Prototype phone boosts speech recognition quality

Motorola and speech recognition software maker SpeechWorks International Inc. have developed a prototype phone that they say will help computers better decipher wireless signals for clearer transmissions.

Mobile speech recognition technology in current use generally requires a speaker's voice be transmitted through a wireless network to a stationary computer for processing. The computer deciphers the speech and passes it back through the wireless network to the other end.

When a mobile phone user is in a bad spot in a network, say, in a building or on the edge of a service provider's coverage area, some voice fidelity is lost. Static or intermittent breaks might be heard in a typical phone call. A computer trying to perform voice recognition processing on a garbled transmission would be more likely to fail at the task, said Steve Chambers, SpeechWorks vice president of worldwide marketing.

The problem is compounded by the limitations of wireless phone network signal transmissions, he said. A voice call cannot use the same kinds of redundant transmissions meant to guarantee Internet packets end up where they're supposed to go.

"Recognition engines aren't going to be able to discern echoes," Chambers said. "If you were calling an airline, and said 'Boston,' the phone couldn't send the signal three times. The server would hear 'Boston Boston Boston,' and think it's a new word every time."

Motorola and SpeechWorks's prototype is meant to attack the signal problem at the source. The processor cleans up the voice signal as much as it can, performing the digital equivalent of the signal. The clarified signal can be more easily processed by a server running SpeechWorks software.

"If you have a device with our technology talking to a server with our technology, the device sends a much cleaner signal to the server," Chambers said. "Your mouth is so much closer to the microphone. The signal is clearer."

The experimental phone uses a field-force automation application allowing a sales representative to check any account's status by speaking into a handheld device from the road. It also has a travel reservation application for travelers to check a flight's status. Chambers wouldn't say what kind of phone is being used.

The technology should hit the market within the next 12 to 18 months, Chambers said.

As digital signal processors improve, more of the computation required for voice recognition can be done inside mobile phones, eliminating the signal losses through the air. Digital signal processors are to voice recognition as graphics cards are to video games -- the faster the processor and the more memory supplied to it, the better the output.

Without dramatic improvement of network transmission speed, beyond what 3G (third generation) wireless data networks promise, there will always be a client-server relationship for voice recognition applications on mobile devices. Too much information must be stored on a phone for it to be practical, Chambers said.

"A typical database might contain 100,000 words, maybe 50 or 60M bytes," Chambers said. "I know of some twice as large ... people aren't going to wait 30 seconds or a minute to download a vocabulary database when they can just call up the agency and ask the question.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?