The »Transfer Center for User-Oriented Assistance Systems« is a cooperation of the Oldenburg Branch for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA with the Jade University of Applied Sciences Wilhelmshaven/Oldenburg/Elsfleth. Established at the start of 2013 with the backing of the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, the project is being supported in the setup phase by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The goal of the cooperation is to strengthen practically-oriented research by knowledge transfer and collaboration in education.
Intelligent assistance systems
A particular focus of the research work in the Transfer Center is on technologies that offer support and safety especially for older people and persons with impaired health. These technologies include new, intelligent assistance systems and multimodal user interfaces – such as intuitive control of technical systems via touch-based interfaces, gestures or voice commands. Using machine learning methods, technical speech dialog systems are being developed that are able to adapt themselves to the current needs of a user.
Evaluation studies and user-centered design
A central aspect of assistive technology development is integration of users as part of a »user-centered design« process. Standardized qualitative and quantitative methods are used in the Transfer Center to interview and observe users. In addition, the scientists use new neuroergonomic methods such as electroencephalography (EEG) in order to determine the mental effort involved in using products.
Audio signal technology for civilian security applications
A second research field of the Transfer Center is use of audio signal processing for civilian security applications. One of the main areas here is optimization of audio signals particularly with respect to speech intelligibility. Analysis of speech signals for speaker and language detection is used for biometric access checks or for crime detection. The scientists also develop systems for acoustic detection of threats such as approaching quadcopters.