An Analog Architecture for Auditory Feature Extraction and Recognition
Smith, Paul Devon
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Speech recognition systems have been implemented using a wide range of signal processing techniques including neuromorphic/biological inspired and Digital Signal Processing techniques. Neuromorphic/biologically inspired techniques, such as silicon cochlea models, are based on fairly simple yet highly parallel computation and/or computational units. While the area of digital signal processing (DSP) is based on block transforms and statistical or error minimization methods. Essential to each of these techniques is the first stage of extracting meaningful information from the speech signal, which is known as feature extraction. This can be done using biologically inspired techniques such as silicon cochlea models, or techniques beginning with a model of speech production and then trying to separate the the vocal tract response from an excitation signal. Even within each of these approaches, there are multiple techniques including cepstrum filtering, which sits under the class of Homomorphic signal processing, or techniques using FFT based predictive approaches. The underlying reality is there are multiple techniques that have attacked the problem in speech recognition but the problem is still far from being solved. The techniques that have shown to have the best recognition rates involve Cepstrum Coefficients for the feature extraction and Hidden-Markov Models to perform the pattern recognition. The presented research develops an analog system based on programmable analog array technology that can perform the initial stages of auditory feature extraction and recognition before passing information to a digital signal processor. The goal being a low power system that can be fully contained on one or more integrated circuit chips. Results show that it is possible to realize advanced filtering techniques such as Cepstrum Filtering and Vector Quantization in analog circuitry. Prior to this work, previous applications of analog signal processing have focused on vision, cochlea models, anti-aliasing filters and other single component uses. Furthermore, classic designs have looked heavily at utilizing op-amps as a basic core building block for these designs. This research also shows a novel design for a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) decoder utilizing circuits that take advantage of the inherent properties of subthreshold transistors and floating-gate technology to create low-power computational blocks.