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Special Reports

Speech, the expression of thoughts and feelings by articulating sounds, is an ability so taken for granted that few people bother to think about how complex and nuanced the process actually is. Yet, as more devices gain the ability to listen to and interpret what speakers are saying, speech and audiology technologies are attracting the interest of a growing number of academic researchers. Signal processing is now playing a critical role in making speech detection and recognition more accurate, flexible, and reliable for use in a wide range of research and everyday applications.

The Internet of Things (IoT ) refers to the wireless connection of ordinary objects, such as vehicles, cash machines, door locks, cameras, industrial controls, and municipal traffic systems, to the Internet. Research firm BI Intelligence predicts that 22.5 billion devices will be connected to the IoT in 2021, compared to 6.6 billion in 2016.

As the size and speed of many conventional electronics technologies begin reaching their practical limits, a growing number of researchers is turning their attention to photonics and related optical-based approaches to continue the push toward smaller, faster, cheaper, and more innovative computer and communication devices.

Spatial and immersive audio mimics real-world sound environments

In an era of ubiquitous video, audio is often relegated to a secondary role. Yet electronic audio in all of its various forms is now staging a strong comeback as listeners, increasingly dissatisfied with the output of highly compressed audio files and streams, seek higher sound quality on all types of fixed and mobile platforms.

Prosthetic limbs have improved significantly over the past several years, and signal processing has played a key role in allowing these devices to operate more smoothly and precisely on command. Now, researchers are taking the next step forward by using signal processing approaches and methods to develop prosthetics that not only function reliably and efficiently but give wearers more natural control over artificial arms, hands, and legs.

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