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Speech


— Science

New approach promises more accurate speech recognition software

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are combining two of the best-known approaches to automatic speech recognition to build a better and language-independent speech-to-text algorithm that can recognize the language being spoken in under a minute, transcribe languages on the brink of extinction, and make the dream of ever present voice-controlled electronics just a little bit closer. Read More
— Science

Neurological discovery could lead to machines that speak for the speechless

Recently, scientists unlocked the code used by neurons in the retina for sending visual data to the brain. This allowed them to create a device that restored almost-normal vision to blind mice. Now, another group of scientists has announced that they have determined the brain’s code for pronouncing vowels, and they believe that their discovery could lead to machines that speak for people who are physically unable to do so. Read More
— Good Thinking

Sign language-to-speech translating gloves take out Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012

Since beginning in 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup has tasked students the world over with developing technology aimed at solving real-world problems. In this, its 10th year, students were asked to build their project around a specific Millennium Development Goal (MDG), with the finals held this month in Sydney, Australia. The winners have just been announced and beating out teams from 75 countries to claim first place (and US$25,000) in the Software Design category was the Ukraine’s quadSquad with their EnableTalk gloves that translate sign language into speech in real time. Read More
— Robotics

English researchers teach the iCub robot to form words

iCub is an open-source hardware project described as a “cognitive humanoid robotic platform." The project was initiated in Italy, but the technology is now in use at several other labs, including the University of Hertfordshire. Researchers there, taking part in the iTalk project, have carried out experiments to find out how robots can develop basic language skills by interacting with a human. Read More
— Science

New software translates users' speech, using their own voice

For some time now, speech-recognition programs have existed that attempt to reproduce the user’s spoken words in another language. Such “speech-to-speech” apps, however, provide their translations using a very flat, synthetic voice. Now, experimental new software developed by Microsoft is able not only to translate between 26 different languages, but it plays the translated speech back in the user’s own voice – complete with the inflections they used when speaking in their own language. It looks like a real-life version of Star Trek’s universal translator could soon be here. Read More
— Good Thinking

Japanese team invents device that silences the overly-wordy

For those who don't suffer the talkative gladly, a pair of Japanese researchers may have come up with just the thing - a portable device that can painlessly jam a person's speech from up to 30 meters (98 ft) away. Ingeniously dubbed the "SpeechJammer," you aim it like a gun and, if it's anywhere near as effective as the Delayed Auditory Feedback exhibit I tried at my local science museum, it works like a charm. Read More
— Good Thinking

Speech synthesizer allows users to form spoken words using hand gestures

Whether it’s people who can’t speak, or musicians looking for a new way of expressing themselves, both may end up benefiting from an experimental new gesture-to-voice synthesizer. The system was created at the University of British Columbia, by a team led by professor of electrical and computer engineering Sidney Fels. Users just put on a pair of sensor-equipped gloves, then move their hands in the air – based on those hand movements, the synthesizer is able to create audible speech. Read More
— Good Thinking

Scientists develop child-like synthetic voice for children who can't speak

You may think that Stephen Hawking’s synthesized voice sounds a little ... unusual, but imagine how much weirder it would be to witness a child using that same adult voice to communicate. For many children who are unable to speak, however, they have no choice but to use assistive devices that utilize just such a voice. Now, help may be on the way. Norwegian researchers have developed a new method of creating synthetic speech, that actually sounds like it is being spoken by a child. Such technology could also allow computers to better recognize words spoken to them by young users. Read More
— Science

Scientists use brain activity analysis to reconstruct words heard by test subjects

Last September, scientists from the University of California, Berkeley announced that they had developed a method of visually reconstructing images from peoples' minds, by analyzing their brain activity. Much to the dismay of tinfoil hat-wearers everywhere, researchers from that same institution have now developed a somewhat similar system, that is able to reconstruct words that people have heard spoken to them. Instead of being used to violate our civil rights, however, the technology could instead allow the vocally-disabled to "speak." Read More
— Mobile Technology

Lonely Planet teams with Jibbigo for offline translator apps for travelers

Lonely Planet Publications published its first travel guide in 1973 and has been giving travelers a helping hand on their journeys ever since, growing to become the largest travel guide book company in the world. In 2009, the company dropped the “Publications” from its name to reflect the move to digital products, including its website and smartphone apps. Now the company’s wide selection of city guide and phrasebook apps have been joined by a family of translator apps that allow users to obtain written and – thanks to speech recognition technology – spoken translations offline. Read More
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