Speech Rate Conversion Technology

The world is moving at a faster pace. Transportation is faster, communication is faster, and so on. Some even feel that people are speaking faster. This makes it hard for some of us to keep pace. The Science and Technical Research Laboratories of Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, has developed a device that they feel will help (at least with how fast people seem to be talking). They’ve created a speech rate conversion technology that is designed to be used in a couple of different ways.

Have you ever listened to a recording played at a fast speed? This is commonly done in video or audio editing to search through a large volume of material in a short time. Normally, when speech is sped up, the pitch is also changed, causing the recorded voices to sound like the chipmunk characters that some of us listened to, or watched, as children. Even when the pitch is shifted to restore it to its original level, it is often difficult to understand the individual words. The system designed by Japan’s STRL has changed that.

Their new technology maintains the original timber and pitch of the speech, while playing it back at a faster rate. The playback rate is varied adaptively, which allows listeners to comprehend what is being said even at speeds that are five times the normal rate.

This system also benefits elderly listeners by slowing down radio broadcasts or the audio in television programs. It is common for older people to have some degree of hearing impairment, for various reasons. This disability might include a difficulty in perceiving specific frequencies, a weaker cognitive capacity, or a problem understanding speech with a large amount of background noise. It has also been found that with age comes a decreased ability to comprehend rapid speech. At the same time, the population statistics of many countries have forecast that twenty years from now, twenty five percent of the radio and television audience will be sixty five years of age or older. In order to reach this audience, STRL felt that something had to be done. Since it seemed unlikely that television announcers would slow down, they applied the speech rate conversion technology to solve this problem. Again, the pitch and timber are maintained, while the rate of speech is adjusted. By shortening the pauses between sentences, the slowed speech can be presented in real time. In addition to the Japanese language, it can be used for English, German, Chinese, French, and other languages. The technology is used on NHK’s online news service, and has also been incorporated into several consumer radio and television systems. As a result, they won an Asahi Shimbun Invention Award in 2008.

The world continues to speed up, and we continue to age. Whether you’re working at a job where you need to search through large quantities of video or audio material, or you would just like to be able to understand what the news announcer is saying, this new speech rate conversion technology may make your life a little easier.

Handheld PC

Hand held PC is a computer that can be held in hand and to be held in hand a PC has to be small enough. Therefore it can be concluded that a Handheld PC is a small computer that is portable, lightweight and designed in such a way that it can handle your day-to-day schedule. If we look at the handheld PCs that are in the market now, it can be seen that they have features like the calendar and address book and these PCs actually function like Personal Information Manager (PIM). In fact Handheld PCs are also commonly known as personal Digital Assistant. Due to the lightweight and small size they are also known as Palmtops.

What will the Handheld PC do for me if I have one?

If you own a handheld PC, it can store all your important information and manage them and can also execute application software. It performs tasks such as storing information about your contacts, making a list of things that has to be done, maintaining your appointments and also giving you reminders regarding each of them. It also takes notes and performs calculations.

Handheld PCs have the ability to run special and specific software applications like Windows Mobile devices, which are available with smaller versions of Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and Outlook like mainstream computers includes e-mail and PIM functions, apart from Windows Media Player and voice memo recording.You can also run various software that can include games, multimedia, expense, diet and exercise, travel, medical, time and billing, and reference.

How does the Handheld PC work?

Microprocessors
Unlike usual desktop and laptops, handheld PCs or palmtops are strengthened by the presence of microprocessors which coordinates between all the functions as per the programmed instructions. These PCs use smaller and cheaper microprocessors. Although these microprocessors work slower than the usual PCs, their work potential is sufficient for the tasks that are meant to be done by them. There are benefits of small size and price and these benefits of using these.

Memory
Handheld PCs do not have a hard disk. Since it stores only basic programs like address book, calendar, memo pad and operating system, the purpose can be served by a read-only memory (ROM) chip, which remains entire even when the machine is shut down. Any data and any number of programs that you add later can be stored in the Pc’s random-access memory (RAM). Information that is there in RAM is only available when the device is switched on. Due to their innovative design, handheld PCs keep data safe in RAM because they keep on drawing small amounts of power from the batteries even when the device is turned off.

Operating System
The operating system contains a list of instructions which are already programmed and that tell the microprocessor the work it is supposed to do, how and when. The operating systems used by Handheld PCs are not as complicated as the ones used by Desktop PCs. The former has fewer instructions, which actually requires lesser memory.

Display
Handheld PCs use LCD that is Liquid crystal display but not only as an output device since in this case they are used as output as well as input device. Most of these have color displays.

Handheld PCs have been far more popular when they first arrived in the market than now as most of the features are available in cellular phones. As a result, people have stopped buying these gadgets. Several companies that took keen interest in this industry are gradually going out of it since the demand is decreasing by and by.