Wireless neck-surface accelerometer and microphone on flex circuit with application to noise-robust monitoring of Lombard speech,” in Interspeech, 2017.Abstract, “
Ambulatory monitoring of real-world voice characteristics and behavior has the potential to provide important assessment of voice and speech disorders and psychological and emotional state. In this paper, we report on the novel development of a lightweight, wireless voice monitor that synchronously records dual-channel data from an acoustic microphone and a neck-surface accelerometer embedded on a flex circuit. In this paper, Lombard speech effects were investigated in pilot data from four adult speakers with normal vocal function who read a phonetically balanced paragraph in the presence of different ambient acoustic noise levels. Whereas the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the microphone signal decreased in the presence of increasing ambient noise level, the SNR of the accelerometer sensor remained high. Lombard speech properties were thus robustly computed from the accelerometer signal and observed in all four speakers who exhibited increases in average estimates of sound pressure level (+2.3 dB), fundamental frequency (+21.4 Hz), and cepstral peak prominence (+1.3 dB) from quiet to loud ambient conditions. Future work calls for ambulatory data collection in naturalistic environments, where the microphone acts as a sound level meter and the accelerometer functions as a noise-robust voicing sensor to assess voice disorders, neurological conditions, and cognitive load.