Voice recognition system for Massey University Smarthouse : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering in Information Engineering at Massey University
The concept of a smarthouse aims to integrate technology into houses to a level where most daily tasks are automated and to provide comfort, safety and entertainment to the house residents. The concept is mainly aimed at the elderly population to improve their quality of life. In order to maintain a natural medium of communication, the house employs a speech recognition system capable of analysing spoken language, and extracting commands from it. This project focuses on the development and evaluation of a windows application developed with a high level programming language which incorporates speech recognition technology by utilising a commercial speech recognition engine. The speech recognition system acts as a hub within the Smarthouse to receive and delegate user commands to different switching and control systems. Initial trails were built using Dragon Naturally Speaking as the recognition engine. However that proved inappropriate for use in the Smarthouse project as it is speaker dependent and requires each user to train it with his/her own voice. The application now utilizes the Microsoft Speech Application Programming Interface (SAPI), a software layer which sits between applications and speech engines and the Microsoft Speech Recognition Engine, which is freely distributed with some Microsoft products. Although Dragon Naturally Speaking offers better recognition for dictation, MS engine can be optimized using Context Free Grammar (CFG) to give enhanced recognition in the intended application. The application is designed to be speaker independent and can handle continuous speech. It connects to a database oriented expert system to carry out full conversations with the users. Audible prompts and confirmations are achieved through speech synthesis using any SAPI compliant text to speech engine. Other developments focused on designing a telephony system using Microsoft Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI). This allows the house to be remotely controlled from anywhere in the world. House residents will be able to call their house from any part of the world and regardless of their location, the house will be able to respond to and fulfil their commands.