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Speech

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire teach the iCub robot how to form words, as ...

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

New software developed by Microsoft is able to reproduce the user's speech in another lang...

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

A Japanese team has invented a portable device that painlessly causes people to stop talki...

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

An experimental new gesture-to-voice synthesizer could allow people without the power of s...

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

Norwegian researchers have devised a new way of creating a child-like synthetic voice for ...

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

Scientists have developed technology that is able to reconstruct words heard by test subje...

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

Entering names and places in the Lonely Planet Offline Translator helps the speech recogni...

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

A synthetic gel could be used to restore function to scarred vocal cords(Image: MIT)

Whether caused by intubation during surgery, laryngeal cancer, lesion removal, or simply overuse, vocal cord scarring can limit or even eliminate some peoples' ability to speak. This is because the scar tissue is stiff, and doesn't allow the vocal cords to vibrate adequately. Some doctors have tried to soften the tissue using materials from the fields of plastic surgery and dermatology, but the treatment doesn't work in all cases, and the effects are said not to last very long. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School, however, are developing a new approach - an injectable gel that mimics vocal cord tissue.  Read More

Newly-developed software allows computers to identify emotions in human speech (Image: Dde...

Getting a computer to understand what a person is saying is one thing, but getting it to understand how they’re saying it is another. If we’re ever to see a system that truly comprehends the meaning behind the words – and not just the words themselves – then such systems will need to be able to put the words in context. Researchers from Spain’s Universidad Politécnica de Madrid are trying to achieve this by developing an application that allows computers to accurately recognize human emotions based on automated voice analysis.  Read More

Larger, numbered button-like electrodes (ECoGs) alongside the microECoGs indicated by the ...

Using the same technology that allowed them to accurately detect the brain signals controlling arm movements that we looked at last year, researchers at the University of Utah have gone one step further, translating brain signals into words. While the previous breakthrough was an important step towards giving amputees or people with severe paralysis a high level of control over a prosthetic limb or computer interface, this new development marks an early step toward letting severely paralyzed people speak with their thoughts.  Read More

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