An app that can detect distress speech and trigger SOS

An app that can detect distress speech and trigger SOS

New Delhi, October 21 (India Science Wire): Just imagine a smartphone app that can ‘listen’ to distress calls and automatically trigger an alert to your home or the police.

This is what Rakshak – a new Adroid app developed by innovators from Delhi-based Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Engineering, does. It is designed to detect speech patterns via a phone’s microphone and generate an SOS. The audio snippets with speech commands requesting help or saying “stop” in distressed tones can be detected by the app and message is automatically sent to emergency contact specified by the use, along with the location of the user.

The innovation won the first prize in a national contest organized in India by the US-based Marconi Society under its Celestini Program. The winning team of Piyush Agrawal, Subham Banga, Aniket Sharma and Ujjwal Upadhyay presented their work at a function held at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi on Monday.

An app that can detect distress speech and trigger SOS

New Delhi, October 21 (India Science Wire): Just
imagine a smartphone app that can ‘listen’ to distress calls and automatically
trigger an alert to your home or the police.

This is what Rakshak – a new Adroid app developed by
innovators from Delhi-based Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Engineering, does. It
is designed to detect speech patterns via a phone’s microphone and generate an
SOS. The audio snippets with speech commands requesting help or saying “stop”
in distressed tones can be detected by the app and message is automatically
sent to emergency contact specified by the use, along with the location of the
user.

The innovation won the first prize in a national
contest organized in India by the US-based Marconi Society under its Celestini
Program. The winning team of Piyush Agrawal, Subham Banga, Aniket Sharma and
Ujjwal Upadhyay presented their work at a function held at Indian Institute of
Technology Delhi on Monday.

For developing the app, the team started with publicly
available speech command datasets, and added speech commands specific to the
scenario of women’s safety. They also collected additional speech data through
crowd-sourcing. This enabled them to detect emotion, background noise, and
Indian accents in the audio with improved precision. At present, the app can
handle two languages – Hindi and English.

The app can ‘listen’ when it is on and track keywords
like help or bachao. It uses the machine learning algorithm to judge emotional
state from sound, pitch etc. and triggers an automatic alarm. There is a 30
second delay in case the owner wants to cancel a false alarm. The developers
claim that the app can differentiate a real cry for help from a casual
conversation with similar words.

The team winning the second prize – also from Bharti
Vidyapeeth College of Engineering – developed an app for air quality
measurement. Its members – Harshita Diddee, Shivam Grover, Shivani Jindal and
Divyanshu Sharma – have developed an app called VisionAir which uses photos of
the horizon to estimate air quality. It builds on the work done by last year’s
prize winners which showed that machine learning model can be built to estimate
air quality by extracting image features like haziness and combining them with
meteorological and past air quality data.

The new app uses a concept called ‘federated learning’
to train the machine learning model so that it only uploads features extracted
from images without uploading the smartphone images themselves.

“The programme is a unique and impactful way to help
us create the next generation of technical innovators,” said Professor Brejesh
Lall, head of Bharti School of Telecom Technology and Management and Celestini
Program partner at IIT Delhi.  “Students
become deeply engaged when they are defining important problems that technology
can solve and creating proof-of-concept applications that will make a
difference in the world.” The winning team get cash prize of 1500 dollars and
the second-place team receives 500 dollars.

By Dinesh C Sharma

(India Science Wire)

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