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Australian researchers collect children’s voice biometrics to help with speech impairments

Australian researchers collect children’s voice biometrics to help with speech impairments

Researchers from five of Australia’s universities have been collecting voice recordings of children aged between three and 12 in order to develop a voice biometric system for children and people with voice impairments.

According to ABC News, this is part of a project dubbed AuskidTalk and funded by the Australian Research Council. The project has rallied speech and voice recognition specialists from universities including the Universities of Sydney, New South Wales, Western Sydney, Macquarie and Melbourne.

It has as its goal the recording of hundreds of voices of children for the creation of a database to help people with speech difficulties and improve on a voice recognition system, the report adds.

The purpose of the voice recordings is to help the researchers build automatic speech recognition systems to aid speech development. The voices of 750 children are expected to be recorded by June this year within the framework of the AusKidTalk project, the researchers say, with about 60 voices having already been recorded in 2020.

The biometric software being developed can be used on devices.

ABC News quoted the lead researcher of the project, Dr. Leena Ahmed, as explaining the importance of the voice recordings which are being collected from the children.

“If we want to understand how our children’s speech evolves, we really need to collect this database so that researchers around the country can develop an understanding and help our children to become better speakers and better people,” said the senior lecturer in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at the University of New South Wales.

The researchers say they will also be studying the variations in the speech of the children patterning to their age and accent, and a look into how emotions affect the way children speak or construct sentences, the report notes.

Startup SoapBox raised $6.3 million in funding last year to work on voice biometrics for children.

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