Knowledge Adventure JumpStart Phonics Speech Recognition Problems

Problem: Speech Recognition does not work in JumpStart Phonics

There are several reasons why the program might not recognize speech. When the character says, "I didn't quite hear that," it is not necessarily because it's not loud enough. It might be too loud, or it might be distorted because of the way you're holding the microphone.


Here is a list of things to check:

1. The packaging does not have accurate requirements listed. It says it will run on a Pentium, 100 MHz or faster. This is not correct; although it will run on 100 MHz Pentiums, the speech recognition won't work correctly unless it's 133 MHz or faster. Also, the speech recognition will only work on MMX processors. If the Pentium does not have MMX capability, there is no way to get that part to work. The program is playable without the speech feature, however.

2. Check your sound card. Some cards will not accept 16-bit recording even though they say they are "16-bit." It means they can play back 16-bit audio. But if the card cannot record in 16-bit, the speech recognition will not work no matter what you do. Also, the microphone test routine that the program runs during installation only tests in 8-bit mode. We have no control over this; we wish it would test in 16-bit, but it will not.

3. Use Sound Recorder to verify that the microphone works. This only uses 8-bit recording so it's not a great test, but it will show whether the mike works and the card takes input.

4. You may need to adjust the volume mixer, for both the playback and recording levels.

5. Check these issues regarding the mike: make sure it's the proper mike type for the sound card (static/crystal, or dynamic) with proper impedance, usually indicated as High Impedance (1000 ohms) or Low Impedance (8 ohms). There are also stereo mikes and mono mikes; these will also affect performance.

6. Be sure it's plugged in to the proper input jack on the computer. There is usually a "microphone" jack, and often a "line-in" jack. In some cases the mike should be plugged in to the line-in jack. Check your sound card and microphone documentation.

7. Check microphone position. It is best to speak into it using a normal voice level; do not shout. Hold the mike about 3-4 inches away and do not speak straight into it. Hold the mike off to the side so that you're speaking across it.

8. Go into the Control Panel and set the IBM Via Voice Control Panel to Best Guess.

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