Rhema coaches public speakers in real-time

Despite the Google Glass prototype being put on ice, developers have continued making apps for the wearable technology such as the Rhema app from the University of Rochester in the US. It aims to help people in public speaking by providing real-time feedback so the speaker can adjust their volume and pace of speech accordingly.

Rhema (meaning utterance or things said in Greek) consists of two main pieces of software: the server and the client. When the user speaks, the microphone in their glasses records and transits their voice to a server via WiFi.

The speech is then analysed to detect the volume and speed at which the person is talking, and if these are out of the optimal range a notification is transmitted back from the server to the glasses.

Experiments with various feedback schemes show that sparse recommendation is more effective to minimise distraction than continuous stream of information, so only simple notifications appear on the speaker’s visual display.

Researchers have experimented with different types of notifications including graphs, text messages and traffic light-like colours. They also looked at using both a continuously-updating display that was up all the time, and individual messages that only appeared sporadically.

According to test subjects who used the system, the best type of notification took the form of a simple two-word message (such as louder/slower) that came up for a few seconds, once every 20 seconds.

The app is available for free on the University of Rochester’s website.