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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 here.
Bill Georgiou wrote a great introduction to speech recognition in Byte Magazine in 1978 (Vol 3, #6 p56). It can be obtained here.


Heuristics S-100 Boards
Speechlab Board


This page was last modified on 10/25/2013