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JP2005150884

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This translation is machine-generated. It cannot be guaranteed that it is intelligible, accurate,
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DESCRIPTION JP2005150884
In a conventional electric artificial larynx, the sound emitted from the electric artificial larynx is
monotonous and mechanical, and the vibration sound emitted from the vibrator making the
original sound to the outside gives a sense of discomfort to the surrounding people. There was a
problem. According to the present invention, there is provided a vibrator for producing an
original sound, a microphone for collecting speech generated by performing articulation
operation, and speech processing for applying speech processing to speech collected by the
microphone. An electric artificial larynx equipped with a speaker and a loudspeaker that sends
out a speech that is the result of speech processing by the speech processing unit, and giving
natural characteristics to the voice quality by processing the speech in the speech processing
unit Since the sound processing unit can adjust the volume, it is not necessary to make a loud
vibration sound with the vibrator. [Selected figure] Figure 1
Electric artificial larynx
[0001]
The present invention relates to an electric artificial larynx or the like, which is one of the speech
aids for enabling speech to a disabled person who is unable to vocalize by removing the larynx
for reasons such as laryngeal cancer.
[0002]
Methods for creating voice by surgery, esophagus vocalization, vaginal laryngeal artificial larynx,
electroarthritic larynx, etc. have been put to practical use as a substitute vocalization method for
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a voice impaired person who has undergone laryngectomy for laryngeal cancer and the like.
Among them, many people use the electric artificial larynx, but like normal people, it is difficult
to change the fundamental frequency and volume according to the content of the utterance and
to express accent and intonation by this, so it is monotonous and mechanical Sound has become.
In addition, in order to obtain a sufficient sound volume, it is necessary to increase the output of
the vibrator, and this vibration noise is a major factor that gives a sense of incongruity to the
surrounding people.
[0003]
In other words, the general task of an artificial larynx is to create a natural speech like a healthy
person. And, the first factor of unnatural speech is that the sound emitted from the electric
artificial larynx is monotonous and mechanical. The second factor of the unnatural speech is that
the vibration sound emitted from the vibrating body producing the original sound to the outside
gives a sense of discomfort to the surrounding people.
[0004]
As the first prior art, the interruption of the sound generated from the acoustic transducer and
the change of its fundamental frequency, or the interruption of the sound generated from the
acoustic converter and the change of its volume, or all of them in a single operation (See Patent
Document 1). As a second prior art, there is an electric artificial larynx intended to provide a
natural sounding artificial human voice tone as a sound source with a unit including a
loudspeaker speaker installed in the oral cavity (Patent Document 2) reference). The first and
second prior arts have been proposed in that the first factor of the unnatural speech is that the
speech is mechanical and monotonous. Patent Publication No. 8-265891 (Page 1, FIG. 1 etc.)
Patent Publication No. 8-501950 (Page 1, FIG. 1 etc.)
[0005]
However, in the first and second prior arts, the fundamental frequency and the volume are
changed in the portion of the sound source such as the vibrator. In this method, only the physical
movement of vibration can be controlled, so the voice spectrum can be freely controlled to
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reproduce the original voice quality of the disabled person or to make the voice quality of the
disabled person's favorite voice quality etc. Adjustment is difficult. As in the first and second
prior arts, all artificial larynx in the past adopt a method of adjusting the sound at a sound source
such as a vibrator which produces an original sound.
[0006]
Also, with regard to the control of the vibration sound emitted from the vibrating body that
produces the original sound, a certain volume or more is necessary to convey the speaking voice
to the other party of the conversation, and in order to obtain this volume I need. Since the
electric artificial larynx currently marketed and the artificial larynx in the first and second prior
arts secure the volume by the vibrational energy generated from the vibrator or the like, the
magnitude of the vibration noise can not be reduced.
[0007]
The first invention for solving the above problems is to add a voice processing to a vibrating
body for producing an original sound, a microphone for collecting a speech produced by
performing an articulation operation, and a speech collected by the microphone It is an electric
artificial larynx comprising an audio processing unit that performs audio processing and a
loudspeaker that transmits a speech that is the result of the audio processing by the audio
processing unit.
[0008]
Specifically, in the electric artificial larynx according to the present invention, the vibration
generated by the vibrator that substitutes for the vocal cord vibration is transmitted into the oral
cavity, and the articulation is performed by changing the position and shape of the tongue,
mouth and lips. The picked up speech is collected by a microphone.
Next, the collected speech is subjected to speech processing such as change of speech spectrum,
adjustment of sound pressure, frequency and the like in a speech processing unit, and is sent to a
loudspeaker. According to the present invention, since the voice processing unit processes postarranged voice information, it is easy to change the voice quality to a desired voice quality by
voice processing, and the voice volume of the voice is not the vibrator portion, Since it is adjusted
and sent to the loudspeaker by being enlarged by the audio processing unit, it is not necessary to
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emit large vibration energy from the vibrator. In the above-mentioned electric artificial larynx, it
is preferable that the microphone be an in-ear microphone indwelling type or a contact type
microphone.
[0009]
The second invention further provides a mechanism for controlling the sound pressure of the
original sound produced by the vibrator, or / and a mechanism for controlling the frequency or /
and waveform of the vibrator, to the electric artificial larynx of the first invention. It is an electric
artificial larynx equipped. According to the electric artificial larynx having a mechanism for
controlling the sound pressure of the original sound produced by the vibrator, the sound
pressure is transmitted to the outside to give a sense of incongruity to the person next to it, and
the sound pressure sufficiently transmits the vibration into the oral cavity It is possible to realize
an electric artificial larynx that can be controlled. Moreover, according to the electric artificial
larynx equipped with a mechanism for controlling the frequency or / and waveform of the
vibrating body, it is possible to appropriately adjust to the frequency or waveform of the original
sound suitable for the user.
[0010]
The third invention is an electric artificial larynx which is used by embedding all or part of a
vibrator, a microphone, an audio processing unit, and a loudspeaker constituting the electric
artificial larynx in the body. According to such an electric artificial larynx, vibration can be more
efficiently transmitted, and speech can be collected more efficiently in the oral cavity. Also, there
is no need to hold the device by hand, and both hands can be used. Furthermore, since the
vibration of the vibrating body can be made as small as the user hardly feels, there is no
discomfort that the vibrating body vibrates in the body.
[0011]
According to the electric artificial larynx of the present invention, since voice processing is easy,
natural voice is generated, and a voice-impaired person can make voice communication without
emitting loud vibration noise to the surroundings.
[0012]
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Hereinafter, an embodiment of the electric artificial larynx of the present invention will be
described with reference to the drawings.
In the following description of each embodiment, the same component may be assigned the same
number and the description thereof may not be repeated.
[0013]
FIG. 1 is a block diagram including an electric artificial larynx 10 according to an embodiment of
the present invention and showing an example of the flow of sound. The electric artificial larynx
10 includes a vibrating body 12, a microphone 17, an audio processing unit 18, and a
loudspeaker 19. The skin 13, the oral cavity 14, the lip, the skin and the ear canal 16 are parts of
the speaker's body. The vibrator 12 may be a piezoelectric speaker or an electronic speaker, but
may be a vibrator with another mechanism. The vibrating body 12 usually comprises an on / off
button of the switch of the electric artificial larynx.
[0014]
As the microphone 17, a microphone indwelling in the ear canal, a contact type microphone (also
referred to as a bone conduction microphone) used in contact with the skin, a directional
microphone in the vicinity of the lip, and the like can be used. However, the microphone 17 may
be another type of microphone.
[0015]
The speech processing unit 18 performs speech processing to apply speech processing to the
speech collected by the microphone 17. Specifically, the voice processing unit 18 performs voice
processing for changing the voice spectrum by digital signal processing or analog signal
processing of voice information composed of speech voices collected by the microphone 17.
Further, the sound processing unit 18 may perform sound processing of adjusting sound
pressure and frequency by digital signal processing or analog signal processing of sound
information composed of speech collected by the microphone 17. Here, there are two types of
audio processing methods. The first method is also referred to as a trimmer (or "adjustment
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knob", not shown). The second method is to perform voice processing set in advance in
accordance with the personal preference of the disabled person. The first method is to adjust the
interruption of sound, the volume, the frequency of voice (male voice, female voice, high and low
voice quality) and the like. However, the volume and the frequency of the voice do not
necessarily have to be adjusted with the trimmer each time, and the trimmer may be stored
inside the electric artificial larynx. A mechanism for operating the interruption of sound may be
attached to the vibrator, and this may be mainly used. It is also possible to use a method in which
these controls can be performed by remote control. The remote control device may be attached
to the vibrator 12 or may be separate. The second method is to perform speech processing so
that the speech spectrum approximate to the speech before laryngectomy of the disabled person
is reproduced, or to perform speech processing so as to be the speech spectrum preferred by the
disabled person. is there. Digital signal processing techniques can be used for audio processing.
The voice conversion techniques such as spectral conversion of voices are known techniques,
and thus detailed description will be omitted. The position of the audio processing unit 18
changes depending on the position of the microphone 17 or the like, but in the clothes pocket, a
dedicated holder is worn, near the vibrating body or integrally with the vibrating body, near the
microphone or speaker, One thing is possible. The microphone or the speaker needs to transmit
information by wire, wireless, infrared, or the like, or be integrated. The audio processing unit 18
is usually realized by an MPU and a ROM or the like in which a program for performing the audio
processing is stored. The program stored in the ROM is read into the MPU, and audio processing
is performed.
[0016]
The loudspeaker 19 sends a speech that is the result of the speech processing unit 18
performing speech processing. The position of the loudspeaker 19 can be various places such as
the vicinity of the vibrator, the vicinity of the microphone, the vicinity of the sound processing
unit, the inside of the chest pocket, and the inside of a dedicated holder. Also, it may be desirable
to use directional speakers depending on the condition of the disabled person, etc.
[0017]
Hereinafter, the operation of the electric artificial larynx 10 will be described. First, vibration is
generated by the vibrator 12. The vibration generated by the vibrator 12 passes through the skin
13 such as the neck or face and reaches the oral cavity 14. The vibration transmitted into the
oral cavity 14 is synthesized into an arbitrary voice 15 by the shape of the speaker's tongue and
mouth. That is, the speech is articulated as the speaker performs articulation operations that
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change the position and shape of the tongue and / or mouth and / or lips. The synthesized
speech is transmitted from the lip 16 to the outside of the oral cavity, transmitted to the ear
canal 16 and the skin 16, and collected by the microphone 17. The collected sound is converted
into an electrical signal and sent to the audio processing unit 18 wirelessly or by wire. The voice
processing unit 18 is adjusted to a sound volume, sound quality, and voice spectrum that are just
for conversation, sent to the loudspeaker 19, and voice is emitted to the outside world.
[0018]
FIG. 2 is a view showing an example of use of the electric artificial larynx. In FIG. 2, a vibrator 22
is mounted on the neck, a microphone 23 in the ear canal, and a voice processing unit 24 and a
loudspeaker 25 in the chest pocket. When the vibrator 22 held by hand is crimped to the neck
and the switch button 26 on the vibrator 22 is pressed, the vibration starts. The magnitude of the
vibration is adjusted so small that the vibration noise can not be heard outside. The vibration is
transmitted into the oral cavity, and the movement of the lips, tongue, etc. The voice is
synthesized by This speech is collected by the microphone 23 in the ear canal 21. The collected
speech is converted into an electrical signal and sent to the voice processor 24 in the chest
pocket by radio 27. The voice processing unit 24 adjusts the volume so that the other party can
easily hear the voice, the voice quality preferred by the person with a disability, and the voice
spectrum, and sends it to the loudspeaker 25 integrated with the voice processing unit 24 so that
the voice is transmitted to the outside world. Released. In this example, the microphone 23 is in
the external ear canal, and the voice processing unit 24 and the loudspeaker 25 are attached to
the chest pocket. However, the positions of the microphone 23, the voice processing unit 24 and
the speaker 25 are the main It is not bound by example. Further, the information is sent from the
microphone 23 to the audio processing unit 24 by radio 27, but may be wired. The wireless
communication means may be infrared communication means. The microphone 23 can be a
normal type microphone, a directional microphone, a contact type microphone, etc. The position
of the voice processing unit 24 and the loudspeaker 25 can be a neck, a lower jaw, etc., but other
parts may be used.
[0019]
FIG. 3 is a view showing another example of use of the electric larynx. Here, the vibrating body
22 is crimped to the neck by the neck band 30, the microphone 31 is placed on the neck using a
contact type microphone, and the sound processing unit 24 and the loudspeaker 25 are also on
the neck. The microphone 31, the voice processing unit 24, and the loudspeaker 25 are
integrated and fixed by a neck band. In this example, the vibrator 22, the microphone 31, the
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voice processing unit 24, and the loudspeaker 25 are fixed by the neck band 30, but the vibrator
22 may be held by hand, or the microphone 31 etc. You may hold it. Various variations are
possible, and the combination is not limited to this embodiment.
[0020]
FIG. 4 shows a use example in which the vibrator 22 and the microphone 41 are embedded in
the neck and used. Here, the vibrating body 22 is embedded in the part of the neck where the
vibration can be most easily transmitted into the oral cavity. In addition, an induction coil 43 for
supplying power to the vibrator 22 by electromagnetic induction is embedded in the chest. An
electric wire 42 connecting the vibrator 22 and the coil 43 is also implanted at the same time
under the skin and under the muscle. The embedding microphone 41 is embedded in a portion
where the speech synthesized in the oral cavity can be collected most. An induction coil 43 and a
wire 42 for supplying power to the microphone 41 are also embedded at the same time.
Implantation may be performed simultaneously with laryngectomy or may be performed later.
The induction coil 44 is external to the body and forms a pair with the embedded induction coil
43 to supply power internally. The induction coil 43 in the body is appropriately referred to as
an in-body induction coil, and the external induction coil 44 is appropriately referred to as an
out-body induction coil.
[0021]
The voice processing unit 24 and the loudspeakers 25 and batteries are external to the body
such as a chest pocket, and are placed close to the outside induction coil 44. The information on
the speech collected by the microphone 41 is sent to the voice processing unit 24 by radio 27.
The voice impaired person operates the switch of the entire system, the switch of the vibrating
body, and the function of the voice processing unit 24 by the remote controller 45.
[0022]
As described above, in the electric artificial larynx according to the present embodiment, the
loudness is not unnaturally generated because the sound volume is not secured by the
vibrational energy of the vibrator. In addition, since the voice processing is added to the
synthesized speech rather than changing the voice quality by adjusting the vibrating body, a
better voice quality can be realized. Further, in the use mode of FIG. 2, holding by hand is only
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required to be the same vibrator as the current electric artificial larynx, the procedure of use is
the same as the present state, and an extra burden is not imposed on the disabled person.
Further, in the use mode of FIG. 3, both hands can be used since the device is not held by hand.
In the present invention, since it is not necessary to transmit large vibrational energy into the
oral cavity, the pressure bonding of the vibrator to the skin may be light, and the neck band can
be sufficiently compressed.
[0023]
Also, in the usage form of FIG. 4, the vibrator and the microphone are embedded in the body, so
that the vibration can be more efficiently propagated, and the voices synthesized in the oral
cavity can be collected more efficiently. It is. Also, there is no need to hold the device by hand,
and both hands can be used. Implanting at the same time as performing a laryngectomy can be
performed with little extra effort. In addition, even if implantation is performed on the day after
laryngectomy, it can be performed by simple surgery and there is no need for hospitalization.
According to the present invention, the vibration of the vibrating body can be made as small as
the user hardly feels, so there is no discomfort that the vibrating body vibrates in the body.
[0024]
The electric artificial larynx in the present embodiment preferably includes a mechanism for
controlling the sound pressure of the original sound produced by the vibrator 12. With this
sound pressure control mechanism, it is possible to emit a large vibration sound to the outside to
make the vibration sound as small as possible without giving a sense of discomfort to the
surrounding people.
[0025]
Further, the electric artificial larynx in the present embodiment is preferably equipped with a
frequency control mechanism which is a mechanism for controlling the frequency of the
vibrating body 12. With this frequency control mechanism, the use frequency of the original
sound can be selected from the frequency and the waveform that are most suitable for the
individual person with disabilities to compose the speech. Moreover, multiple frequencies may be
used. In addition, a small level of vibration that does not make people near you feel vibration
sound at all is transmitted into the oral cavity, and it is experimentally confirmed that the
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synthesized speech can be collected by a microphone and can be heard as sound from a speaker.
ing.
[0026]
In addition, although the electric artificial larynx in the present embodiment is composed of four
parts of a vibrator, a microphone, a voice processing unit, and a loudspeaker, each can be
miniaturized, as described above, in the body. It can be embedded and used.
[0027]
Specifically, in the electric artificial larynx, the vibration energy can be small because the
adjustment such as the increase in sound pressure is performed by the sound processing unit.
Therefore, the vibrator can be downsized so as to be implanted in the body, such as
subcutaneous neck and muscle. Small vibrators have already been put to practical use and are
known techniques, and therefore details thereof will be omitted. Other parts are also miniaturized
which can be implanted in the body by known techniques. All parts may be embedded, or only a
vibrator may be embedded, for example. Supply of power to the embedded parts is performed by
electromagnetic induction. The power supply method includes a method of supplying electricity
to parts directly from the external body through the skin through electromagnetic induction, and
a secondary battery simultaneously embedded in the vicinity of the parts to supply electricity to
the secondary battery by electromagnetic induction. There is a way to In the case of supplying
electricity by direct electromagnetic induction, it is not always necessary that the part to be
supplied with electricity, such as a vibrator, and the device of the supplier are opposite to each
other. A wire attached to the part can be simultaneously embedded and drawn to a position
suitable for supplying electricity by means of electromagnetic induction, where the electricity can
be supplied. For example, the vibrator and the electric wire, and an induction coil connected to
the end of the wire opposite to that on which the vibrator is attached are embedded
subcutaneously or the like. The induction coil can be placed subcutaneously in the vicinity of the
chest, and the coil on the power supply side can be placed in a holder, a pocket, or the like placed
at the opposite position. The parts to be embedded need to be materials that do not adversely
affect the human body. In particular, when embedding a secondary battery, it is necessary to take
measures such as sealing with a resin or the like. Implantable medical devices that require the
supply of these power supplies are put to practical use in cardiac pacemakers, cochlear implants,
and cochlear implants, and detailed description thereof will be omitted because it is a known
technique. The control of the embedded parts is performed by the remote controller as described
above.
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[0028]
The present invention can dramatically develop the performance of an artificial larynx intended
for people who can not communicate by voice such as laryngectomees, and can greatly
contribute to the reintegration of disabled persons.
[0029]
A block diagram showing the flow of voice according to an embodiment of the present invention
A diagram showing an example of use of an electric artificial larynx according to an embodiment
of the present invention A diagram showing an example of use of an electric artificial larynx
according to an embodiment of the present invention Figure showing an example of the use of an
electric artificial larynx when using a microphone and a microphone embedded in the neck
Explanation of sign
[0030]
DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 10 Voice input device 12, 22 Vibrator 13 Skin 14 Oral cavity 15
Speech sound performed in the oral cavity 16 Lip, skin, in the external ear canal 17 Microphone
18, 24 Speech processing part 19, 25 Loudspeaker 21 In the external ear canal 23 Indwelling
microphone in the external ear canal 26 switch 27 wireless 30 neck band 31 contact microphone
41 implantation microphone 42 electric wire 43 inside induction coil 44 outside induction coil
45 remote controller
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