Speech Technology Magazine

 

Adaptive Digital Technologies Provides Intuitive Surgical with Voice Quality Enhancement Software

Posted Jun 3, 2009
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As part of an initiative to maximize the overall performance of the da Vinci Surgical System, Intuitive Surgical took measures to prevent the occurrence of acoustic echo and feedback in the da Vinci operating theatre. Intuitive Surgical chose Adaptive Digital Technologies’  acoustic echo canceller to handle echo and noise reduction to remove ambient noise, automatic level control to maintain comfortable listening levels, and adaptive feedback control to combat feedback.

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Surgical System combines a surgeon console, patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms, high performance 3-D vision system, and EndoWrist articulating instruments. It is an extension of the surgeon's arms and eyes.

The surgeon sits at the da Vinci console in the operating room (OR), viewing a 3-D image of the surgical field while controlling the real-time movements of surgical instruments adjacent to the patient and the surgical robot. The surgeon speaks into a microphone built into the console to communicate with the surgical team standing at the operating table. The surgeon, by means of a speaker located on the patient-side cart, directs the surgical assistants. They in turn communicate back to the surgeon via a microphone also located on the cart.

Acoustic echo occurs when a microphone picks up audio signals from a speaker and sends the signal back to an originating participant. Additional sources of echo include reflection from walls and objects in the room. Acoustic echo can be intensified when using a very sensitive microphone and when speaker volume is turned up to a high level. When both endpoints are located in the same room, feedback from one end’s speaker to the other end’s microphone can cause loud feedback. Adaptive Digital’s voice quality enhancement algorithms combat echo and howling, enabling the da Vinci Surgical System to provide a clear voice communication path between the surgeon and the surgical team in an acoustically challenged environment.

Adaptive Digital’s voice-quality enhancement algorithms address all of the environmental issues required for the high level of background noise present in an operation theater, such as heart and blood pressure monitors, suction vacuum machines, and air filtration systems.

Adaptive Digital has been developing echo canceller and voice quality enhancement technology for more than 10 years and has developed several echo cancellation solutions, including G.168 line and network echo cancellers (LEC and NEC), acoustic echo cancellers (AEC, AEC G4) and G.168™Plus, a packet echo canceller capable of handling tail lengths of up to 512 msec. Adaptive Digital’s echo cancellation solutions are based upon its patented, industry-standard, carrier-class echo canceller, which has been qualified as toll-quality by AT&T’s Voice Quality Assessment Labs in Middleton, N.J.

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