9/27/2004 - Sensory Inc, the leader in embedded speech technology, is now demonstrating its new patent-applied-for English language training technology that is implemented on low cost chips. The new technology is being introduced in Hong Kong at Sensory’s “Designing a Voice User Interface” seminar.
Chinese Market Opportunity
The Chinese government has mandated that all service employees will learn English by the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing. This has caused a rapidly growing market to emerge for handheld language training devices. Typically, these language trainers will use chips from companies like Sensory or Scansoft to play samples of the English phrases and to allow a Chinese speaker to compare his/her recorded voice with that of the English speaker. Sensory’s new technology goes one step beyond this to perform an analysis of the Chinese speaker’s phrases so the speaker can get immediate feedback on the pronunciation. It’s much like an English instructor on a chip! According to Sensory’s CEO, Todd Mozer “Sensory is already selling millions of chips each year into this rapidly growing market, and these chips are just used for playback of speech, not analysis or feedback. Sensory’s language training technology is exactly what our customers want!”
How it Works
A phrase is recorded into a handheld device and the technology analyzes the phrase’s phonemic content, which is compared with that in stored templates of the properly spoken phrase. Playback of the recorded phrase can be sped up or slowed down, and an LED or LCD display can provide feedback on the quality of the spoken phrase during playback in order that the user can visually assess the performance. Settings can be adjusted to switch between a “lenient” instructor and a “tough” instructor, and training phrases can be cycled through to find specific phrases or general areas to practice (e.g. shopping, business, socializing, etc.).
The RSC-4x Family & Tools
Sensory has chosen to rollout and showcase its language training technology on the RSC-4x Family. This family of integrated circuits (IC’s) has the ability to support a wide variety of speech technologies on a general purpose 8-bit microcontroller core. The RSC-4x Family is supported by a full suite of tools including, assembler, C-Compiler, debugger, and voice coding tools (QT2SI vocabulary generator, Quick Synthesis speech compressor, etc.).
Edgar Chau, Managing Director of product development house Cyber-Workshop says “We are familiar with the RSC-4x Family of IC’s, and we see much demand from our customers for this new language training technology. The Beta unit we received from Sensory worked quite well and we are sure to have many designs for 2005”.
Sensory plans to bring its language training technology to other embedded platforms, including the ARM line of microcontroller products popular in cell-phones.
Availability & Pricing
Sensory has created a demo platform that showcases a product design concept for a low cost language-trainer. Sensory is seeking strategic partners to roll out English language training handheld products around the world. The complete system is expected to retail for $19.95-$49.95 depending on features.
About Sensory, Inc.
Sensory, Inc. is the world leader in embedded speech technologies. Sensory’s speech technologies include language training, speech recognition, speaker verification, speech synthesis, and animated speech, and are used in consumer electronics, cell phones, PDA’s, Internet appliances, interactive toys, automobiles, and other applications where low cost and high quality is essential. Sensory offers a complete line of integrated circuit and embedded software solutions to customers such as Hasbro, JVC, Kenwood, Matsushita, Mattel, Mitsubishi, Sharper Image, Sony, Toshiba, Uniden, and many others. Sensory is a profitable privately held company founded in 1994. More information can be found at www.sensoryinc.com.
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