(12) United States Patent (io) Patent No.: US 6,999,924 B2
Burnett et al. (45) Date of Patent: Feb. 14,2006
(54) SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR
CHARACTERIZING VOICED EXCITATIONS
OF SPEECH AND ACOUSTIC SIGNALS,
REMOVING ACOUSTIC NOISE FROM
SPEECH, AND SYNTHESIZING SPEECH
(75) Inventors: Greg C. Burnett, Livermore, CA (US);
John F. Holzrichter, Berkeley, CA
(US); Lawrence C. Ng, Danville, CA
(73) Assignee: The Regents of the University of
California, Oakland, CA (US)
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 314 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 10/194,832
(22) Filed: Jul. 11, 2002
(65) Prior Publication Data
US 2002/0184012 Al Dec. 5, 2002
Related U.S. Application Data
(63) Continuation of application No. 09/851,550, filed on May 8, 2001, which is a division of application No. 09/433,453, filed on Nov. 4, 1999, now Pat. No. 6,377,919, which is a continuation-in-part of application No. 08/597,596, filed on Feb. 6, 1996, now Pat. No. 6,006,175.
(60) Provisional application No. 60/120,799, filed on Feb. 19, 1999.
The present invention is a system and method for characterizing human (or animate) speech voiced excitation functions and acoustic signals, for removing unwanted acoustic noise which often occurs when a speaker uses a microphone in common environments, and for synthesizing personalized or modified human (or other animate) speech upon command from a controller. A low power EM sensor is used to detect the motions of windpipe tissues in the glottal region of the human speech system before, during, and after voiced speech is produced by a user. From these tissue motion measurements, a voiced excitation function can be derived. Further, the excitation function provides speech production information to enhance noise removal from human speech and it enables accurate transfer functions of speech to be obtained. Previously stored excitation and transfer functions can be used for synthesizing personalized or modified human speech. Configurations of EM sensor and acoustic microphone systems are described to enhance noise cancellation and to enable multiple articulator measurements.
21 Claims, 13 Drawing Sheets