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Challenges in Adopting Speech Control for Assistive Robots

Part of the Advanced Technologies and Societal Change book series (ATSC)

Abstract

This paper presents a pragmatic report about experiences gathered with the speech command interface of HOBBIT, a mobile assistive robot intended to support older persons in their private home. An outline of the associated problems and challenges in distant speech recognition is given. Far field detection of user’s voice commands is necessary due to user acceptance considerations. A commercially available automatic speech recognition (ASR) serves as base. Measurements of directivity of several microphones were done and ASR performance with a small vocabulary showed low word error rates (WER) in different acoustic environments: anechoic room (0 %), free space (2.6 %), AAL room (3.8 %) when using a small array microphone with beam forming. Further explorative trials in a free space setting with a second (disturbing) signal source resulted in a WER of 3.9 % (two voices) and 11.1 % (one voice and radio news) compared to 2.6 % in case of only one speaker.

Keywords

  • AAL
  • Socially assistive robots
  • Speech recognition
  • HRI

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Acknowledgments

The research leading to these results has received partial funding from the European Community’s FP7 under grant agreement No. 288146. We also would like to thank the Federal Institute of Technology—TGM, Department Acoustics and Building Physics, in Vienna, for their support.

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Correspondence to Paul Panek .

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Panek, P., Mayer, P. (2015). Challenges in Adopting Speech Control for Assistive Robots. In: Wichert, R., Klausing, H. (eds) Ambient Assisted Living. Advanced Technologies and Societal Change. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-11866-6_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-11866-6_1

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

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