Paralinguistic vocal control of interactive media: how untapped elements of voice might enhance the role of non-speech voice input in the user's experience of multimedia.

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Al Hashimi, Sama'a

Much interactive media development, especially commercial development, implies the dominance of the visual modality, with sound as a limited supporting channel. The development of multimedia technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality has further revealed a distinct partiality to visual media. Sound, however, and particularly voice, have many aspects which have yet to be adequately investigated. Exploration of these aspects may show that sound can, in some respects, be superior to graphics in creating immersive and expressive interactive experiences. With this in mind, this thesis investigates the use of non-speech voice characteristics as a complementary input mechanism in controlling multimedia applications. It presents a number of projects that employ the paralinguistic elements of voice as input to interactive media including both screen-based and physical systems. These projects are used as a means of exploring the factors that seem likely to affect users’ preferences and interaction patterns during non-speech voice control. This exploration forms the basis for an examination of potential roles for paralinguistic voice input. The research includes the conceptual and practical development of the projects and a set of evaluative studies. The work submitted for Ph.D. comprises practical projects (50 percent) and a written dissertation (50 percent). The thesis aims to advance understanding of how voice can be used both on its own and in combination with other input mechanisms in controlling multimedia applications. It offers a step forward in the attempts to integrate the paralinguistic components of voice as a complementary input mode to speech input applications in order to create a synergistic combination that might let the strengths of each mode overcome the weaknesses of the other.
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