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Controller gains the ability to speak

17 July 2018

The human body has evolved into what could be called a system of perfectly harmonised functional units. The same applies in a figurative sense for an automation system, which combines the functions of intelligence, sensors, motion control and vision in perfect harmony. Now with the introduction of TwinCAT Speech software, automation systems can also learn to hear and speak.

The TwinCAT software solution already has the ability to turn a PC into a real-time controller with a multi-PLC system, NC axis control, programming environment and operating station. Now, with the with the introduction of TwinCAT Speech software it also has the ability to communicate with humans by speaking and listening.

TwinCAT Speech allows multilingual input and output of queries or information in line with industry standards. This enables interaction with the automation system to be carried out more efficiently and conveniently. Now, when working on a machine component, for example, operation and maintenance personnel can simply ask about the impact of setting changes on the current control or simulation application without having to use a conventional operator interface. In addition, appropriate alarm messages can be given acoustically when critical system values are reached.  Speech input is available as an offline function and is implemented on the basis of built-in Windows operating system functionalities. Speech output is available both as an offline function and an online function.

In the case of offline, support is provided by the appropriate Windows functionalities and in online cases via Polly, the text-to-speech service from Amazon. The realistic sounding speech output for these applications is synthesised with the aid of deep learning technologies. Multiple voices can be supported in addition to the caching of audio files generated online. 


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