Breaking the AI sound barrier
If you're driving north of Cambridge, U.K. and hear the sound of breaking glass coming from an airport hangar, it's not vandalism.
Chris is the founder and CEO of the company. They're working on something they've dubbed "artificial audio intelligence," which he describes as a new type of sound recognition for smart home applications.
"What it does," Chris says, "is discover the underlying language of sounds and enables machines to then detect those sounds and respond to them."
This area of AI is fairly new, because Chris says sound recognition is a zero data problem: "If you haven't got any data readily available obviously there's not very much to teach an artificial intelligence machine."
Audio Analytic is working to develop a database of sounds mainly related to home safety and security. Some of those sounds include baby cries, dog barks, smoke detector alarms, and breaking glass.
"It's designed for testing jet engines in it which is perfect for us because the bit where the jet engine goes is very soundproof and then you've got a huge hangar that you can put glass inside of," says Chris.
The team then spent weeks, often wearing protective Kevlar gear, breaking different types of glass and recording the sound.
All those authentic sounds being gathered by Audio Analytic are crucial for accurate sound recognition.
"If you go onto something like Google or YouTube and you type in 'glass break recordings', you'll often get back what Hollywood thinks glass break sounds like. In actuality the sounds are very very different and a lot more diverse," Chris says,
"And if you trained a system off that sort of YouTube type data it would have severe limitations and wouldn't work in the real world."