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Project Summary

The goal of the VITHEA project (Virtual Therapist for Aphasia treatment - Terapeuta Virtual para o tratamento da Afasia) is the development of a software program for the treatment of aphasic patients --particularly those that show difficulties when recalling words-- incorporating recent advances of speech and language technology. The software must act as a "virtual therapist", asking for the patient to recall the contents of a photo or a picture that is shown. By means of the use of automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, the program must be able to recognize what was said by the patient and to validate if it was correct or not. The "virtual therapist" must be able to provide help to the user whenever it is asked for both semantically and phonologically, that is, both as a written solution or as a speech synthesized production based on text-to-speech (TTS) technology.


The project is funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia which provided the financial support.

Research groups

The Human Language Technology group was created in January 2001 as part of the INESC - Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores (Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering) a private non-profit institution in Lisbon.
The Language Research Laboratory (LEL - Laboratório de Estudos de Linguagem) is part of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences of the Lisbon Faculty of Medicine and the hospital Santa Maria.


The project is conducted in the INESC-ID, Lisbon. Within the INESC-ID network's, the HLT group, represented by the primary investigator Alberto Abad is the project coordinator.

Besides the HLT group the project relies on the cooperation of the LEL group that in turns involves the Institute of Molecular Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine and the Hospital Santa Maria.