KnowBrainer Speech Recognition
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Topic Title: ISO headset/mic that prevents my voice from disturbing others
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Created On: 11/24/2019 09:16 PM
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 11/24/2019 09:16 PM
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Ag
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I started writing this post asking 

 

Are there any headset/mics that do a good job of muffling or quietening my voice to prevent it from disturbing others?  And possibly also provide me with a bit more privacy?

 

E.g. asking if anyone had tried to do speech recognition using the many motorcycle helmets that contain speakers and microphones, e.g. to do speech control of a GPS system, possibly with a heads up display inside the motorcycle helmet visor.

 

While I haven't seen anybody asking that question, I eventually found  other posts talking about   trying to reduce the amount of noise that a user of speech recognition inflicts upon others in the neighborhood. Things such as a stenographer mask -  although the consensus seems to be that stenographer masks have lousy sound quality, if for no other reason than your breathing is constrained, and are quite uncomfortable. The consensus seems to be per people like Lunis that it is better to have a headset/mic that you can talk to very quietly.

 

Too bad.

 

 I'll post the rest of my  already written message below, but I suspect that most of it is moot.  Although if somebody has tried to use a motor cycle helmet with speakers and mics for speech recognition with Dragon, and not just GPS,  I'd like to how good or bad it was.

 

 

---+ DETAIL (TL;DR)

 

Are there any headset/mics that do a good job of muffling or quietening my voice to prevent it from disturbing others?  And possibly also provide me with a bit more privacy?

 

E.g. I imagine that a fancy way to do this would be to have ANC both for my outgoing voice as well as for incoming sound.  Although passive noise cancellation, i.e. just muffling via a plate or mask in front of my mouth (i.e. in front of the speakers's mouth), might be sufficient.

 

E.g. I know that there are many motorcycle helmets with speakers and microphones, to permit communication between riders, phone connectivity, and more and more voice control features.   Some wired, some bluetooth.  Some helmets allow speakers and microphones to be installed that are not actually sold by the helmet manufacturer.  This might allow one of the higher end speech recognition mics to be used,

 

(I sometimes joke about wanting the "motorcycle helmet of silence", riffing on Maxwell Smart's "Cone of Silence".)

 

Q: has anyone tried using such motorcycle helmets with speakers and mics for speech recognition with a PC ... with Dragon?

 

Note: I am not asking about speech recognition while on a motorcycle at speed.  I am asking about wearing such a motorcycle  helmet with speakers and  mic in a stationary environment. I'm sure it's uncomfortably hot, and probably quite embarrassing. Nevertheless, might be worth a try. Especially if could  cut away  most of the helmet.

 

 as I was writing this post I eventually found other posts in the KnowBrainer forms on

 

Stenomask https://talktech.com/stenomask-steno-sr/

https://talktech.com/shop/stenomask-store/sr-pro-dragon-bundle/

 

 

 

 

 

 

While stenographer mask microphones (cover your nose and mouth) are extremely quiet and won't disturb coworkers, they are expensive, difficult to use and feature less than desirable accuracy because of how you have to control your breathing. We can only recommend Martel or Sylencer stenographer mask microphones after exhausting all other options.

 

We recommend speaking softly into a hands-free USB microphone. Our preference, in this situation, is the speakerless FlexyMike DEC with a USB soundcard.

 

From <https://www.knowbrainer.com/forums/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=6&threadid=30688>

 

We truly believe that our SpeechWare FlexyMike DEC + SpeechWare USB MultiAdapter will pick up the softest speech with maximum possible accuracy.

 

From <https://www.knowbrainer.com/forums/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=6&threadid=30688>

 

 I am not sure that  speaking softly into the SpeechWare FlexyMike DEC + SpeechWare USB MultiAdapter  would solve the privacy problems, although it might  reduce annoyance of one's neighbors to an acceptable  level.

 

 

 

 

 

---+  BACKGROUND (TL;DR)

 

 

Returning to using speech recognition this summer, after years away, has greatly helped my "computeritis" pain.

 

But: speech recognition has also greatly limited where I can use my computer. Leading to greater social isolation, etc.

 

 

---++ Social isolation

 

For example:  for much of the last ten years I have worked from home, remote from the rest of my team who are a long way away in different states, and sometimes different continents.  The remote work is not so bad, text communication essential, email, slack, etc., but even with phone/video I can go days without talking to people in person during the workday.

 

Like many, I found that going to a restaurant or coffee shop helped.  Even if I don't know the people, the other customers, around me - although the waitstaff grew to know me by name.  Also, several folks nearby work(ed) for the same company as I do(did), in related areas, but not on the same team, and were in the habit of working at coffee shops, where I would join them. Plus, there are several Meetups in the area for remote workers - folks get together, work on their own stuff, but talk to each other over breaks.  Occasionally sharing advice, e.g. about programming problems and other computer issues, if company secrecy allows it.  (Since my work recently is more open source, I have fewer constraints in this respect than in the past.) 

 

But, using speech recognition has two problems when using it outside of my private home office:  (a) my voice disturbs others around me, and (b) in public I am much more worried about other's overhearing sensitive information, whether company or personal private, than I am typing.  Especially with a privacy screen.  (Nano-drones with cameras will make typing less private, but still...)

 

Similarly, even when there was a company office where I could sit in a cube, I would be reluctant to use speech recognition because it disturbed my neighbours.   In fact, this is why I gave up using speech recognition circa 2002 -   my cubicle neighbors complained.

 

---++ Family time(?)

 

Similarly, before I (re-) started using speech recognition, I would often work in the living room on my laptop while my wife was working on her lesson plans and my daughter was working on her homework.  Understandably  the sound of my speaking to my computer distracts them.

 

(It's not exactly a family activity like playing a game together, but it's better than nothing.  There is often occasional conversation, me helping them with their computer problems, etc.)

 

---++ Working while waiting for  food/coffee

 

Before I (re-) started using speech recognition, I was often in the habit of going to a restaurant and reading my email while waiting for food to arrive. And similarly, working on my PC at the dining room table while waiting for the water to boil for tea  or  cooking something in the oven.

 

Again, this is something I am less likely to do, for fear of  annoying other  members of my family at home,  or  annoying other customers of the restaurant  and/or speaking aloud sensitive information.

 

---+ Working on an airplane or train

 

Enough said.

 

 

 



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DPG15.6 (also DPI 15.3) + KB, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML, BTD 800 dongle, Windows 10 Pro, MS Surface Book 3, Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU @ 1.3/1.5GHz (4 cores, 8 logical, GPU=NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with Max-Q Design.



 11/25/2019 11:50 PM
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mobleguy
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I've seen posts like this in the past have often wondered to myself what the solution could be. There is a kickstarter solution similar to a helmet with everything cut away like you mentioned.

It would be nice to be able to use dictation out in public spaces such as cafés or even better at the office. After reading your post I got curious. I did an experiment where I moved the microphone right into my mouth and I tried to dictate as quietly as possible. I imagined I was in a café not wanting to disturb other people. While Dragon had an issue deciphering my speech when I dropped into a whisper, it actually did quite well when I spoke quietly. I imagine I could train myself to do this fairly well. But this experiment did not account for the ambient noise in a café or other public setting. I was speaking much softer than I feel like I would necessarily need to in a café. It has become much more common for people to speak on their phones, often while on speakerphone, in cafés,
so I imagine  one could speak a little louder. I would encourage you to try it.

Regarding the STENOMASK... I imagine that would draw some attention while at the café. Additionally as you mentioned they are expensive (though amazon has them for $229 and I thought they were closer to $300). In trying to think of an alternative I'm wondering if a Beltbox would work. Singers/Actors use them to practice singing/dialogue without disturbing others. They dampen the sound of of one's voice. I believe you can even get them with a strap see you do not have to hold it to your face. What I imagine is taking a small microphone and putting it inside of the belt box. This would dampen both your voice and the ambient noise.
However, I think they would also draw some attention.

 https://www.amazon.com/BELTBOX-Dampener-Singers-Performers-Portable/dp/B01FRK4MLA/

Another idea is to use Earpads Replacements. These could be had for less than the belt box. I imagine putting a microphone inside and cuping it in my hand and holding it up to my mouth. I could see needing to add additional material inside to provide more dampening to the voice.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=earpad+replacement&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Just some thoughts.



 11/26/2019 03:24 AM
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mwarddoc
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I use the Presence UC in a very noisy environment, TV and interruptions frequently, but I also use the MB Pro 1 in the same environment.

I have found the following to work with both microphones.

I wear them on my right ear, rest my hand on my cheek with my palm cup in front of my chin with my palm directing the sound toward the microphone, calibrate the microphone to a steady quiet voice. It works well, I discovered this incidentally because I often sit this way when thinking.

My impression has been that the Presence UC has a slightly better noise cancelling ability.

But, on really noisy and disruptive days, I think the motorcycle helmet and visor sound like a capital idea....if only to keep people away from me.

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mwarddoc
 12/02/2019 05:39 PM
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Ag
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Thanks @mobleguy and @mwardoc.

...

Kickstarter: is that https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1322999047/hushme-the-worlds-first-voice-mask-for-smartphones?

Possibly https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playahead/ahead-turn-any-helmet-into-a-smart-helmet?

There are many projects for smart motorcycle/bicycle/ski helmets.

...

Presence UC better than MB Pro 1? (Slightly, for noisy environments.) Good to know. Even if I don't get to a coffee shop, I have been having trouble with my MB Pro 1 - a spate of errors every time central heating turns on.

...

BeltBox - also interesting. I did not even think to ask.






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 12/02/2019 05:59 PM
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Lunis Orcutt
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The 2nd option appears to be a no go because it's communicating via vibration which has never worked with Dragon but of course we have been tested. The 1st link certainly looks potential. It doesn't look like they have considered speech recognition but they probably should offer a Bluetooth dongle that is already paired. Obviously we can guess what the potential looks very good because facemask microphones physically cover your to the point which literally choke your voice and produces substandard accuracy; not to mention moisture. The Kickstarter is using white noise to cancel your voice beyond the unit. We certainly like the idea and hope someone tries it and reports back. You can probably use any Bluetooth dongle that will require the syncing process but should be fairly easy.

PS: We have just contacted the Kickstarter for a beta unit. We will need to add a Bluetooth dongle so it's far too soon to make this a possible purchase but we will report back.



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 12/03/2019 05:26 AM
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Grandslam
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Originally posted by: Lunis Orcutt We certainly like the idea and hope someone tries it and reports back. You can probably use any Bluetooth dongle that will require the syncing process but should be fairly easy. PS: We have just contacted the Kickstarter for a beta unit. We will need to add a Bluetooth dongle so it's far too soon to make this a possible purchase but we will report back.

 

I have often wished there was a device out there which could do this. Sounds promising, and I hope it works. The number of posts on this forum inquiring about headsets suitable for use in a quiet office demonstrate that there is a demand. even for those without the need to use speech recognition, there would be a lot of people working in Open Plan offices who have the need to hold private phone conversations. Currently the only way I can do this is by finding a meeting room (not always possible, and inconvenient) - this may be the solution.

 02/09/2020 11:57 PM
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Grandslam
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Originally posted by: Lunis Orcutt PS: We have just contacted the Kickstarter for a beta unit. We will need to add a Bluetooth dongle so it's far too soon to make this a possible purchase but we will report back.

So did they send you a test unit?

 

 

 02/10/2020 11:15 AM
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Lunis Orcutt
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Unfortunately, Kickstarter never responded and made it rather difficult to even approach them. They also appear to be a prerelease situation and quite possibly underfinanced. This product may never even be marketed.



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 03/18/2022 11:14 PM
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Ag
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I will try to continue adding possible products as I encounter them to this thread.


"ground crew headsets" -

e.g. the David Clark H3310 headset - a Stenomask like mouthpiece strap to earphones
https://www.aerospecialties.com/aviation-ground-support-equipment-gse-products/aircraft-headsets-intercom-systems/aircraft-headsets/aircraft-pushback-headsets/david-clark-h3310-headset/

 

Nobody  reports experience

 



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 03/18/2022 11:18 PM
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Ag
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Concept, not actually shipping product


https://www.razer.com/concepts/razer-project-hazel


Razer Project Hazel "gamer smart mask"


not at all certain that this could be used for speech recognition, although the math definitely has a microphone inside it, because gamers like to talk at each other.

 

 

----

 

Although Project Hazel is just the concept, Razer's Zephyr  appears to be a real product you can order. It does not, however, appear to have an internal phone. But it does have fans  make wearing such a mask more comfortable.  Razer  emphasizes that it is not an N95 mask, and they are careful not to say that it will successfully protect you against COVID.  I'm allowed to hope that it might be the start of a trend,  although I doubt it.

 

https://www.razer.com/gear-accessories/razer-zephyr

 

 

 the Zephyr Pro  will actually amplify  the wearer's voice -  but  immediately. Rather the opposite of a privacy system.

 

https://www.razer.com/gear-accessories/razer-zephyr-pro

 

 



-------------------------

DPG15.6 (also DPI 15.3) + KB, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML, BTD 800 dongle, Windows 10 Pro, MS Surface Book 3, Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU @ 1.3/1.5GHz (4 cores, 8 logical, GPU=NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with Max-Q Design.



 03/19/2022 11:42 AM
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Ag
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Phasma - noise dampening gamer mask - KickStarter, Metadox


BTW, Just ran across https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/metadox/the-phasma-a-voice-dampening-mask-for-gamers
googling "soundproof gamer mask".


The project was targeting November 2021. Does not seem to have reached that goal, last updated in February 2022. I would guess it's late, as are so many other KickStarter projects, but not yet dead.


This mask is supposedly compatible with existing headsets, microphone to be inserted through a port. They provide a microphone just in case.


Does not seem to be PPE.



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 03/19/2022 07:45 PM
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Lunis Orcutt
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We are not qualified to test microphones, like the future Phasma, against traditional facemask microphones, like the Sylencer but having made that disclaimer... the Phasma certainly looks interesting. Traditional facemask microphone manufacturers have controlled the market for a long time but from what we can see, they haven't made any substantial changes in the last couple of decades. You might consider some out-of-the-box experimenting and of course, reporting back



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 03/20/2022 03:22 PM
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Ag
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BTW, reading the KickStarter pages a bit more carefully:


Phasma is a mask that can be worn with a headset that you already own - i.e. with some existing headset microphone. They also apparently provide their own microphone, although the reviews on that are not all that good.

 

It has apparently shipped to supporters, getting real reviews. The microphone is not getting all that good reviews, the mask seems to be.


KickStarter is accepting no more subscriptions/contributions/supporters for the project,  but you can click through to Indiegogo where they are accepting preorders,  targeting June 2022

 

I would seriously consider pre-ordering the Phasma except...

 

Their webpage says they require a flexible headset microphone.  Unfortunately, my existing Sennheiser headset has an inflexible rigid boom,  so may very well not adapt to the Phasma. :-(

 

Which leads to the next question  Any recommendations for headsets with FLEXIBLE microphone?

 

Although requiring a new  headset microphone is a great discouragement...

 

 

 



-------------------------

DPG15.6 (also DPI 15.3) + KB, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML, BTD 800 dongle, Windows 10 Pro, MS Surface Book 3, Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU @ 1.3/1.5GHz (4 cores, 8 logical, GPU=NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with Max-Q Design.



 03/21/2022 06:52 PM
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Ag
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Well, I have ordered the Phasma mask. current ETA June. I will report when I have received and evaluated it.

-------------------------

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