Portable microphone system transcribes multi-person conversations in real time

In case you hadn’t noticed, we love gadgets here at Digital Trends. But, as much as we like them, gadgets can often fall under the “nice to have” banner, as opposed to being things which fundamentally transform our lives on a regular basis. The same isn’t true when it comes to accessibility devices, aimed at helping people with disabilities carry out the kind of day-to-day tasks many of us take for granted. That is why we’re excited about a new crowdfunding campaign created by a team of Netherlands-based entrepreneurs. Called SpeakSee, it’s a multi-mic system which will accurately transcribe conversations for deaf users, rendering everyday chat between groups of people as a multi-person script.

“Both of my parents have severe hearing loss since birth,” Jari Hazelebach, co-founder and CEO, told Digital Trends. “Throughout my life, I’ve seen the communication barriers that they had to face. My father has difficulties following meetings at work, and misses out on a lot of relevant information he needs to do his job. Enabling him and millions of others around the world to be a full part of conversations again is what inspired my co-founder Marcel van der Ven, Joshua Flowers and I to create SpeakSee.”

speaksee indiegogo deaf users dw1671352576798

Using SpeakSee is as easy as handing out wearables microphones for people to clip on to their clothing. After this, their words are transcribed in different colors for deaf or hard of hearing users, who can read along using a connected smartphone or tablet. However, it could also be useful for other people, such as journalists who want to transcribe conversations more easily. With that in mind, text transcripts of conversations can be easily saved and then searched using keywords.

The smart technology making this all possible takes advantage of the recent artificial intelligence neural network-assisted advances in speech recognition. It is also aided by some neat microphones, which use beamforming technology to isolate specific people’s speech and filter out any background noise. An array of built-in sensors even adjusts the microphones according to different conversational dynamics.

As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the risks of pledging money for crowdfunding campaigns. If you’re aware of these and still wish to get involved, though, you can head over to the project’s Indiegogo page and pledge your financial support. A set of three microphones and a dock starts at $349, while a pricier option gives you the chance to get six mics and two docks at a discount. Shipping is set to take place in February 2019.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Computing

How the Google Stadia could lead to a new era of multi-GPU gaming

Google's Stadia could use more than one graphics card to deliver the high-performance visuals it's promised. If that leads to better developer support for multi-GPUs, could that mean gaming with two or more graphics cards could finally be…
Mobile

FCC to help first responders pinpoint 911 callers in multistory buildings

When someone calls 911 from their cell phone, wireless carriers provide operators with an approximate location. Now the FCC wants the carriers to provide vertical location data to pinpoint 911 callers inside multi-story buildings.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.
Emerging Tech

A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can comfortably fit on the side of your desk… well, Danish company Cobod International’s enormous new 3D house printer probably isn’t for you.
Deals

Need a ride? Amazon is slashing prices on popular electric scooters

If you’re not much of a cyclist or if you’re looking for a lazier way to zip about town, an electric scooter should be right up your alley. Two of our favorites, the foldable Glion Dolly and the eco-friendly Razor scooter, are on sale…
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.
Emerging Tech

Spacewalk a success as astronauts upgrade batteries on the ISS

The International Space Station was treated to some new batteries on Friday, thanks to two NASA astronauts who took a spacewalk for nearly seven hours in order to complete the upgrades.
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.