21 Aug 2002 rudybrian   » (Master)

It's been a while since the last post, so I guess it's time ;)

We have had to push back the Zaza Phase IV deployment plans until we can resolve a voice intelligibility problem introduced with the new speech system. I had originally been using the MBROLA 'us1' voice with Festival, but both the quality and pitch of the voice were too low. I made several attempts to improve recognition accuracy by pitch-shifting the waveform and applying high pass filters to block-out some of the resonant frequencies of the enclosure, but they seemed to have no effect on intelligibility. I recently switched to the OGI CSLU 'tll' voice, which isn't quite as good as the M$ SAPI4/5 'Mary' voice, but a marked improvement over the MBROLA voice. Initial tests this past weekend showed a remarkable improvement in recognition accuracy. Some of the informational text monologs for the exhibit locations were taken directly from the museum's webpage, and should probably be re-worded to improve pronunciation with the TTS engine. It might also be beneficial to introduce support for Sable in the near future.

Zaza had another major hardware failure on Saturday. Since her hardware has used quite a bit, the belts that link all of the wheels to the motors are worn and due for replacement. It also looks, rather sounds, like one of the motors is in desperate need of new brushes. The amount of odometric error has been growing progressively worse and has begun to negatively influence the localizer. The 'MCP' has begun 'limping' the drive motors after most motion commands with a 'TERR' (translate error). This needs to be fixed before we can run the robot again. Hopefully RWI will be forthcoming with the info we need to service the robot...

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