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Bert Keely - Why does a Tablet PC have three microphones?

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Did you know that a new Toshiba Tablet PC has three microphones?

They call them "array microphones." What is the reason? What could they be used for?

We asked Bert Keely, one of the visionaries who developed the Tablet PC about what you could use the array microphones for.

Oh, something else you might not know. Bert is an accomplished musician and is a backup singer for Bob Weir, formerly of the Grateful Dead. So, he plays a lot with audio.

Why does this matter? One of Bert's goals is to keep your hands off of the keyboard. Something tells us that he'll find some interesting ways to use those microphones.

Anyone know of any software out there that is using the three microphones?

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  • The array is used by all applications. I have found the sound quality blows away any laptop I have used before for applications like Skype as well as the Tablet OS voice dictation. The array acts as a noise canceling system. I also use an Etymotic headset for Skype and I've been told that the sound quality from the array mikes in the Portege is even better than this relatively expensive headset (around $70).
  • Cool! Can't wait to see this materialize in the mainstream.
  • Wayne TaylorKryptos Backup People!
    What model is the tablet? Is it out yet? Are we going to see this in action.

    I have a Toshiba Portege E200, which only has one mic (as far as I'm aware)....

    And the sound it's records, isn't that great.


    Keep these videos comming!
  • Sven GrootSven Groot Don't worry... I'm a doctor.
    I took a seminar on speech recognition last year, and one of the projects the students were doing dealt with noise reduction using array microphones. The approach they were taking was trying to cancel out the noise using phase inversion with two mikes, but at the time I thought that wouldn't work because of the relatively low speed of sound and the distance between the microphones. I was discussing this with the course assistant (who was a PhD student), and we decided it'd probably be better to use use three microphones to triangulate the source and isolate that instead of trying to isolate the noise and cancel it out. And now I'm proved right!

    I guess great minds really do think alike! Wink
  • Kryptos wrote:
    What model is the tablet? Is it out yet? Are we going to see this in action.

    I have a Toshiba Portege E200, which only has one mic (as far as I'm aware)....

    And the sound it's records, isn't that great.


    We're talking about the Tablet PC model: Portege M200/205. It has the array mikes because voice dictation/recognition is an integral part of the Tablet PC 2005 Edition OS. I'm not aware of other Toshoba models that offer this - perhaps the new media-oriented models do too.
  • Wayne TaylorKryptos Backup People!
    I have a M200 which I bought about a month ago... (Model Number: PPM21E-0260Z-EN), I'm in the UK.

    So does this have 3 mics?

    Do I need other software as I tried recording a meeting I had in a bar/pub the other night and I wasn't that impressed.

  • Take a look at the bezel around your M200's screen. You should see on mic hoele at the top (in laptop mode) and two at the bottom. If you have these three holes, you have the tri-mic array.

    YMMV. I've found that it works great in a office setting or when I;'m in my den at home with the TV going or my son chatting on the phone nearby. It cancels all of that background noise out. If the ambient sound is too high, a headset is always going to work better simply due to proximity to your mouth.
  • The real question is "Why doesn't Toshiba market this fact?"

    It has a lot of potential to the vertical medical field.

     
    MedicalTabletpc
    C.M.Wilkerson, D.C.
    Editor-in-Chief
  • the amount of mics is cool but i think in the interview to see a practical application of this array would have brought home the point.
  • Hi,
    I have a new Fujitsu Lifebook 4000 and it has 2 mikes on it, but when i check the sound stream, it only has a mono track. Dose anyone know if the Windows his handleing the noize-canceling? or if not, how to acess a stereo feed?

  • I’d like to answer my own question. It turns out that there is a program that came preinstalled on my Fujitsu Lifebook 4000 that I did not know about. It’s called IntelliSonic DX.02, it performs the noise-canceling from the 2 microphones then exposes itself as an audio cart showing only the noise canceled stream.

  • DuckDuck Electronic Medical Duck
    Great videos!  I have one of my clients, a physician who is also a former member of the Dead and I think I will see if I can get him to view a couple of the videos so I can get him a little further into my EMR.

    His partner is using a tablet but he's been the hold out thus far, going to try using the "Dead" connection to get him to the site so he can see what the tablet can really do for him.  He still does a little local music in southern California as well.
  • I am so on board with this applicatiion of tablet technology.  I just want to see TWO more things.

    -Integration with Google Earth ( So I can see where I am in an aerial photo)

    and

    -My cell phones GPS capability integrated into a seamless network between my tablet and the phone. (IE a phone that actually snaps into my tablet and also communicates location via bluetooth.) 

    Justin

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