Model will unlock mysteries of the voice

May 22, 2013
Model will unlock mysteries of the voice
Biomechanical models are used to study how voice sounds are created and propagated in the body.

Swedish researchers are leading the development of the world's first comprehensive model of the human voice, which could contribute to better voice care, voice prosthetics, talking robots and teaching opportunities.

Three research groups from Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology are collaborating with voice and computing experts at universities and research institutes in France, Germany and Spain on the EUR 3 million Eunison project, which involves physical models, and simulated of the voice.

KTH music acoustics professor Sten Ternström says that project will render the 3-D physics of the voice, including its acoustic output, which would find profound applications in fields such as speech technology, medical research, pedagogy, linguistics and the arts.

"We need a better understanding of how the voice works and how it fails," Ternström says.

The university's "Lindgren" supercomputer will provide the colossal for the project. "We are talking about fast movements of tens of thousands of points in , so there will be many calculations requiring heavy computation," Ternström says.

Though Eunison will rely on supercomputers to create simulations and visualisation, the project will also use mechanical models of the , and tongue, made from silicone and plastic, to verify that the simulations are correctly calculated.

"The voice is a very complex phenomenon that requires a lot of work to emulate and understand," Ternström says. "So, we are also interested in how much the model can be simplified, without affecting the voice sounds."

Unlike previous research on the voice, Eunison will be an end-to-end look at the voice, combining findings from multiple disciplines. Previous efforts have been fragmentary, and the models that do exist – of parts such as the vocal chords or – are simplified in order to avoid the heavy physics calculations, he says.

"Our complete model of the human voice will resemble a puppet," Ternström says. "The scientist pulls on one or more strings, and then we can see what happens."

The voice model will be made operable online, so that researchers anywhere can enter data and get a visualisation.

Explore further: Facebook's Internet.org expands in Zambia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Body size conveyed by voice determines vocal attractiveness

Apr 24, 2013

Deep male voices and high-pitched female voices are perceived as more attractive because listeners gauge the speaker's body size from the frequency of their voice, according to research published April 24 in the open access ...

Voice prostheses can help patients regain their lost voice

Oct 24, 2012

Help is on the way for people who suffer from vocal cord dysfunction. Researchers are developing methods that will contribute to manufacturing voice prostheses with improved affective features. For example, for little girls ...

A whale with a distinctly human-like voice

Oct 22, 2012

For the first time, researchers have been able to show by acoustic analysis that whales—or at least one very special white whale—can imitate the voices of humans. That's a surprise, because whales typically ...

Recommended for you

Facebook's Internet.org expands in Zambia

6 hours ago

(AP)—Facebook's Internet.org project is taking another step toward its goal of bringing the Internet to people who are not yet online with an app launching Thursday in Zambia.

Body by smartphone

Jul 30, 2014

We love our smartphones. Since they marched out of the corporate world and into the hands of consumers about 10 years ago, we've relied more and more on our iPhone and Android devices to organize our schedules, ...

Breakthrough elastic cloud-to cloud networking

Jul 30, 2014

Scientists from AT&T, IBM and Applied Communication Sciences (ACS) announced a proof-of-concept technology that reduces set up times for cloud-to-cloud connectivity from days to seconds. This advance is a major step forward ...

Security CTO to detail Android Fake ID flaw at Black Hat

Jul 29, 2014

Where have you heard this before: A team of security researchers discover a security flaw in Android devices. This is, however, news. This time, experts are talking about a flaw that involves a widespread ...

User comments : 0