Superior Speech Acquisition and Robust Automatic Speech Recognition for Integrated Spacesuit Audio Systems
Astronauts suffer from poor dexterity of their hands due to the clumsy
spacesuit gloves during Extravehicular Activity (EVA) operations and
NASA has had a widely recognized but unmet need for novel human machine
interface technologies to facilitate data entry, communications, and
robots or intelligent systems control. In this proposed Phase I research,
WeVoice, Inc., plans to design, to begin the implementation of, and to
evaluate a speech human interface system. Loud noise and strong
reverberation inside spacesuits make automatic speech recognition (ASR)
for such an interface a very challenging problem. WeVoice proprietary
microphone array signal processing algorithms for speech acquisition
will be taken advantage of. Pros and cons of beamforming vs.
multichannel noise reduction for ASR will be assessed and
recommendations for the best front-end technique will be established.
Using two ASR programs (one based on HTK and the other in C/C++)
that were previously developed at WeVoice, Inc., a number of robust
methods (ranging from feature transformation and normalization to
environmental adaptation) will be validated. In addition, the
feasibility of using throat vibration microphones will be explored.
The Phase I research is also concerned with the compromise of
ASR accuracy and system complexity. A comparative study will be
undertaken between two system implementation structures,
namely wearable and distributed systems. This effort
will form a foundation for prototype design to be
conducted in Phase II.
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