A year ago we started tо work at a platform to be used as a basis for a simple robotic interface. Our task was to combine face and voice recognition with voice synthesis.
We began with a simpler task: voice synthesis, as this task is solved by many vendors. In 1984 Steve Jobs surprised everybody at his Macintosh presentation when the first Mac started speaking.
We did not have any problems with the selection of the speech synthesis modules. They all work well and have a wide choice of voices.
Finally, we used the standard Microsoft SAPI. This product with various language sets is distributed free of charge.
As for the image recognition, the task here was more complicated, as we needed not just to recognize a face or an object but to recognize it in the streaming video going from the camera. The choice of the resources used by the program is very important. It does not matter for a computer but does matter for a tablet, as the program should work efficiently and should not slow or stop the system.
For this solution we used the OpenCV library. To speed up the work, any face of a certain size in the camera field vision is searched for. The search is done with the help of Haar cascades and the ready trained template from the OpenCV library.
A detected face is cut out, normalized (unified) in size and light, and reproduced in black and white.
After that a ready FaceRecognizer algorithm, trained on a number of images of the same face taken from different angles, is used to recognize a certain person.
Now let’s go to a more complicated part – voice recognition.
Here we have spent 90% of our labor and should admit that only now we are fully satisfied with the result. We tried to use ready Open Source solutions.
Unfortunately, 99% of these solutions are either not free or poor. That is, if you say “Manchester” the system hears “Liverpool”. We had to choose and try various words and combinations.
Thus, a well-known Open Source Sphinx works off-line and has all the necessary tools, but it takes much time to train it to get more or less acceptable level of recognition.
At the end we chose Google Speech API, which maintains not more than 50 recognitions a day (about 15 minutes of the recognition process). It’s enough for a demo.
The Google program has a good quality of recognition. It works even at the distance of a few meters.
So, how does the program work?
The first thing the program does when activated is to detect a face in the field of camera vision. If it sees the face for the first time (it is not found in the database), it asks to enter and save the name. After that the program will always recognize this face.
Then the program switches to the mode of speech recognition: pronounced words, sentences or commands. As soon as the program recognizes a phrase, pronounced be a person, it looks for an adequate answer in the database and voices the answer. It is necessary to put all possible answers into the program beforehand for the program to know what to say. So far, it looks like a simple text file.
This is not about an artificial intellect. This is about an interface for image and speech recognition and speech synthesis.
So, what possibilities do this program and the interface open? It is possible to use them for development of a certain robotic platform. This kind of platforms exists nowadays as electronic kiosks.
As we see it, this program will look more elegant if used together with our DIY SelfieBot.
Let’s consider theoretical options of the platform application
Conference registration counter SelfieBot
Problem to be solved: reduction of conference staff costs.
Task: Support of conference visitors and guests with a user-friendly interface for automatic online registration.
Solution: A guest comes to the registration counter, tells his name. The system recognized him, checks him in the database and registers the guest online.
– Introduce yourself, please.
– Tim Cook.
– Good afternoon, Tim. We welcome you at our conference.
Virtual secretary SelfieBot
Problem to be solved: reduction of expenses for a secretary work in an office center.
Task: Support of visitors with a user-friendly interface for automatic registration when visiting an office center.
Solution: A guest comes to the SelfieBot and tells his name. The info goes to the receiving party as a text or voice mail.
– Please, introduce yourself.
– Steve Voznyak.
– Thank you for coming. You’ll be welcomed now, Steve. Have a nice day!
Self-service terminal SelfieBot
Problem to be solved: reduction of expenses for customers’ self-service and improvement of the service quality.
Task: Customer support with a user-friendly interface for interaction with a self-service terminal. Voice communication.
Solution: A guest comes to the terminal and tells what he wants to do. No need to touch the screen.
– Good afternoon. What would you like to do?
– I’d like to know when my credit repayment is due. My account number is 35310204.
– It is due before the 30th day of the following month.
Shop assistant SelfieBot
Problem to be solved: reduction of expenses for personnel and virtual information service.
Task: Customer support with a user-friendly interface for interaction with an electronic shop assistant.
Solution: A customer approaches the electronic assistant, asks questions and gets all the necessary information.
– Good afternoon! We are happy to see you in our shop.
– What special discounts do you offer?
– We offer 10% discounts to our regular customers for all goods.
– Do you have new collections?
– We do, you’ll find them in the far right-hand corner.
Robot-waiter SelfieBot in a café/restaurantе
Problem to be solved: reduction of expenses for personnel; waiting time reduction.
Task: Customer support with a user-friendly interface for interaction with an electronic waiter.
Solution: A robot-waiter approaches a customer, asks if he is ready with the order and takes the order.
– Good afternoon! We are happy to see you in our café. Are you ready with the order?
– Yes. Please, bring me one cappuccino and a croissant.
– Thank you for the order. You’ll get it in 5 minutes.
We invite schools and colleges for cooperation. We are ready to share our project with you for non-commercial purposes and further researches.
We remind you that the project is open-source and is distributed among educational institutions free of charge.
Ask us any questions you might have gf@EnduranceRobots.com
Talk to us: +7 916 225 4302 (including WhatsApp, Viber)
Lean more about us: http://EnduranceRobots.com