CSC News

May 30, 2013

Whitmire, Posch Winners at Undergraduate Research Symposium

Two undergraduate students with connections to the NC State Department of Computer Science were winners at the 22nd Annual NC State University Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 10, 2013.  The department's winning students were:
Eric Whitmire, a Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering major mentored by Dr. Alper Bozkurt in the NC State Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, won with his project titled, “Test Platform for Automated Control of Terrestrial Insect Biobots.”
Abstract:  Centimeter scale mobile biobots offer unique advantages in uncertain environments. Previous experimentation has demonstrated neural stimulation techniques in order to control the motion of Madagascar hissing cockroaches. These trials relied on stimulation by a human operator using a remote control. We have developed a Kinect-based system for computer operated automatic control of cockroaches. Using image processing techniques and a radio transmitter, this platform both detects the position of the roach biobot and sends stimulation commands to an implanted microcontroller-based receiver. The work presented here enables repeatable experimentation and allows precise quantification of the line following capabilities of the roach biobot. This system will help refine our model for the stimulation response of the insect and improve our ability to direct them in increasingly dynamic situations.
The poster presentations were judged on the following criteria:  how participants indicated the nature of the hypothesis being tested or the research questions being addressed; stated why the problem/issue is important or interesting to participants; presented the methods used and the results obtained; indicated the most important findings/developments and why they are significant.  The judges also assessed the quality of their research, the way the participants responded to questions, and the clarity and quality of graphics.  They looked for how the students presented their information or the data they collected; analyzed their data or information; stated their findings or conclusions; and organized their overall presentation.
Marie-Louise Posch, a Biology major mentored by Drs. Donald Bitzer and Robert Rodman in the NC State Computer Science Department, won with her project titled, “Speaker Identification of a Ventriloquist Through Her Puppet Voices.”
Abstract:  The purpose of this project is to explore the possibility of identifying a ventriloquist by a computational analysis of the ventriloquist’s normal voice and her four “puppet” voices. As current literature suggests, using a ventriloquist is a completely new way to examine the effectiveness of disguised voices in computer-aided speaker identification. It is hoped that the findings of this project will bring new insight into the field of computational linguistics and advance the current research involving speaker recognition. One field where the results of this study could be applied is law enforcement and security. Since a ventriloquist does, in effect, disguise his or her voice when making a puppet speak, our study asks whether such a disguise is effective in concealing the identity of the speaker. If it is possible to “see through” a disguised voice, it may then be possible to identify the person. To accomplish the objective, multiple pronunciations of three vowel phonemes of English: /i/ representing the vowel in meet; /u/ representing the vowel in /boot/ and /ae/ the single vowel phoneme in cat have been isolated and analyzed. By isolating the different phonemes, computer software can be used to identify the formant pattern of each vowel for each voice. Statistical methods may then be used to analyze the measurements and determine the likelihood of the puppet voices revealing the identity of the ventriloquist.
For additional information on the symposium, click here.


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