06 July 2011
Major new programme grant in natural speech technology
The Speech and Hearing group in DCS is a partner in a major EPSRC-funded programme grant in 'Natural Speech Technology', which will run for 5 years from May 2011 with a £7.2M budget. The Sheffield budget is £2.2M.
The goal of NST is to develop speech recognition and synthesis which can adapt to new situations in the way that people do: if you listen to an unfamiliar voice you rapidly become accustomed to it. The way you speak a sentence will be different depending on who you are talking to, what other noises are present and so on.
Dr Thomas Hain leads the Sheffield contribution to NST. He and his team have developed one of best-performing large vocabulary speech recognition systems worldwide, in the context of recognising what people say in meeting. Dr Hain comments that “speech technology is clearly on its way into the mainstream, but the key to its success is human-like performance. We are working on the foundations of technology that will bring speech to new users and exciting new applications, from clinical assistive technology to robotics, from schools to board rooms.”
Prof Phil Green will lead an NST project "homeService" which will build customised recognisers for people with speech disorders and people with disabilities, enabling them to control assistive technology.
The announcement of the grant has sparked a great deal of media interest, including coverage in the Daily Mail, the Scotsman and the BBC. Please see below for further information:
Sheffield press release
The Engineer Magazine
BBC Radio Scotland interview this morning on 'Good Morning Scotland' (at 1:15:15)
The Scotsman newspaper
Scottish TV website
The Yorkshire Post