So that nothing goes unheard – improved speech intelligibility for man and machine

Press Release /

Oldenburg/London. The Fraunhofer IDMT will be represented at the “Summer Science Exhibition” of the Royal Society in London from 30 June to 5 July 2015 as part of the EU DREAMS project. Together with research partners, scientists from the Project Group for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology will demonstrate how audio signal processing can decisively improve the intelligibility of speech even in environments with a high level of reverberation and interference noise.

Under the motto “Interaction with sound in a three-dimensional world”, visitors to the exhibition stand can find out on a computer what speech sounds like in an environment with reverberation, and can discover how signal processing is able to reduce this as well as other interference noise. The applications for the methods developed in the project extend from event engineering through handsfree systems and cell phones to hearing aids.

However, it is not just people who can benefit from better speech intelligibility. Technologies for automatic speech recognition also function more robustly if the acoustic signal is optimized. The scientists will demonstrate their research results using a speech-controlled robot, which responds more or less well depending on the level of reverberation.

Over ten thousand people are expected to visit the Summer Science Exhibition, which takes place centrally in London every year. DREAMS was chosen by the Royal Society as one of a total of 22 projects in order to present current research.

DREAMS (Dereverberation and Reverberation of Audio, Music and Speech) is supported by the European Union within the framework of the Marie-Curie Initial Training Network. In addition to promoting scientific advances and technological developments by research institutes and companies, a specific goal of the program is to enhance career opportunities for young scientists. The project partners are the Imperial College London (United Kingdom), the University of Aalborg (Denmark), the University of Leuven (Belgium) and the University of Oldenburg (Germany), as well as the industry partners Bang and Olufsen (Denmark), Cedar Audio (United Kingdoem), Nuance (Germany), NXP (Belgium), Oticon (Denmark), Spinvox (United Kingdoem) and Televic (Belgium).

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