Heuristics - Speechlab Board
This is a voice recognition board for S-100 bus systems. The board
came out early, in 1976 and was tried by many as a curiosity system.
Unfortunately it did not work very good.
The Computer sent one byte commands to Speechlab ("
Beep your speaker ", " Read out a sample, " etc.) and received digitized
information on what was being spoken into the microphone. The interchange
between Speechlab and the computer was accomplished via an I/O port
which was on the Speechlab board. Each time Speechlab was commanded to input
information, it sent four bytes to the computer. One was an approximation of the
overall frequency of the utterance since it was last querried and the other
three approximated the amount of energy in three frequency ranges (averaged over
time). These three ranges roughly bracket the first three resonances of the
human vocal tract. Thus, if you were interested in listening to 2 seconds of
speech and wished to sample the incoming sound every 10 milliseconds, you would
end up with 800 bytes of information in memory. In addition to hardware for
digitizing sound in the manner outlined above, Speechlab came with some useful
software. It included a demonstration program theoretically capable of learning
and recognizing 64 different utterances, a subroutine for inputting speech (the
number of samples to be input and the time interval between samples are the
parameters), and a version of Palo Alto Tiny Basic with the speech input
subroutine included. Last but not least, Speechlab came with two manuals - one
on assembly, test and principles of operations and a book of experiments.
The external microphone was attached to a socket at the top left of the board.
The manual for this board can be obtained
Bill Georgiou wrote a great introduction to speech recognition in Byte Magazine
in 1978 (Vol 3, #6 p56). It can be obtained
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