Northwestern University has developed a new wearable device that monitors real-time speech strain and fatigue. It could be a very valuable aid for singers, teachers and speakers who speak for a long time in public.
The voice monitor consists of a small, flexible patch that adheres to the chest and detects subtle changes in vibration, then transmits the data via Bluetooth to an app installed on users' smartphones or tablets. A haptic wearable device, such as a smartwatch, can be set to alert users to any warning signs of voice fatigue or strain.
The researchers trained the voice monitor to distinguish between singing and speaking, using a team of professional opera artists and singers. Each of the volunteers recorded 2.500 one-second samples of singing and speaking clips, which were then fed into a machine learning program. Details of the research were published this week in an article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and I link it here.
The results? Impressive. The algorithm now distinguishes between the two forms of communication with more than 95% accuracy.
Speech stress monitor - so many useful applications
As mentioned, this device could soon become an invaluable resource for actors, musicians, voice actors, coaches, teachers. Basically, anyone who relies on their voice for a living. In the next versions of the project, the researchers aim to integrate temperature and heart and respiratory rate monitoring systems: a way to study how all these bodily functions interact and influence each other.
This means making progress even in medicine. A better understanding of these processes will help prevent short- and long-term problems. A vocal lesion is a common problem, and it can affect many people. While basic care (hydration, warm-up exercises, herbal medicines) can alleviate and prevent many problems, additional tools like this voice monitor could easily boost your defenses against the worst relapses.
"The voice is an integral part of daily life." To say it is Theresa Broccaccio , a voice expert at Northwestern and a developer of the device.
He's right. For this, protecting it is of vital importance.