Situated in the centre of Dublin, within the Trinity College, the Speech Communication Laboratory is a research unit at the crossing of the School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences and the School of Computer Science and Statistics, funded by the Science Foundation of Ireland.
Created under the FastNet project as its direct extension the Speech Communication Laboratory is taking this established expertise and supplementing it through the use of other modalities in the investigation of group behavior analysis, social interaction, engagement between speakers and prosodic and gestural accommodation as well as human-machine interactions. The lab is a state-of-the-art environment, optimally designed for the multimodal capture of conversational social interaction. Using High Definition digital cameras, microphones, Microsoft Kinect devices, RealSense, and biometric sensors, the various nuances and complexities of social human-human and human-robot interaction are captured for subsequent analysis. The lab has a wide range of expertise and nationalities and has quickly built up a strong track record since it started in 2010.
This multidisciplinary laboratory includes professors, PhD candidates, research assistants and Post-doctoral researchers, with the occasional addition of interns and visitors from overseas. Originated from various fields: computer sciences, mathematics, engineering, linguistics, teaching and psychology, under the direction of the SFI Stokes Research Professor Nick Campbell.
Networking is an essential component of human interaction, and the content of a spoken conversation has as much to do with social bonding as with the transfer of propositional meaning. Recognising that social interactions are the essential components of vocal communication, and that actions, rather than words, are the prime units to be processed in a discourse, we aim for a paradigm shift in the way computers process speech, to incorporate speaking-style information alongside message content to provide a richer expression (or understanding) of an utterance.
The research generalised and extended previous findings from another language (Japanese) using speech data of Irish and Irish-English. The technical goal of this research is to produce speech technology specifically adapted to interactive or conversational speaking styles that will enable a friendlier and more efficient speech interface for public services, commerce, and entertainment. The academic goal of the research is to model this parallel channel of spoken communication, verifying its universality in human dialogue, but also illuminating the extent it may take on language/culture specific form.
An Charraig Aonair is a symbol of Ireland, standing isolated off its coast in much the same way that Ireland itself stands isolated from mainland Europe, but serving as its westernmost component. This project, codenamed FASTNET, will burn a light from these shores that will be seen across the world. It will take the lead in introducing a paradigm shift in speech processing that will help ordinary people to make use of advanced technology in a simple and natural way.