News and Updates
Following on from Loopy Puzzle is another logic puzzle with a daily challenge. Starmino puzzles are variants of Fillomino puzzles with a new twist and a simple, clean user interface. The challenge is to cover the puzzle board with polyomino tiles labelled with digits:
Fed up with on-line tools for finding words for crosswords, I've built my own system at findaword.net. You select the length of word you are looking for and whatever letters you know already and it reports the words that match from a 500,000 word dictionary. You can specify letters in given positions, in any position or some combination. It's also super-fast - at least 10× faster than other on-line systems.
For a few years now I've been writing my lecture handouts as web pages, but still somehow remained stuck with PowerPoint for lecture slides. Recently I've been exploring how lecture and talk presentations can be created in HTML using reveal.js. A great benefit is the possibility to integrate my web-based speech analysis tools directly into the slides using iframes. Here is a demonstration.
The Bayesian sampling demonstrations use the bayes.js library to show how a t-distribution can be fitted to a sample of data, to show how to compare the means of two samples, and to show how linear regression can be performed. The demonstrations feature live animations of the sampling process, and you can even cut and paste your own data.
Loopy Puzzles are simple pen-and-paper puzzles in which you must connect lines to create a loop within the given grid of cells. The LoopyPuzzle.com web site now has a different puzzle every day that you can solve using your phone.
Audio3D is a free Windows program for simulating 3D audio. Audio3D takes the specification for a room and the position of the listener and some sound sources and generates a binaural audio signal that simulates what the listener would hear in the room. You can then experience the sound by listening over headphones. In addition Audio3D supports the use of ahead tracker, so that the room stays stationary while you move your head.
I wrote Audio3D as part of our E-Lobes project into advanced hearing aids. We plan to run listening experiments in the virtual room which will simulate the kind of problem listening environments for hearing-impaired listeners. Our goal is to develop "3D-aware" signal processing for hearing aids which will unlock the ability of the brain to deal with audio coming from different directions even when the listener's hearing is impaired.
The iVOICE and VULCAN projects are mentioned on the Principia Mission web pages that describe the science experiments that will be performed by Tim Peake in his mission to the International Space Station.
We hope that Tim will contribute to VULCAN by making some test recordings for us to explore the practicalities of obtaining high quality audio recordings in space and to analyze how microgravity affects the voice.
The excitement over Tim's mission has lead to interest by the media in the voice analysis work. See this article from the Daily Telegraph.
The VULCAN project is a new feasibility study also funded by the European Space Agency under the Artes 20 programme. The project partners are UCL Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, UCL Mullard Space Sciences Laboratory Centre for Space Medicine and the Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow, Russia. It will run from January 2016 to January 2017.
The VULCAN project is part of a larger endeavour investigating how psychological support may be given to astronauts undertaking a long-term mission, for example a mission to Mars that might take up to two years. VULCAN builds on the outcomes of the iVOICE project that showed how signal analysis and machine learning methods may be applied to the prediction of speaker fatigue and cognitive load from voice recordings. The idea of VULCAN is to develop a technology capable of monitoring the general health and well-being of astronauts on long-term missions from speech recordings.
At the heart of VULCAN is a new technology for Longitudinal Voice Analysis. This is a combination of innovative signal analysis methods together with statistical modelling of a sequence of recordings to uncover either anomalous recordings or long-term trends in the voice. We will demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique by applying it to several thousand spoken messages recorded as part of the Mars500 simulated mission to Mars experiment conducted by IBMP in 2010/11.
The combination of more powerful computers and the web audio API means we can do much mroe signal processing within web applications. I'v been meaning to update my RTPItch program for a while, so I've taken the opportunity to re-imagine it as a web application. AmPitch is a real-time scrolling amplitude and pitch display designed for speech. It works best when configured for the speaker's normal speaking pitch range. Try it out here.