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A Matlab Based Speech Recognition Module For First Year Engineering Students

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.20.1 - 4.20.16

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Paper Authors

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Herbert Holland

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Dean Bruckner

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3659

A MATLAB-Based Speech Recognition Module for First Year Engineering Students

Dean Bruckner, Herbert Holland U.S. Coast Guard Academy


An instructional module is presented which introduces first year engineering students to electrical engineering, signals and systems and the basics of speech recognition. The Coast Guard Acad- emy’s context for this module, the inter-disciplinary Introduction to Engineering and Design course, is described. Next, brief overviews of the module’s learning objectives and key concepts are provided. Details of the module are explained—how the students learn the basics of time and frequency, programming in MATLAB®, time domain speech processing and operation of multi- media devices on a Windows® computer. How student teams then complete a MATLAB script file implementing a speaker-independent speech recognition system for a two-word vocabulary is also described. Two exciting demonstrations are outlined, one which displays the signals from an electronic keyboard in time and frequency domains and another which demonstrates state of the art commercial speech-to-text software using the Gettysburg Address. The module wraps up with a contest pitting each team’s recognition accuracy against the others. Finally, assessment tools and lessons learned are discussed. The module is seen to be an interesting and positive way to introduce first-year students to electrical engineering in a way that draws on their intuition, cap- tures their imagination and rewards their efforts.

I. Introduction

How do you get students interested in engineering, and particularly Electrical Engineering, as a major? How do you expose students, including those who have no intention of becoming engi- neers, to some meaningful aspect of Electrical Engineering? At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, you use a portion of the Introduction to Engineering and Design course that is required for all freshman students. More than that, you try to make the Electrical Engineering segment of the course as interesting and enjoyable, while still realistic and representative of Electrical Engi- neering at the Academy, as you can.

Two years ago we decided that the EE module had to be changed. The former material was tech- nically accurate but not particularly interesting to the students. It also did not support course ob- jectives in the area of design, and it was not very representative of the Electrical Engineering section at the Academy. With the assistance of LT Martin Roberts, on loan to the Coast Guard Academy from the U.S. Navy, we developed a new module featuring digital signal processing and speech recognition. It involves technology demonstrations with a high “wow” factor and a hands-on design project. This paper discusses that module.

Holland, H., & Bruckner, D. (1999, June), A Matlab Based Speech Recognition Module For First Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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