Here we introduce Aerotak: A system for audio analysis and perception enhancement that allows speech perceivers to listen with their skin. The current system extracts unvoiced portions of an audio signal representative of turbulent air-flow in speech. It stores the audio signal in the left channel of a stereo audio output, and the air flow signal is stored in the right channel. The stored audio is used to drive a conversion unit that splits the left audio channel into a headphone out (to both ears) and right channel air pump drive signal to a piezoelectric pump that is mounted to the headphones. We have shown, using two-way forced-choice experiments, that the system enhances perception of voiceless stops and voiceless fricatives in noise such that 1 out of every 4 such words that would otherwise be missed will be heard correctly. We are currently conducting experiments on word identification while listening to a short-story, and are completing a stand-alone version of the Aerotak that works with real-time audio and from an embedded system. The short-story research and real-time system will be complete for InterSpeech 2014.
Bibliographic reference. Derrick, Donald / Rybel, Tom De / O'Beirne, Greg A. / Hay, Jennifer (2014): "Listen with your skin: aerotak speech perception enhancement system", In INTERSPEECH-2014, 1484-1485.