Community Question

Hi everyone.

I am looking for some much needed help and advice in regards to speech recognition, and I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction.

I'm currently waiting for my EZ robot kit to arrive, so in the meantime I have been familiarising myself with the EZ builder software and have been playing around with the speech recognition and Pandorabots options. EZ builder is currently installed on a Windows 7 64 bit laptop and I'm currently using a headset microphone, not a great quality one I admit, but it does work.

So after training the Windows speech recognition program a few times, and adjusting the microphone settings, I have been trying to use it with MS Word, Notepad, EZ builder with my pandorabot and the pandorabots website on its own, and I have come to the conclusion that Windows speech recognition is, well, "pants" to put it politely (unless I'm missing something). In a quiet room with no background noise, and speaking with a clear English accent, it only seems to pick up 40 to 50% of the correct responses of what I'm saying, compared to the 95% on getting on my iPhone, which is getting really frustrating now.

So would like to ask...

1.) Is there a better way of training Windows speech recognition?

2.) Can anyone suggest a decent well priced microphone to use?

3.) Is there any better speech recognition software I could use which will work with EZ builder?

4.) And finally, what sort of set up do you guys use that works well with your projects that use speech rec?

I really need to nail this, as speech recognition will play a big part of interacting with my robot when he is finished. So any help, thoughts, or suggestions you guys can offer really would be appreciated, and I thank you in advance.


Steve. ;)
July 26 2014
Too bad someone cant make a plug in for DNS like Justin did with Face Recognition. That would be a unbelievable addition to EZ Builder.

I know EZ Builder and Windows has much better accuracy with a nice headset likeTony's pocket mic he linked to. However I passionately wanted to be able to walk into a room and just speak to my robot. I have scripted sentences I've written into the voice recognition control that trigger already recorded sound files and commands that trigger other scripts and functions on my B9. I use the Blue Snowball mic with great success. I don't know if others have tried it as each time I bring it up I get no feedback on it. I can set it up anywhere in the room where the robot is, plug it into the laptop through USB and it seems to hear me wherever I am and others can talk to him also. It has a unique three-pattern switch (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad and omni) for different listening patterns. Of course if there are a bunch of people talking and making noise I get some false triggers and accuracy drops off the cliff. I can always just place the speech recognition on pause if it gets irritating or If I want to communicate in those conditions I can use Tony's pocket mic.

Blue Snowball Mic

User-inserted image
July 28 2014
@ Rich. Thanks for your link. To be fair I think I missed it first time round reading your post
*eyeroll*. That did make for some good reading. Very nice job with that tutorial mate. Very easy to understand and well laid out. Well done. I have not had a chance to have a look at Vox Commando's forum yet, but I will have a look a little later.

@ Toymaker. I do like the look of the xTag but its a bit out of my price range for the moment, but like yourself and Rich said, You get what you pay for, and this does sound like a serious bit of kit. I agree that Dragon is a bit on the pricy side, but from the reviews I have read elsewhere it would be something I would seriously consider getting, IF that is, it would work with EZ Robot hard/software. @ JD. If your reading this buddy, Is having Dragon connect to EZ builder on one of your possible "to do" lists? It sounds like that it would be a popular, welcome and useful addition to the EZ platform.

@ Dave. I'm completely with you with your statement, " However I passionately wanted to be able to walk into a room and just speak to my robot.". I would love to be able to do the same as that really would be a neat feature, especially in regards (like you mentioned) to have other people chat to K-9 without having to hold a mic. But for now I would just be happy enough for my speech recognition program to understand me (walk before I can run kind of thing). I like the look of the Blue Snowball mic you mentioned. It's a shame that nobody left you any feedback, but from what I have seen elsewhere on the interweb, It does look reasonably priced and seems to have good reviews from other users too.

Steve. ;)
July 28 2014
The problem with DNS integration is that their SDK costs a small fortune. They build in support for common Windows apps and the operating system, and I think anywhere you can type, it can fill in (so some integration may be doable, we just need to think it through a bit), but if you want to embed the functionality into your own app, you need their SDK which is very pricey.

Back in Dragon Dictate v8 or so, they used SAPI, so anyone could integrate, but in either 9 or 10 they wen proprietary, reportedly because SAPI couldn't meet their needs and Microsoft was starting to compete with them in the enterprise voice recognition space, so there was some animosity.

August 1 2014
@ Rich

I had a good look through your speech recognition tutorial and adjusted a few settings on my system and it has made a bit of a difference. I will definitely be investing in a new mic at some point, but as you say, it's all about the training so I'm doing as you suggested and doing a bit of training for an hour or 2 a few days a week. I just hope it makes a vast improvement to what it is now.

Thanks for your help, and to everyone else for your input aswell.

Steve. ;)
August 1 2014
cool mic or sure
old mic
Avatarby Steve G
Published Friday, July 25, 2014