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THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, September 6 2011 - 13
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Buying your dream home but
don t know where to start?
Professor Michael Wagner and research assistant Sharifa Al Ghowinem are
part of a team working to make speech technologies function better for
New speech technologies will be created
RESEARCHERS from the University of
Canberra and the ANU are helping in a
national project to create a database of the
The AusTalk initiative, which is being
conducted by researchers in 11 univer-
sities, will record the voices and faces of
1000 speakers of all ages from all over the
The recordings will be used to create a
database that has wide ramifications for
various speech research fields and will
define the Aussie accent.
Researchers from the ANU -- Dr
Shunichi Ishihara and adjunct professor
Philip Rose -- will be focusing on forensic
voice comparison for Australian English.
The UC team of Dr Yuko Kinoshita,
professor Michael Wagner, Dr Roland
Goecke, Dr Girija Chetty and associate
professor Dat Tran, will work on making
speech technologies function better for
Dr Kinoshita said the project would be
the first compilation of Australian voices
for about 20 years and the first to include
video data and real conversational speech.
"This will be a great database for
researchers in speech studies," she said.
Dr Kinoshita said the project would
help determine how the Australian accent
had changed during the past two decades.
She is focusing her research on
improving the forensic voice comparison
used for criminal trials, to more accu-
rately match recordings taking during a
crime with that of a suspect.
Other applications of the research and
database will include voice recognition
software for ordering taxis and pizza and
developing technologies to help deaf
people and those with learning difficult-
There will also be researchers looking
at facial expression and a face recognition
"This is a really important project for
everyone involved in speech re-
search ... it will be an asset for Australian
people because it will be the record of
how we speak now," Dr Kinoshita said.
She encourages volunteers to be part of
the important project.
Researchers are targeting anyone over
18-years-old who completed all their
schooling in Australia.
Participants will be required to be
recorded on three separate occasions,
reading words and sentences, having a
conversation and playing a game with
Dr Kinoshita said it was crucial people
were available for the three recordings so
the researchers could study how the
voices changed over time, and also
compare them to other participants.
Speakers with foreign accents will be
recorded in the second stage of the
Visit http://austalk.edu.au to take part
in the project.
Belconnen drink-driver leads police home
A 22-YEAR-OLD Latham man
will face court later this month after
being caught twice for drink driv-
ing in the space of two hours and
leading police on a chase through
Belconnen suburbs on Friday.
About 12am police conducted a
random breath test on the driver of
a white Holden Rodeo utility
travelling on Bowman Street in
The driver returned a positive
result and was taken to Belconnen
Police Station for a breath analysis.
The man recorded a reading of
0.065 and was released after being
informed he would be summonsed
for the offence. Police were on
mobile patrol about 1.20am when
they observed the same white
Holden Rodeo utility travelling on
Bowman Street, Macquarie.
Police activated warning lights
and siren in an attempt to stop the
car, however the driver accelerated
A pursuit, reaching up to a
maximum of 120km/h, ensued
from Catchpole Street, Macquarie,
and ended near O'Loghlen Street in
Latham, when the driver pulled
into the driveway of his home.
He ran from police to the rear of
the house and was located shortly
after inside the home. Police
arrested the 22-year-old and took
him to Belconnen Police Station
where he underwent a breath
analysis, returning a reading of
0.039. The man is subject to a 0.00
He was conveyed to the ACT
Watch House where he was
charged with being an unlicenced
driver, drink driving, dangerous
driving and failing to stop when
directed to by police.
He was later released on Watch
House Bail and will attend the ACT
Magistrates Court on Sept-
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