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.

Touchscreen Technology

A touchscreen is a device which allows users to control a personal computer by simply touching the display screen. This type of input is suitable for a large number of computing applications. Most PC systems use a touchscreen as easily as other input devices, such as trackballs or touchpads.

How Touchscreens Work
A touchscreen has 3 main components: a touch sensor, a controller, and a software driver. To make a complete touch input system, a touchscreen is combined with a display and a PC or other device.

1. Touchscreen Sensor
This is a glass plate having a touch responsive surface. The sensor is positioned over a display screen, so that the responsive area of the plate covers the maximum viewable area of the video screen. There are a number of touch sensor technologies available in the market today, each using a different approach to detect touch input. The sensor has an electric current or signal passing through it and touching the screen causes a change in the voltage or signal. This voltage or signal change is used to find out the location of the touch to the screen.

2. Controller
The controller used in a touchscreen is a small PC card that interconnects between the touch sensor and the PC. The controller takes data from the touch sensor and converts it into information that PC can understand. For integrated monitors, the controller is usually installed inside the monitor, or is placed in a plastic case for external touch add-ons/overlays. The controller is useful to determine what type of interface/connection you will need on the PC. Integrated touch monitors are provided with an extra cable connection on the back for the touchscreen. Controllers are available by connecting to a Serial/COM port (PC) or to a USB port (PC or Macintosh).

3. Software Driver
The driver is software for the PC system that permits the touchscreen and computer to work together. It tells the operating system of the computer how to interpret the touch event information that is sent from the controller. Today’s touchscreen drivers are a mouse-emulation type driver. This makes touching the screen the same as clicking your mouse at the same location on the screen. This permits the touchscreen to work with existing software and provide new applications to be developed without the need for touchscreen-specific programming. Some devices such as thin client terminals, DVD players, and specialized computer systems either do not use software drivers, or they have their own in-built drivers.

Uses of Touchscreens
Touchscreens are one of the simplest PC interfaces to use, making it the interface of choice for a large number of applications. The following are some of the uses of a touchscreen.

1. Public Information Displays
Tourism displays, trade show displays, information kiosks, and other electronic displays are used by large number of people who have little or no computing experience. The touchscreen interface is easier to use than other input devices, especially for novice users. It is useful to make your information more easily accessible by allowing users to navigate your presentation by simply touching the display screen.

2. Retail and Restaurant Systems
In the retail or restaurant environment, touchscreen systems are easy to use so employees can get work done faster, and also training time can be reduced for new employees. As input is present right on the screen, valuable counter space can be saved. Touchscreens can be used in order entry stations, cash registers, seating, reservation systems, and more.

3. Control and Automation Systems
Touchscreens are useful in systems ranging from industrial process control to home automation. Valuable workspace can be saved by integrating the input device with the display. In real-time, by simply touching the screen and with a graphical interface, operators can monitor and control complex operations.

4. Computer-based Training
The touchscreen interface is more user-friendly than other input devices, so overall training time for computer novices, and therefore training expense, can be reduced. It can also more useful to make learning more fun and interactive, which can lead to a more beneficial training experience for both students and educators.

5. Assistive Technology
The touchscreen interface is very useful for those having difficulty using other input devices such as a mouse or keyboard. When used with software such as on-screen keyboards or other assistive technology, they can help make computing resources more available to people who have difficulty using computers.

Computer Technology Topics

The 21st century is the age of computer technology and it has brought about a fundamental change in every facet of our life. It has largely influenced the way we communicate and the way information exchange is facilitated in today’s world. An emergent phenomenon, that is a byproduct of advances in computer networking technology, is the Internet. It has truly transformed the world into a global village, with every part of the world linked to its vast network. This happened out of the evolution of the field of information technology (IT).

Topics About Computer Technology

If you are planning to pursue a career in information technology. You have a lot to learn. This is a compendium of many computer related topics, that will provide you with an idea about the things you need to know, as you become a part of the large community of technologists.

It involves information about the history of computers, as well as topics on new technologies. It’s singularly impossible to cover each and every topic related to these fields, in one article. That’s why, I have provided links to detailed articles, on various technological trends.

History Topics
Programmable computers have been in development since the 1930s. Within seven to eight decades, they have evolved from the early vacuum tube based four-story machines, to the laptops and supercomputers of today. The development of operating systems and establishment of software development industries, combined with advances in semiconductor physics, have led to the portable PC revolution we see today. If you are researching their history, here are some interesting topics to read.

– When was the First Computer Made
– History of Computers
– Who Made the First Computer
– Intel Microprocessor History
– History of Microprocessors
– History of Macintosh Computers
– Computer History: Full Timeline
– Evolution of Computers

Hardware
Computer hardware provides the functionality needed to drive the juggernaut of information technology, that is taking the world by storm. Here are some related topics that include information about everything, ranging from processors to data storage devices.

Processor

– Best Processor
– What are Computer Chips Made Of
– AMD Vs. Intel Processors
– Intel Core i3 Vs. i5 Vs. i7
– 32 Bit Vs. 64 Bit Processors
– Intel Core i3 Vs. Core 2 Duo
– Quad Core Vs. Dual Core
– What is Processor Cache
– i3 Vs. Dual Core
– Intel Vs. AMD Processor Comparison

Motherboard

– Best Motherboard Brand
– Motherboard Types
– What is a Motherboard

Memory

– Computer Memory Types
– How Does Computer Memory Work
– Computer Memory Test
– What is Virtual Memory
– How to Check RAM
– What is RAM

Hard Drives

– Hard Drive Types
– How to Use an External Hard Drive
– How to Check Hard Drive Space
– How to Repair Bad Sectors on a Hard Drive
– How to Clean a Hard Drive

Data Storage

– Data Storage Types
– Types of Databases
– RAID 5 Vs. RAID 1
– RAID Levels Explained
– Advantages of Relational Databases

Repair

– Computer Freezes After Startup
– Print Screen Not Working
– System Restore Does Not Work
– High CPU Usage Problem
– Boot Up Problems
– Fix Cyclic Redundancy Check Error

The range of topics provided above are testimony to the complexity involved in this field. Computers are taking over most of the data processing jobs in the field of finance. Through the integration of advanced electronics and computing technology, robotics is emerging as a field of the future. The ultimate dream of computer technologists is developing an artificial intelligence; an artificial mind that will be able to think and figure out things on its own. While it still remains a very distant dream, smart machines and robots, with limited analytical capabilities, have already been developed. It is safe to conclude that the future of computing technology is very promising.

Importance of Information Technology

Information technology pertains to the study, design, and development of computer systems (hardware and software) and networks, which are used for obtaining, processing, and distributing data. This field has been growing at a very fast pace over the last few years, and according to experts, this growth is expected to remain stable. Millions of jobs have been created by IT, and hence, today, it is essential for everyone to understand what information technology is, and how it plays a vital role in every aspect of modern-day life.

Why is Information Technology Important in Business?

Information technology today is essential in ensuring the smooth functioning of all the departments in a company, such as the human resource department, finance department, manufacturing department and in security related purposes.

Many different businesses require specialized software-packages for satisfying their operational as well as functional needs. The major companies sign deals with the software manufacturing companies to purchase their products along with their yearly updates. Some even get specific software designed according to their individual needs.

The manufacturing and production companies, such as those in the automobile sector, use IT and software products to get rid of any sort of errors or mistakes, in the proper functioning of the tools used for designing and manufacturing purposes. Further, thanks to the developments in the information technology sector, these companies are able to keep themselves aware of the changes in the global markets.

The software applications and the hardware devices are known to be the main elements required for the use of information technology. The web browsers, the operating systems, ERP’s and special purpose applications are the software which are used in information technology.

IT plays an important role in easily solving the mathematical problems especially in engineering and in the project management system. It has great use in the automated production of sensitive information, up-gradation of the important business processes, and streamlining of the various business processes. It also plays an important role in the areas of communication and automated administration of entire systems.

Importance of Information Technology in Management

Information Technology has a significant presence in the management of various organizations. It helps the managers in adapting to the new business processes, and also for predicting the possible impacts of newer technologies.

The managers can benefit from the efficiently prepared computer packages and the electronically stored confidential information. With just a single click of the mouse, they can have the relevant information in front of their screen.

However, to be able to handle these software packages in a better way, the managers have to undergo quality training in the use of information technology. Taking this need into consideration, many corporate organizations can be seen taking special efforts for the development of these skills, via training programs prepared by experienced software professionals.

Importance of Information Technology in Education

Information technology has made its presence in the educational sector too. It helps the students as well as the teachers in studying the course material easily, by enabling faster access to information from across the globe, on a number of different topics.

Studying the subjects with the help of on-line libraries and dictionaries, has made grasping and learning easier for the students. The inclusion of information technology in the syllabus of schools, colleges and universities, has helped them in understanding their subjects well, and for getting their basics and fundamentals cleared.

The on-line grading system, used by many educational centers, is a boon for the parents, as it helps them keep track of their children’s performances and progress. IT based communication systems such as emails, SMS, etc., can also be used to forward the details of the attendance record of the children to their parents or guardians.

Thus, the applications of the IT sector today, are visible in many different fields, ranging from industrial, managerial, to educational. With newer innovations and developments happening daily, the IT sector is expected to grow at an even faster pace in the coming years, thereby creating ample opportunities for deserving candidates, improving the different processes and procedures, and further enriching our lives.

Impact of Information Technology on Business

Information technology is a wide field, and has enabled organizations across the world to work in an efficient manner. It plays a very important role in effective management and running of a business. The use of IT in organizations is inevitable, be it any type of company like manufacturing or medicinal sector. It has contributed largely to the process advancements in organizations. In this write-up, you will understand the impact of information technology on business.

Basic Elements

Software and Applications

Software is an important part of IT, which relates to computer applications that enable a company to generate, store, program, and retrieve data as and when needed. There are many software developed for different purposes. All operations in the business sector are carried out by software that are assigned for executing specific tasks. Without these computer applications, the trade wouldn’t have been able to carry out their functions in a proper and efficient manner. Operating systems, ERPs, special purpose applications, and web browsers are some examples of different software.

There are some software, which are exclusively built to contribute to the proper collaborative working of all sections of the businesses, which are known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). These are complex applications, which enable people to efficiently manage all functions and operations of all processes.

Hardware Devices

These are various computer equipment that house the software. Devices like microcomputers, mid-size servers, and huge mainframe systems are some examples of hardware. Businesses have to maintain a huge collection of important data. For this purpose, they employ these devices, which are responsible for storing confidential company data and retrieving it back when required. Other hardware devices include network devices that are used for providing Internet access to work and communicate expeditiously. There are even devices, which enable manufacturing tools and equipment to work accurately in the industrial sector.

Influence of IT

Small scale ventures need to buy software packages that would cater to their specific management, operational, and functional needs. For this purpose, they need to approach firms and IT manufacturers who deal in such software applications. Other IT services include Internet marketing and email marketing, web hosting and promotions, and maintaining client networks. Larger ventures, on the other hand, have their own operational and functional employees who develop software applications and work on several IT needs. They usually purchase ERP software to coordinate different processes and functions into a single application, which is actually more convenient.

The manufacturing sector may make use of servers and databases to store their vast data regarding inventory, B2B, B2C, FMCG (in the retail sector), etc. Automobile manufacturers use computers to guide manufacturing and designing tools to function in a precise manner, ruling out the possibilities of any human error. Businesses all around the globe have to take the aid of IT in some way or the other to keep themselves in sync with the market and the world. There are several departments in organizations, such as HR and recruitment, finance and payroll, administration, and security. All these departments utilize IT to carry out their respective operations in a productive manner and efficient manner.

The role of IT in entrepreneurship is certainly of a great importance, which enables businesses to effectively and successfully plan, manage, execute strategies which lead to profit. Moreover, the impact of information technology on business is on the rise, as several advancements are focused on to be implemented in various business processes.

What is Information Technology

The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) defines Information Technology as “the study, design, development, implementation, support, or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.”

Information, meaning processed form of raw data, is something which is valued very highly in today’s world. A person possessing the right kind of information and using it at the right time, can surely work wonders. From the credit card numbers which we use for shopping, to the confidential bank account details, everything is stored in the form of binary digits in computers. These details can be used or misused depending on what kind of people have authorized or unauthorized access to it. With the help of IT and our increasing dependency on machines, our life has become far easier, but we are more vulnerable now than before.

What is Information Technology?

The term ‘information technology’ (IT) evolved in the 1970s and if we consider a medium or large company providing goods or services, its IT department will be responsible for storing, protecting, processing, retrieving, and transmitting the information. IT is a wide and varied sector, and is represented in some form in almost all the industries. It is a blend of computers and communication technology where IT professionals perform a variety of duties, ranging from development and installation of applications, to designing complex computer networks and databases. The IT industry consists of computers, communication mediums, peripherals, electronics-related organizations, software, and services. Usage of IT for the completion of tasks in any organization, speeds up the processing and information mobility, and also improves the reliability and integrity of information.

Components

Computers: Computers are very important in order to store and process data. Depending on the size, cost, and processing ability, computers are divided into four categories. They are mainframes, supercomputers, minicomputers, and microcomputers (desktops or personal computers).
Servers: A server is a combination of hardware and software, and it provides services to the client computers. These services generally include storage and retrieval of information. A standalone computer can also act as a server, provided it’s running a server operating system.
Database Management Systems (DBMS): Database Management System is basically a set of software programs, which manage the storage, retrieval, and organization of the information in a computer. This information is in the form of a database and is managed with the help of software. The DBMS accepts requests from the application program and instructs the operating system to transfer the appropriate data. There are various departments to monitor the flow of information, which include System Administrators, IT Managers, Database Administrators, and Chief Information Officers (CIOs).
Networking: A computer network is a collection of computers and peripherals connected to each other through different modes. These can be wired or wireless. The network allows computers to communicate with each other (share data and resources like printers, scanners, etc.).
Network Security and Cryptography: Network security is one of the most important aspects of IT. It consists of all the provisions made in an underlying computer network, so as to prevent unauthorized usage of information. It also includes implementing the policies adopted by the government and the applicable cyber laws. It is also helpful in providing protection from computer hacking at the cyber boundaries of an organization.

The cost of transmitting information has fallen dramatically, and according to a study, the cost of transfer of one trillion bits from Boston to Los Angeles has come down from a whopping USD 150,000 in 1970 to merely 12 cents today. With the help of Internet technology, emailing a document of 40 pages from Chile to Kenya costs less than 10 cents, which is nothing as compared to the faxing price of USD 10 or sending it by courier for USD 50. Hence, it can be clearly seen that there are many advantages of IT, and it has drastically decreased the cost of information transfer. It has also increased the efficiency of employees in all organizations, allowing them to focus on core competencies rather than the technological issues.

How has Computer Technology Affected our Lives?

Using a computer to write about computers is like searching for ‘Google’ on Google! Computer technology is so much a part of our lives, that we cannot imagine living without it. Computers serve as efficient data storage systems and excellent information processors. They can store, organize, and manage huge amounts of data. Moreover, they operate at incomparable speeds, thus saving human time and effort to a large extent. True, they are an integral part of our lives. It is said that inventions change the way we live. Computer technology is a classic example of this adage. It has indeed changed our way of living.

Computer technology that is in daily use today finds its roots in the oldest computing systems like Abacus and slide rules. The evolution of computers can be traced back to calculators and punched cards, which were some of the earliest computing devices. Analog computing devices evolved into digital information processors and from then on, there was no looking back! For a closer look at the major events in the computer history, you must go through the full timeline of computers.

For many years after 1960, when the third generation computers were created, desktops remained to be popular for personal and business use. Research in this field continued, giving rise to the development of laptops, palmtops, miniature tablet PCs, and PDAs. As we see today, they serve as ‘personal digital assistants’ in the literal sense of the term. Their small size endows them with portability, thus adding to user convenience. As they can be operated on batteries, they provide computer users with mobile computing capabilities. How has this affected our lives? Well, we can remain connected to the world at all times. Work is no more location-dependent.

Operating systems are a vital component of computer technology. They help in the management of a variety of computer operations and in the sharing of computer resources. They handle the scheduling and execution of computer programs, help in the management of files, and handle interrupts. They manage multiple user profiles and user accounts, thus playing a major role in maintaining computer security. Certain types of operating systems offer distributed processing capabilities and support multitasking and multi-user operations. The most important role of an operating system is to provide the users with an interactive interface. They have made the interaction with computers, a user-friendly experience and made it easy for the common man to make friends with this technology.

Computers, as we know, can perform complex mathematical operations and process large amounts of information. Thanks to their computational powers, long and complex calculations can be performed within seconds. They can be programmed to execute complex instruction sequences through the use of programming languages. The software industry is one of the most progressive industries of the world. Computer technology gave rise to this industry and changed the face of the globe.

The multimedia capabilities possessed by computers make them ideal audio-visual media. They can be made to play movies and music. They offer support to a variety of storage media like CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, and USB drives. Computer hard discs are also capable of storing and playing audio and video. And how has this affected our lives? Well, it is due to these storage and audio-visual media, that we can maintain soft-copies of data. Gone are the days, when we used to document on paper. Gone are the days when students maintained traditional notebooks. Many of them possess notebook computers today. Today’s education is about PowerPoint presentations and e-homework assignments. TVs and radios were once, the only means of entertainment, but not any more. Today’s entertainment is about the computer and Internet technology.

Perhaps one of the major advantages of computer technology is its ability to provide us with Internet access. Computers possess networking capabilities, which makes it possible to connect multiple computers and achieve exchange of information between them. Network communication is possible, thanks to the networking features offered by computers.

These were some of the important effects of computer technology on our lives. The list can go on. However, the very fact that you are on a computer reading about the effects of computer technology, which were typed into a computer, speaks a lot about how this technology has affected our lives. Don’t you think so?