1998 Conference Proceedings

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Colin Wheeler
Tash International Inc.
Unit 1, 91 Station Street
Ajax, Ontario

This one-hour presentation will introduce TASH’s new speech recognition environmental control system, the Sicare pilot. With the Sicare pilot, it is possible to control, by voice alone, a number of functions to achieve an independent lifestyle. Sicare is the remote control that obeys the spoken command!

Whether you are looking to make a phone call, open a door, operate a television set or turn on a light, the speech recognition and menu system can be adapted to meet the needs of the end user. Sicare understands up to 64 spoken commands and converts them to corresponding control commands.

Sicare pilot can be operated as an installed device from the power supply unit or as a portable device with rechargeable batteries.

The extent of the Sicare pilot’s functions depends on the configuration of the device. The initial setup is custom designed on a Windows based computer using Sicare software.

Once the goals of the end user have been established, the setup is created as an individual menu for the client. For example, if the goal of the client is to control the TV, CD player, telephone and lights throughout the house, then the menu tree will show all these functions. As the menu tree is developed, in a hierarchical manner, each environmental action the client wants access to is listed. An example of the menu tree to meet the needs of this client would be: house, light 1, on, off; CD player, play, disc 1, disc 2; TV, on, off, channel 14, channel 7. Each menu point is linked.

Once the menu tree satisfies the needs of the end user, each menu point is configured to initiate the appointed action. For example, under light-on, the menu point is configured to send a radio/X-10 signal. Each command can initiate actions on various devices at the same time. For example, when answering the telephone, the volume on the radio and the television will turn down as you command the Sicare to “answer phone”. We will show you the step by step process to configure each menu point for the environmental control desired.

When working with infrared controlled devices, the Sicare infrared scanner will scan all signals from the client’s own remote control to a database within the Sicare software. Once the signals are stored they can be used to configure any menu point requiring an infrared controller.

On completion of the initial setup, with all menu points configured, the configuration is downloaded to the Sicare pilot. Once the information has been transferred to Sicare pilot, the first training of voice commands can begin. All used expressions of the configuration file must be trained if the Sicare pilot is to be operated using speech recognition. Retraining can be carried out directly on the Sicare pilot without the use of a computer but the initial training is done with the Sicare attached to the computer.

The speech recognition system is user dependent and requires a maximum of five speech patterns for each expression. The Sicare pilot must be turned on and connected to the computer when training the commands. The internal microphone of the pilot is used to record the speech pattern. We will show you how to train all words being used within this personalized configuration.

The training of the Sicare pilot must be done in the environment where it will be used. Training the words in the morning, at noon and in the evening will assist in recording the speech deviations. Printing the menu allows the client to maintain an overview of their setup as an orientation until they learn all the command words and sequences.

The voice patterns are now trained and the Sicare is ready for use. All menu items and actions are shown on the LED display. As the Sicare pilot is trained to recognize individual voice patterns, operation by a third person is possible by means of the external keys or a dual switch. For operation with the external keys, the scroll key selects the command and the OK key confirms it.

The Sicare pilot is normally operated by the spoken commands. The user speaks the commands of the menu tree one after another to achieve the desired action. Because the Sicare pilot reacts to voice commands, it constantly compares noises in its environment with its recorded voice patterns. If you want to reduce the chances of the device responding accidentally you can put the Sicare pilot into stand-by mode with the command “snooze”. It can be brought back into the active mode only with the command, “wakeup”. Other special commands, such as return or main menu allow you to move through the menu with greater ease.

The special function menu of the Sicare pilot is used for setting or resetting permanent device functions. The special function menu is accessed directly through the Sicare by voice commands or by using the external switches. The functions available in the special function menu allow you to train select words, retrain single commands, change the speaker volume, turn voice output off or turn the backlit display off.

In summary, this presentation will give you an opportunity: to observe the ease of working with the Sicare software, to understand the set-up and configuration of an individual menu, to preview a hands on training of the voice commands using X:10 and infrared signals and to see the Sicare in action.

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