May 2, 2012 -- STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) will bring its micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) microphone and audio processing expertise to the European research project, Distant Speech Interaction for Robust Home Applications (DIRHA).
Over 3 years, DIRHA will investigate and prototype technologies to enable natural-voice interaction between humans and machines in future smart homes. The DIRHA program is organized into a number of work packages, spanning a total duration of 36 months, and the total cost of the project is 4.8 million euros. The main fields of research include multi-channel acoustic processing, distant-speech recognition and understanding, speaker identification/verification, and spoken-dialogue management in four languages: German, Greek, Italian, and Portuguese. The final prototypes will be integrated in pilot households and evaluated by real users.
Home environments present challenges with multiple noises and noise sources, and multiple speakers with which machines must interact. DIRHA aims to create a pervasive, always-listening sound space, where the system acoustically reaches out to the speaker, without a microphone in front of the speaker.
ST’s MEMS microphones suit distant-speech interaction systems because of their physical and acoustic parameters. The small form factor of MEMS microphones enable entire arrays to be embedded in walls, desks, or speech-enabled appliances around the home. The MEMS microphone design, paired with sophisticated signal-processing technologies, enable it to identify and capture acoustics from an individual speaker potentially several meters away, in a crowded room, with music playing, for example.
Distant-speech could benefit elderly or mobility-impaired members of a household, and the concept can be extended to use in robotics, telepresence, surveillance, and industry automation.
Other DIRHA participants include Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy (project coordinator); Athena Research and Innovation Center in Information Communication & Knowledge Technologies, Greece; DomoticArea, Italy; INESC ID - Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computatores, Investigacae e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa, Portugal; NewAmuser, Italy; and Technische Universitaet Graz, Austria. Learn more at http://dirha.fbk.eu.
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