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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

MIT's Human Speechome Project

For those of you speech folks out there with kids, you've likely never ceased to be amazed and inspired by the fact that your 3 year old child's speech recognition capability surpasses the most advanced speech technology available. Researchers at MIT are trying to figure out just how these little tykes get so good with speech. The team will be monitoring all of a child's entire first 3 years with sophisticated video cameras, etc. in an attempt to understand how he acquires its speech skills.

I wonder if the child will have access to the videos later? Imagine watching yourself learn how to say "mama"? I've noticed with my own children that when they watch videos of themselves as infants, they tend not to be able to filter what they actually remember experiences vs. what they saw on video when they were older. For example, my daughter will say "remember the time I was wearing Daddy's sunglasses in my playpen?", when in fact she doesn't remember it at all, she just remembers seeing a video of it later.

In any case, like a lot of the projects at MIT, this is a fascinating study, and it will be interesting to see what it turns up in the years ahead.

Read the article.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Replace People With Monkeys in the Call Center!

Forget offshoring your call centers to India. Just hire a bunch of rhesus monkeys! Well not quite, but Harvard psychologists have inferred from their rather interesting experiments that rhesus monkeys can indeed discern between spoken Dutch and Japanese, though they obviously cannot extract the semantics of what's being said.

Spkydog of course is a bit more evolved than monkeys. He has gotten fairly good at extracting the semantics from human speech... "nice doggy" means wag your tail because you're about to get a treat, "bad dog" and various utterances not worthy of print means duck because you're about to get beaned with a shoe!

http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/05.04/09-infer.html

Monday, May 08, 2006

Your email read by a stuffed bunny?

Here's a fun project called ubi.ach I stumbled upon that involves a stuffed bunny using TTS to read your email to you wirelessly.

http://itp.nyu.edu/show/detail.php?project_id=742

Microsoft Speech Server 2007 Beta Launched Today

Get your copy of Microsoft Speech Server 2007 beta!

http://www.microsoft.com/speech/default.mspx


In case you haven't left your cave in a while, the big news regarding this beta is VoiceXML support. Speech Server 2007 is supposed to ship this fall.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Nokia Phones Go to Natural Language Class

The last line of this article is rather interesting.

"Ideally, says Katz, MobileStart will be combined with voice-to-text software to make using cell phones even easier. Indeed, Nokia's Iannucci points to an irony: "cell phones are inherently voice devices, but they don't use voice as a modality."

Evidently, the challenging part of the problem is going to be left as homework? ;-)

Read the Technology Review article.