‘Smooth talking gadgets’ not far off say Sheffield researchers

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INTELLIGENT speech recognition which could result in human-like interaction with computers is under development in Sheffield.

Researchers from Sheffield university have joined those from Cambridge and Edinburgh to push forward the efforts to create the technology.

The £6.2 million five-year project hopes to advance computing techniques that will be able to understand spoken language and synthesise natural-sounding voice.

The researchers said that technology may soon be available which can recognise the voices of individuals and could become familiar with the expressions, accents and vocabulary of individual speakers.

“This research could open the door to computer speech technology becoming commonplace throughout our lives - at home, at work, and in our leisure time,” said a spokesman for the project.

“Besides a new class of chatty gadgets, uses of the new speech technology include the potential to create voice-controlled devices for the home, which could help older people stay independent.”