Terminator Tongues - USAF Seeks Voice Transformation Tech
Voice transformation is one part of the Terminator's arsenal that the U.S. Air Force would like to have available. Researchers are being solicited to help ordinary human airmen disguise their voices - even to sound like another person altogether. This could be accomplished with voice transformation algorithms that can also detect transformed voices.
As you may recall, in Terminator 2, the bad-guy shape-shifting T1000 takes over the person of John Connor's foster mother. When John becomes suspicious during a phone conversation with her (it), the good-guy Terminator (Arnold, of course) takes over the conversation, imitating John's spoiled west coast brat voice perfectly.
(The Terminator Voice Transformation)
Here are the requirements, from the official U.S.A.F. solicitation:
The goal of this phase is to research techniques to analyze a person [sic] voice for voice transformation. While voice transformation have [sic] been around for awhile, the ability [sic] to transform a personís voice to a target voice is not yet solved. Parameters such as the speaking rate, stress, and intonation will provide broad parameters for modeling a personís voice. A finer grain analysis of a personís voice may also be performed by de-convolving an audio signal into its glottal pulse and vocal tract information.
Transforming a speaker's voice so it is unrecognizable may be less difficult than you might think. Studies were conducted in 1980 in which subjects were tested on their ability to recognize a group of 53 voices, 29 of which were actually familiar to the listener. In the study, 31% of speakers could be identified with a single word, 66% from a single sentence, but only 83% from a full thirty seconds of speech. So, for some of the time (or for some speakers), voices are just hard to recognize consistently.
Transforming a speaker's voice into a target voice is much more difficult. Some of the difficulties relate to
Incredibly, the U.S.A.F. is even looking further ahead for different uses for voice transformation technology, including "medical applications if a personís voice box was damaged, in the gaming industry and animated films for creating and modify voices, for voice dubbing of foreign films, and for creating/reducing a personís accent."
- Formant spectra: the coarse structure of the different parts of speech. 'Formant' refers to the regions of concentration of energy, prominent on a sound spectrogram, that collectively constitute the frequency spectrum of a speech sound. This is the most common target of voice transformation algorithms, which work by constructing a map between the formant spectra of the two voices
- Prosodic features: These are aspects of speech that vary from person to person, like fundamental pitch of the voice, timing - the patterns and rhythms of speech.
- Mannerisms: This refers to word choices and preferred phrases and other high-level behaviors. For example, some one from New Jersey might imitate the voice of someone from Arkansas perfectly, but still fail to convince a listener owing to a failure to select the right phrases.
You might enjoy these speech-related articles:
Read more at the USAF voice transformation and detection solicitation and at DefenseTech; see also this interesting short article on voice transformation.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/13/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.' - Larry Niven, 1970.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...' - Paul Di Filippo, 1985
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'
Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'
Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'
IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'
Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'
Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'
Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'
BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'
IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'
World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories