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Conversing with computer may fight fear of public speaking

June 16, 2016

Can a computer make you a better public speaker?

Researchers from the Rochester Human Computer Interaction group created a project that aims to do just that.

RocSpeak is a platform with the goal of helping people become better speakers by analyzing the words they use, the loudness and pitch of their voice, their body language, and when and how often they smile. Users record their speech using their computer’s microphone and camera and then RocSpeak provides automated feedback intended to improve communication skills.

Working with Ehsan Hoque, assistant professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, the project is currently being led by several students including Ru Zhao ’17, Vivian Li ’18, Bilal Moiz ’16, Zoe Tiet ’17, and  Tergel Purevdorj ’16.

Microsoft recently featured ROCSpeak—and the research behind it—on its research blog. The video features Hoque and his student research assistants discussing the data collection process and the impact of ROCspeak on its users.

Hoque and his team have also developed “smart glasses” that provide speakers with real-time, visual feedback on their performance. That system is called “Rhema,” after the Greek word for utterance.

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Category: Science & Technology