spoken language technology

Consultancy and training in the application of speech and language technologies


Spoken language technology is about getting computers to perform useful tasks involving human speech and language.

Speaking to personal conversational assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant has become a reality for many. How can we use these apps? How can we create new apps to do the tasks we want them to do? Learn about new applications and research in spoken language technology.

meet the team

michael mctear


zoraida callejas

Associate and co-author

colleen crangle



Announcing New Book
Upcoming talks and events

PANEL: Opportunities and Challenges of Building & Deploying Conversational AI at REWORK Conversational AI Mini Summit, ONLINE, 2 December 2020, 4pm GMT

Keynote presentation at The European Chatbot and Conversational AI Summit, ONLINE, 4-5 February 2021

Presentation at Voice Connected Business Europe 2021, Frankfurt, Germany, 16-17 March 2021

Presentation at Project Voice Conference2021, Chattanooga, TN, USA, 12 - 14 April 2021

Keynote presentation at Conversational User Interfaces (CUI) 2021, Bilbao, Spain, 27-29 July 2021

Previous talks in 2020

Invited talk at Project Voice Conference, Chattanooga, TN, USA, 13 - 17 January 2020: What’s so conversational about conversational interfaces? Use cases for Healthcare.

Invited talk at Conversational Interaction Conference, San Jose, CA, USA, 10-11 February 2020: Do we really need a conversational interface? Some challenges in designing for conversational interaction.

Conversational AI

Conversational AI is concerned with the development of software systems that can engage in conversational interactions with humans. Conversational systems are known by various names, including: dialogue systems, voice user interfaces, conversational agents, and chatbots.

Recent publications

McTear, M. Conversational AI: Dialogue Systems, Conversational Agents, and Chatbots

McTear, M., Callejas, Z., Griol, D. The Conversational Interface: Talking to Smart Devices

McTear, M. The Rise of the Conversational Interface: A New Kid on the Block?

McTear, M. Conversation modelling for chatbots: current approaches and future directions

Projects in Conversational AI
AI Assist

AI Assist was developed in a Fusion-funded project between Ulster University and Maverick Communications International. Ai Assist, which was developed using the RASA open source framework, supports business-to-business lead generation conversations online. AI Assist deals with lower level interactions and acts as a first point of contact between a business and potential clients, giving the employees of the business the freedom to focus on the most qualified leads.

Verbal Arts Centre

The aim of this KTP-funded project between Ulster University and the Verbal Arts Centre was to extend the shared reading bibliotherapy intervention called Reading Rooms by developing a new digital, chatbot-based technology platform called Wellread (Storyteller). Wellread is a web app based platform based on Dialogflow with a content management system used for story curation.


McAllister, P. et al. Reading Rooms: A Chatbot Guided Bibliotherapy Service

McAllister, P. et al. Towards Chatbots to Support Bibliotherapy Preparation and Delivery

For more information about how you could benefit from Conversational AI, send an email to:

Healthcare Applications

Projects involving the application of Conversational AI in healthcare
MENHIR (Mental health monitoring through interactive conversations)

MENHIR is a 4 year EU-funded H2020 Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) project. The MENHIR project aims to research and develop conversational technologies to promote mental health and assist people with mental ill health (mild depression and anxiety) manage their conditions. Several areas in Conversational AI are being investigated, including: emotion recognition in speech, automatic conversation management, the use of conversational technologies for addressing mental health problems. Click here for more information on the MENHIR project.


Chatpal is a project in the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme.The aim of the ChatPal project is to develop and trial a chatbot to support and promote mental wellbeing in rural areas. Needs analysis will inform the requirements for the chatbot and content/dialogue scripts for the chatbot will be designed by experts and psychologists. The trial will measure engagement, adoption and efficacy of the chatbot for supporting mental wellbeing in rural areas. Click here for more information on the Chatpal project.

Recent publications

Benítez-Guijarro, A. et al. Co-creating Requirements and Assessing End-User Acceptability of a Voice-Based Chatbot to Support Mental Health: A Thematic Analysis of a Living Lab Workshop

Cameron, G. et al. Best Practices for Designing Chatbots in Mental Healthcare – A Case Study on iHelpr

Crangle, C. et al. Exploring patient information needs in type 2 diabetes: A cross sectional study of questions

To find out more, send an email to: