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Modulating Vocal Effort Levels of Speech Signals for Distance Cueing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-05-C-0089
Agency Tracking Number: F054-002-0125
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF05-T002
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2005
Award Year: 2005
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2005-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2006-05-01
Small Business Information
4295 Okemos Road, Suite 100
Okemos, MI 48864
United States
DUNS: 874483704
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Gail Erten
 (517) 349-9000
Business Contact
 Gail Erten
Title: President
Phone: (517) 349-9000
Research Institution
 Sue Morgan
Contract and Grant Administrat, 301 Administration Bldg
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

 (517) 355-5040
 Nonprofit College or University

Auditory displays that encode spatial audio cues have advanced significantly in recent years, yet, their ability to convey the distance between a sound source and the listener remains limited. This Phase I SBIR project proposes to investigate algorithms capable of adding distance cues to natural and synthesized speech. The particular approach involves manipulation the speaker's vocal effort, which is the quantity that ordinary speakers vary when they adapt their speech to the demands of an increased or decreased communication distance. Vocal effort impacts several time and frequency domain characteristics of a speech signal, such as mean and range of the fundamental frequency, certain formant frequencies, sound pressure level, duration of vowels, length of pauses, and spectral emphasis. Phase I work will start with defining vocal effort level zones and corresponding speech signal characteristics, with relative and absolute distance correspondences to the listener. This will be followed by the design and implementation of signal transforms that detect these characteristics in arbitrary speech inputs and manipulate them for producing outputs with the desired vocal effort level. These modules will be tested and validated by subjective evaluation, e.g., listening tests. A demonstration is planned at the end of the nine-month project.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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