UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An eclectic cry research tool for the automatic estimation of an infant’s level of distress Black, John Scott


The infant cry has received strong research interest from scientists, medical doctors and engineers for a number of decades. As an infant's primary vehicle for communication, it is believed that the cry contains valuable information of the infant's physical and emotional well-being. As a result, the cry has been proposed as a useful means for monitoring an infant's level of distress (LOD). Recently, a novel approach for estimating the LOD has been introduced based on the proven concept of the cry being composed of recognizable cry-words. Using an established set of ten crywords, a single value indication of an infant's LOD is obtainable called the H-value. Previous methods for demonstrating the usefulness of this measure required complex algorithms and a complete tool was not developed. In this thesis the development of such a desirable tool is reported. This tool uses no single recognition technique but rather an eclectic variety of correlation methods and simple decision rules in conjunction with common features and techniques such as the fundamental frequency, FFT, short-time energy and a modified power spectral density. Without computationally intensive routines, the complexity of the system was reduced from previous methods resulting in a practical cry research tool. Testing of this system made use of actual cry data. Comparisons are given with previous systems and experienced parents' LOD ratings. The tool was also implemented on both a SUN and a PC to demonstrate the portability of the tool between different systems.

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