition that deteriorates muscular nerve cells. In a matter of time that varies by person, it robs them of their voice. It's vital for those diagnosed to bank their voice as quickly as possible, but the process is typically time consuming and overwhelming.

Dell Technologies and Intel worked with their shared agency, VMLY&R, along with the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Rolls-Royce to come up with a way to make voice banking an easier process while also explaining MND—which includes diseases like ALS—to family and friends.

"I Will Always Be Me" is a book for people with MND that banks their voices as they read out loud.

Written by author Jill Twiss and illustrated by Nicholas Stevenson, the book is told from the perspective of someone with MND. It gently explains that while their body will change, their personality will remain the same. It takes about 30 minutes to read. Every sound necessary to create a digital voice is embedded in the story naturally.

"People diagnosed with MND don't know how to tell their families," says Wayne Best, global chief creative officer on Dell at VMLY&R. "We wanted to simplify the voice banking experience and make it easier. Before this, about 12 percent of people were banking their voices. Some would stop halfway through because it was a bad experience. It was done over the course of months and patients had to record a minimum of 1,600 words."

"We also solved the challenge of the words having no meaning," adds Alli Pierce, global chief creative officer on Intel at VMLY&R. "The voice was robotic. When they are telling the story, there's a more human-sounding voice."

Instead of leaving home to record words and phrases, patients can go online and record the book in one or multiple sittings. Users can re-record pages if necessary, and once completed, can send the recording to SpeakUnique for a digital voice. The book can also be sent to family and friends online. The project is currently available in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

VMLY&R created a 6:30 video to launch the book. It's an intimate look at people with MND describing the emotions felt when their doctors diagnosed them. The families are distraught about the future and what will happen to their loved ones. The latter half shows those with MND recording their book, with their family beside them. When they receive the synthesized version of their voice, you can hear their tone and personality in a digitized form.

I Will Always Be Me | The Book That Banks Your Voice

"When you are diagnosed with ALS, folks don't know when they will lose their voice," Pierce tells Muse. "We're creating awareness that voice banking is important and making it more well-known."

Intel created a 4:45 video that tells the story behind the book. Stuart Moss, head of IT innovation at Rolls-Royce, shares the story of his father being diagnosed with MND. Moss connected with the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Dell and Intel to create a think tank, which led to the book's creation.

Intel | I Will Always Be Me | The Story Behind the Book

"A couple of times I thought the project might die," says Best. "It was not easy to bring to life. The synthesized voice brought out their personality, humor and whimsy. It makes it not so sad and that makes it more emotional. We see this more of a tech thing than a health thing, but their merging is powerful."

CREDITS

VMLY&R 
Debbi Vandeven - Global Chief Creative Officer 
Jason Xenopoulos - Chief Creative Officer, North America
Wayne Best – Chief Creative Officer 
Alli Pierce - Chief Creative Officer
Niraj Zaveri – Executive Creative Director 
Justin Ebert – Executive Creative Director 
Tal Shub – Creative Director 
Carlos Pabon – Creative Director 
Bobby Jacques – Group Executive Producer 
Dan Bradbury – Senior Producer 
Allison Raich – Senior Producer 
Louisa Gargiulo – Senior Producer 
Fernando Martinez – Director of Production, Experience Innovation 
Maggie Diaz – Senior Content Production Business Manager 
Theresa Notartomaso - Executive Music Producer
Karli James – Music Production Assistant
Jennifer Bonhomme - Managing Director of Strategy & Insights
Jorik Houweling - Strategy Director
Rachel Krouse – Executive Business Lead 
Allie Ritter – Group Director, Client Engagement 
Ally Reis – Account Supervisor 
Jenny Anderson – Senior Account Manager 
Marissa Schulz - Director, Client Engagement
Saira Khan – Associate Account Manager 

Dell Technologies 
Liz Matthews – SVP of Global Brand
Rachael Henke - Senior Director, B2B Campaigns & Talent Attraction 
Valerie Daubert – Strategic Initiatives Lead and Project Manager
Peggi Kaley – Marketing Director, Global Customer Engagements  
Sonia Sharma – Marketing Campaign Manager 
Amanda Metti - Global Sponsorship Lead
Jackie Keating - Social Impact Marketing
Talia Hill – Corporate Communications 
Dayne Turbitt - Senior Vice President & GM, UK
Ilana Lassman – Head of Social Impact and Corporate Sponsorships, UK&I 

Intel Corporation 
John Coyne - VP/GM, Brand, Creative & Media
Kari Lemiere-Mullan – Director of Marketing Strategy, Brand Storytelling & Partnerships
Karen Frey – Marketing Specialist
Kelly Lynch – Brand Strategist, Partner Brand Campaigns & Corporate Sponsorships
Sarah Allen, UK Communications
Lama Nachman, Director of Human & AI Systems Research Lab
Darryl Adams - Director of Accessibility
Nicholas Day - Global Sales, Dell Account
Jason Priest, Global Sales & Marketing, Dell Consumer/Small Business

Motor Neuron Disease Association 
Nick Goldup – Director of Care Improvement 
Richard Cave – Project Manager SLT 

Rolls-Royce 
Stuart Moss – Head of IT Innovation 

Production Company: Borderland 
Simon Frost – Director & Director of Photography 
Ben Hanson – Director & Director of Photography 
Zoe Barlow – Managing Director & Executive Producer 
Frances Ellis – Production Manager 
Lili Bo Therin – Production Assistant 

SpeakUnique 
Alice Smith – Chief Executive Officer 
Jeremy Jones – Digital Developer 
Oliver Watts – Chief Technology Officer & Speech Scientist 
Siddharthan Chandran – Advisor  

Jam3 
Florian Root – Associate Executive Producer 
Helen Tucker-Lalloo – Executive Producer 
Sean Crawford – Group Director of Production        
Tim Blokker - Technical Project Manager
Dirk van Ginkel – Executive Creative Director 
Elisabetta Balconi – Creative Director & Experience Designer 
Victoire Douy – Senior Interactive Designer
Fabiola Nardecchia - Sr. UX Designer
Ben Wager – Technical Director 
Thomas Van der Meer – Lead Frontend Developer

Music by Human
Audio Post by Post Human
EP: James Dean Wells
Creative Lead & Chief Engineer: Sloan Alexander
Post Producer: Rob Suchecki

Patient Film Composers
Adam del Ruedas del Rio
Jonathan Russell

Partner Film Composers
John Chris Barnes
Sloan Alexander
Jonathan Hubbell
Adam del Ruedas del Rio
Jonathan Russell

The Mill 
James Tillett – Colorist 
Ashley Woods – Color Assist 
Evan Bauer – Sr. Color Producer 

Jill Twiss - Author
Nicholas Stevenson - Illustrator

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Amy Corr
Amy Corr is senior editor of Muse by Clio.

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