Terminator Tongues - USAF Seeks Voice Transformation Tech

Voice transformation is one part of the Terminator's arsenal that the U.S. Air Force would like to have available. Researchers are being solicited to help ordinary human airmen disguise their voices - even to sound like another person altogether. This could be accomplished with voice transformation algorithms that can also detect transformed voices.

As you may recall, in Terminator 2, the bad-guy shape-shifting T1000 takes over the person of John Connor's foster mother. When John becomes suspicious during a phone conversation with her (it), the good-guy Terminator (Arnold, of course) takes over the conversation, imitating John's spoiled west coast brat voice perfectly.


(The Terminator Voice Transformation)

Here are the requirements, from the official U.S.A.F. solicitation:

The goal of this phase is to research techniques to analyze a person [sic] voice for voice transformation. While voice transformation have [sic] been around for awhile, the ability [sic] to transform a personís voice to a target voice is not yet solved. Parameters such as the speaking rate, stress, and intonation will provide broad parameters for modeling a personís voice. A finer grain analysis of a personís voice may also be performed by de-convolving an audio signal into its glottal pulse and vocal tract information.

Transforming a speaker's voice so it is unrecognizable may be less difficult than you might think. Studies were conducted in 1980 in which subjects were tested on their ability to recognize a group of 53 voices, 29 of which were actually familiar to the listener. In the study, 31% of speakers could be identified with a single word, 66% from a single sentence, but only 83% from a full thirty seconds of speech. So, for some of the time (or for some speakers), voices are just hard to recognize consistently.

Transforming a speaker's voice into a target voice is much more difficult. Some of the difficulties relate to

  • Formant spectra: the coarse structure of the different parts of speech. 'Formant' refers to the regions of concentration of energy, prominent on a sound spectrogram, that collectively constitute the frequency spectrum of a speech sound. This is the most common target of voice transformation algorithms, which work by constructing a map between the formant spectra of the two voices
  • Prosodic features: These are aspects of speech that vary from person to person, like fundamental pitch of the voice, timing - the patterns and rhythms of speech.
  • Mannerisms: This refers to word choices and preferred phrases and other high-level behaviors. For example, some one from New Jersey might imitate the voice of someone from Arkansas perfectly, but still fail to convince a listener owing to a failure to select the right phrases.
Incredibly, the U.S.A.F. is even looking further ahead for different uses for voice transformation technology, including "medical applications if a personís voice box was damaged, in the gaming industry and animated films for creating and modify voices, for voice dubbing of foreign films, and for creating/reducing a personís accent."

You might enjoy these speech-related articles:

Read more at the USAF voice transformation and detection solicitation and at DefenseTech; see also this interesting short article on voice transformation.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/13/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...' - Isaac Asimov, 1965.

ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'

Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.