Computer system for quantitative evaluation of an electrotactile vocoder for artificial hearing


A computer-controlled experimental electrotactile vocoder system is designed to evaluate quantitatively the transmission of speech information and to test various design options for tactual vocoders. The system is composed of a digital speech synthesizer, a digital vocoder, a computer-driven electrotactile display, and an adaptive controller for psychophysical experimentation. Samples of continua representing speech contrast types occurring in natural languages are synthesized by systematically manipulating selected subphonemic features. The synthesized speech stimuli are processed using a programmable vocoder and presented to the skin with an electrotactile display belt worn on the abdomen. Transmission of significant speech parameters is quantitatively evaluated using adaptive psychophysical techniques and labeling tests. The system is used to assess the potential of speech transmission through the skin and to evaluate different vocoder configurations and processing techniques for tactual vocoders to be used as artificial hearing devices by the deaf. © 1988.

Publication Title

Computers and Biomedical Research