Paris, France – Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) today announced robust, remote voice-control for equipment used in manually intensive or sterile medical situations. The announcement is timed to mark the first anniversary of the launch of Philips’ ‘sense and simplicity’ brand positioning. By having usability engineers, researchers and medical specialists work together, a hands-free solution has been developed based on advanced voice control technology. This solution, which is ready for integration into products, is one of several groundbreaking ideas that will revolutionize how users interact with Philips healthcare solutions in the coming years.
The voice-control system, known as Hands-free Interaction in the Hospital (HIH), can complement the clinician’s way of working in situations such as diagnostics, catheter interventions or operations. Even when their hands are occupied, they simultaneously need to interact with other medical equipment.
HIH lets them do this by talking to the equipment from up to several meters away. The convenience, reliability and accuracy of the voice control are proven to be very promising in clinical trails executed at a catheter laboratory in the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. Here voice control was used in a prototype setting to select functionality and manipulate images on a cardiovascular X-ray machine.
“The beauty of Hands-free Interaction in the Hospital is that the user is not restricted looking for controls under sterile covers, or by having to use headsets or clip-on microphones,” says Dr. Söderman, Department of Neuroradiology of Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm.
HIH uses an array of microphones to locate and track the person speaking.
Once the speaker has been identified, background and extraneous speech and noise can be filtered out. Philips has world-leading positions in microphone array processing and in digital noise reduction algorithms, which played a major part in the success of the research. So too did the expertise of Philips Speech Recognition Systems, which has decades of experience in medical speech recognition. This has made it possible to develop systems that identify commands reliably, independent of the user, as soon as the system is switched on. The resulting technology will provide an immediate and true benefit for medical professionals who have their hands full. The HIH technology is currently being tested with a variety of medical equipment under different clinical conditions at different clinical sites, such as other hospitals in the US and Europe.
HIH was one of the few projects chosen out of many examples from throughout Philips that forward the ‘sense and simplicity’ positioning. The announcement was made as part of The Simplicity Event in Paris, hosted by Mr. Gerard Kleisterlee, the President and CEO of Royal Philips Electronics.
(via Kevin Tofel)