Large-scale Data Collection and Analysis via a Gamified Intelligent Crowdsourcing Platform


In this contribution, we present iHEARu-PLAY, an online, multi-player platform for crowdsourced database collection and labelling, including the voice analysis application (VoiLA), a free web-based speech classification tool designed to educate iHEARu-PLAY users about state-of-the-art speech analysis paradigms. Via this associated speech analysis web interface, in addition, VoiLA encourages users to take an active role in improving the service by providing labelled speech data. The platform allows users to record and upload voice samples directly from their browser, which are then analysed in a state-of-the-art classification pipeline. A set of pre-trained models targeting a range of speaker states and traits such as gender, valence, arousal, dominance, and 24 different discrete emotions is employed. The analysis results are visualised in a way that they are easily interpretable by laymen, giving users unique insights into how their voice sounds. We assess the effectiveness of iHEARu-PLAY and its integrated VoiLA feature via a series of user evaluations which indicate that it is fun and easy to use, and that it provides accurate and informative results.

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This work was supported by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (No. 338164) (ERC Starting Grant iHEARu). We thank audEERING for providing sensAI and all iHEARu-PLAY players for taking part in our evaluation.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Simone Hantke.

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Recommended by Associate Editor Jian-Hua Tao

Simone Hantke received her Diploma in media technology from the Technische Hochschule Deggendorf, Germany in 2011, and the M.Sc. degree from the Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany in 2014, one of Germany’s Excellence Universities. She currently is a PhD degree candidate at TUM, Germany, and working at the ZD.B Chair of Embedded Intelligence for Health Care and Wellbeing, University of Augsburg, Germany. She is working on her doctoral thesis in the field of affective computing and speech processing, focusing her research on data collection and new machine learning approaches for robust automatic speech recognition and speaker characterisation. Her main area of involvement has been with the EU FP7 ERC project iHEARu. In the scope of this project she leads the development of crowdsourcing data collection and annotation for speech processing and is the lead author of iHEARu-PLAY.

Tobias Olenyi received the B.Sc. degree in computer science from the University of Passau, Germany in 2017. Currently, he is a master student in informatics at the Technische Universität München, Germany where he focuses on artificial intelligence and machine learning. In his Bachelor’s thesis “Classifying Voice Likability with Instruments of Machine Learning” supervised by Simone Hantke, he explored different approaches to vocal emotion analysis based on feature mapping and he developed the initial version of VoiLA. In addition, he integrated the emotion analysis capabilities of audEERING’s sensAI into the newly-developed tool.

Christoph Hausner received the M. Sc. degree in computer science from University of Passau, Germany in 2017. His main interests lie in software engineering and real-world applications of machine learning and signal processing methods. He previously worked as a student assistant at the Chair for Complex and Intelligent Systems, and contributed to the development of the iHEARu-PLAY platform. As part of his master thesis, Christoph Hausner developed a custom-tailored noise classification system for one of the world’s largest manufacturers in the automotive industry. He is currently working as a software engineer at audEERING GmbH, leading the development of the feature extraction toolkit openSMILE and the sensAI web service.

Tobias Appel received the M.Sc. degree from the Technische Universität München, Germany in 2015. His master’s thesis “Crowdsourcing- and Games-Concepts for Data Annotation” was supervised by Simone Hantke. In the scope of his thesis, he developed the fundamental concept and the basic technological framework for iHEARu-PLAY together with Simone. He is now part-time employed by audEERING GmbH and continues to contribute to iHEARu-PLAY while also working on his doctoral thesis as member of the Munich Network Management Team at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany.

Björn Schuller received the Ph. D. degree on automatic speech and emotion recognition in 2006, and his habilitation in the subject area of signal processing and machine intelligence in 2012, all in electrical engineering and information technology from TUM, Germany. He is a professor of artificial intelligence in the Department of Computing at the Imperial College London, UK, full professor and head of the ZD.B Chair of Embedded Intelligence for Health Care and Wellbeing at the University of Augsburg, Germany, and CEO of audEERING-an audio intelligence company. He (co-)authored 6 books and more than 800 publications in peer reviewed books, journals, and conference proceedings leading to more than overall 22000 citations (H-index = 69). Professor Schuller is co-Program Chair of Interspeech 2019, and repeated Area Chair of IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) next to a multitude of further Associate and Guest Editor roles and functions in Technical and Organisational Committees.

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Hantke, S., Olenyi, T., Hausner, C. et al. Large-scale Data Collection and Analysis via a Gamified Intelligent Crowdsourcing Platform. Int. J. Autom. Comput. 16, 427–436 (2019).

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  • Human computation
  • speech analysis
  • crowdsourcing
  • gamified data collection
  • survey