American Innovation

Startup touts noise elimination software for mobile phones

File photo

File photo  (REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

We all know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to hold a phone conversation with someone and their voice is drowned out by background noise on the incoming call. Startup Cypher is touting software technology that it says can tackle this problem.

Cypher CEO John Walker told that his company has created a software algorithm that effectively strips out background noise on mobile phones. 

 “We have created a stencil for the human voice,” he said.  “We take the incoming audio stream, put it through our filter and just take the human voice of the primary speaker.”

Cypher says that its technology can slash background noise by 99 percent and boost audio quality by 20 percent. The software certainly performed well when it was recently tested by

Walker explained that Cypher’s software algorithm examines extremely fine frames of audio and  ascertains which noises are human voices and which are not. “If it determines [the audio is] human speech, it’s allowed through, if not, it’s left behind,” he added.

To develop the software, the South Jordan, Utah.-based firm analyzed an enormous database of human voices and came up with common characteristics. These were built into its software algorithm.

Typically, smartphones use hardware-based noise cancellation technology.  Telecom companies such as Sprint are also looking to tackle this problem with HD Voice, which transmits and receives a wider octave range of the speaker’s voice.

“We looked at this from a totally fresh perspective, trying to innovate,” said Walker. “Pattern recognition is really our focus.”

The CEO added that Cypher’s eponymous software could also prove effective when used with voice recognition technologies such as Apple’s Siri. “If you’re in a noisy space, the word error rate is impacted,” he said. “We have seen as much as a 35 percent improvement in speech recognition scoring if we put our algorithm in front of the input into the speech recognition engine.”

The next stage for Cypher is to get smartphone manufacturers to integrate its software onto their devices’ operating systems. “We’re talking to all those that you would expect us to be talking to,” said Walker.

Founded in 2012, Cypher received a patent for voice print technology last year. The company says that it has additional patents filed and in process.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers