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IIT Guwahati Researchers Claim Breakthrough in Speech Technology

Written by : Jayati Dubey

May 3, 2024

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Source: X (Twitter)

According to the researchers, this technology can capture vocal fold movement without invasive procedures, utilizing sensors placed over the throat.

Researchers at the IIT-Guwahati have reportedly achieved a significant breakthrough in speech technology by developing a novel method to generate human speech signals directly from vocal cord vibration signals.

This breakthrough, they claim, holds immense promise for individuals facing speech impairments, offering a viable solution with clear and comparable speech signals.

A research team led by Prof Samarendra Dandapat and L N Sharma, Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at IIT Guwahati has developed a technology named "LOQU" (derived from the Latin word for to speak or talk).

According to the researchers, this technology can capture vocal fold movement without invasive procedures, utilizing sensors placed over the throat.

Promising Applications for Speech-Impaired Individuals

The innovative approach allows for the reconstruction of speech signals from vocal cord vibrations, offering promising applications for speech-impaired individuals and medical settings.

The team claims that their method offers clear and comparable speech signals, as demonstrated in comparison tests.

Prof Dandapat expressed their aim to empower those in need and drive impactful innovations in the medical and communication domains with the development of "LOQU".

The technology is intended to provide a viable alternative for individuals struggling with speech impairments, enhancing speech clarity and accessibility.

Understanding Speech Production

Speech production begins with airflow from the lungs through the windpipe, facilitated by the larynx or voice box, which acts as a conduit between the throat and the windpipe.

The vocal cords inside the larynx, regulated by the glottis, control airflow between the lungs and mouth. During speech, vocal folds vibrate due to intrinsic laryngeal muscle movement.

Quoting Sharma, the statement said, "Our method involves capturing vocal fold vibrations using non-invasive sensors and processing these signals electronically to generate speech harmonics. The resulting speech signals closely resemble traditional speech, as validated through comparison tests with signals recorded using conventional microphones."

The reconstructed speech signals have been found to be clear and comparable to traditional speech in extensive comparison tests.

This holds significant potential for individuals struggling with speech impairments, offering a viable alternative to traditional microphones and enhancing speech clarity.

The prototype of "LOQU" has also been granted a patent and is priced at around INR 2,000. With this, the researchers aim to make this technology not only innovative but also accessible and affordable for those in need.

The development of "LOQU" showcases the power of innovative solutions in addressing real-world challenges and improving the quality of life for many.

However, it's important to note that these claims are based on the researchers' statements and need to be further validated through independent studies and peer review.

In another development, researchers at IIT Guwahati unveiled a novel Unique Brain Network Identification Number (UBNIN) algorithm aimed at encoding the intricate brain networks of healthy individuals and patients diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD).

The study, conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), India, involved the analysis of structural brain MRI scans from 180 PD patients and 70 healthy individuals.


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