Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Train times? Yes, ask the machine


Robots, machines that speak, answering machines that understand what we say ... will be soon a regular part of our daily life. Concretely the University of the Basque Country (EHU/UPV), together with the universities of Zaragoza and Valencia, is developing a system capable of recognising speech. The aim of the project is to develop a machine which responds automatically to the user who asks for information about trains and timetables.

The machine will be able to recognise the voice of the person asking for information, understand what is being said and then find the data and respond appropriately. In order to carry this function out, the machine will have to synthesise the voice.

Speech recognition

The first step the machine has to take is speech recognition. This function is being developed by the UPV/EHU research group which first has had to gather together all the phonemes in a language, in this case Spanish and to these are then added information about different manners of pronunciation and about coarticulation. It is well known that a phoneme is pronounced in a differentiated manner depending on what precedes or follows it – this is known as coarticulation. Moreover, the differences that can arise depending on context are also taken into account. Finally, with all this data, phoneme patterns are drawn up.

In a second phase, the pattern of the language is completed; the pattern which, in this context, is to be used. Given that the language register used in the questions is limited in breadth and depth – the language of aerospace, for example, is not going to be used - a person asking for information about trains uses a specific, limited register of words and expressions.

Subsequently, the phonemes and language patterns are unified and features of spontaneous speech are added; for example, the pauses that we make between one word and another, linguistic fillers or other sounds without meaning, repetitions and so on.

Once all these patterns are unified, the research team drew up an information programme which can carry out a statistic analysis of those questions and the ways of effecting them as represented in samples and interprets what the end-user is saying in each case. Thus, it can be said that understanding speech is the first step.

Subsequently, the system developed by UPV/EHU is integrated with the rest of the units involved: that of conversation management, the one that seeks the date asked for, the unit that creates the response, that which synthesises the voice and, finally, the unit that transmits the information. Moreover, these units are not located in one, single site but are spread out in Zaragoza, Valencia and Leioa (the Bilbao campus of the Basque University) and, thus, large amounts of information are sent in real time.

Because of this the system has to be secure and, moreover, having the units physically separated confers another advantage on the system: it is modular. So, if one of the units fails, it is only a matter of fixing or changing that unit.

Contact :
Garazi Andonegi
ELHUYAR Fundazioa
(+34) 943363040

Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality
19.10.2016 | University of Waterloo

nachricht Quantum computers: 10-fold boost in stability achieved
18.10.2016 | University of New South Wales

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>