Storm-Interface News Link – Self Service Terminals with voice recording, voice recognition or speech command features are now deployed in public locations. However, this has raised concerns about privacy and led to calls for the government to review privacy regulations.
The presence of any active (recording) microphone must be immediately obvious to anyone within recording range. It may also be required that microphones situated in public spaces are, by default, maintained in a muted (or closed) condition until required for use.
To indicate the presence of an active recording system the Storm ATP Microphone Activation Sensor features a highly visible and tactile microphone icon. The device also includes an infrared (IR) proximity sensor that can be used to activate a microphone for Speech Recording or Voice Commanded applications. When a microphone is activated (live) the microphone icon is illuminated with a bright white light. An audio tone or message can also be triggered to indicate the mic is now ‘live’. A confirmation key press or screen tap can also be requested to confirm agreement.
As manufacturers of microphones strive to achieve ever wider fields and range of voice reception, Storm have recognized that this is not appropriate when voice recognition technology or concierge services are provided in a public environment. “It is our objective to provide high-fidelity voice reception within a strictly limited field of reception designated as the Addressable Zone”, says Peter Jarvis (Senior Exec VP). This Beam Focusing technology limits voice reception or voice recording to the zone immediately in front of the terminal. Only when that zone is occupied by an informed (microphone aware) terminal user will the microphone be activated.
This defined field of reception and confirmed presence of a valid user also reduces the amount of non-relevant voice data analysis. As an example; consider a drive-through food ordering point. If the beam focused microphone can be automatically muted when there is no-one in the addressable zone, then the system is not required to continuously analyse or differentiate between traffic noise, barking dogs and a human voice to correctly interpret a valid food order.
This method of targeted voice analysis can be achieved by use of the Mic Activation Sensor used in combination with Storm’s beam focused Far Field Voice Array Microphone. Both devices are designed and constructed to survive in exposed or public environments.
About Storm Interface
For more than 30 years Storm Interface have designed and manufactured secure, rugged and reliable keypads, keyboards and interface devices. Storm products are built to withstand rough use and abuse in unattended public-use and industrial applications. Storm Assistive Technology Products are recognized by the Royal National Institute for Blind People under their ‘RNIB Tried and Tested’ program.