Real-Time Control of an Articulatory-Based Speech Synthesizer for Brain Computer Interfaces

Florent Bocquelet 1, 2 Thomas Hueber 1 Laurent Girin 1, 3 Christophe Savariaux 1, 4 Blaise Yvert 2
GIPSA-DPC - Département Parole et Cognition
3 PERCEPTION - Interpretation and Modelling of Images and Videos
Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, LJK - Laboratoire Jean Kuntzmann, INPG - Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble
4 GIPSA-Services - GIPSA-Services
GIPSA-lab - Grenoble Images Parole Signal Automatique
Abstract : Restoring natural speech in paralyzed and aphasic people could be achieved using a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) controlling a speech synthesizer in real-time. To reach this goal, a prerequisite is to develop a speech synthesizer producing intelligible speech in real-time with a reasonable number of control parameters. We present here an articulatory-based speech synthesizer that can be controlled in real-time for future BCI applications. This synthesizer converts movements of the main speech articulators (tongue, jaw, velum, and lips) into intelligible speech. The articulatory-to-acoustic mapping is performed using a deep neural network (DNN) trained on electromagnetic articulography (EMA) data recorded on a reference speaker synchronously with the produced speech signal. This DNN is then used in both offline and online modes to map the position of sensors glued on different speech articulators into acoustic parameters that are further converted into an audio signal using a vocoder. In offline mode, highly intelligible speech could be obtained as assessed by perceptual evaluation performed by 12 listeners. Then, to anticipate future BCI applications, we further assessed the real-time control of the synthesizer by both the reference speaker and new speakers, in a closed-loop paradigm using EMA data recorded in real time. A short calibration period was used to compensate for differences in sensor positions and articulatory differences between new speakers and the reference speaker. We found that real-time synthesis of vowels and consonants was possible with good intelligibility. In conclusion, these results open to future speech BCI applications using such articulatory-based speech synthesizer.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 2:05:36 PM
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Florent Bocquelet, Thomas Hueber, Laurent Girin, Christophe Savariaux, Blaise Yvert. Real-Time Control of an Articulatory-Based Speech Synthesizer for Brain Computer Interfaces. PLoS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, 2016, 12 (11), pp.e1005119. ⟨10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005119⟩. ⟨hal-01459706⟩



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