Finding the WHO, WHAT & WHEN  in audio


Oxford Wave Research (OWR) is a leading R&D company based in Oxford, UK, specialising in audio and speech processing, voice biometrics and deep learning-related product development. Our team has many years of experience developing solutions for law enforcement, military as well as other agencies both in the UK and around the world.

Gamers use SpectrumView to uncover Fortnite and Minecraft's secrets

Gamers use SpectrumView to uncover Fortnite and Minecraft's secrets

Content creators of all kinds, such as the musician Aphex Twin, have long used hidden secret patterns and text in the audio that can be observed in their spectrograms. More recently, video game developers have hidden Easter eggs in the spectrograms of their game soundtracks for their more inquisitive players to find. For example, among Minecraft's sound effects, the face of a Creeper, one of the game's enemies, can be seen in the spectrogram of the audio heard in a cave, as SpectrumView user “Musix200” discovered. See if you can spot it too!

[embed]https://youtu.be/SP1XQJdNXxM[/embed] creeper-1817227

Taking this idea a step further, alternate reality games (ARGs) are a modern spin on the traditional scavenger hunt in which participants scour websites, social media, and videos looking for clues. These games have taken social media sites like YouTube and Reddit by storm over the last few years. Organisers, often video game developers, will bury information in all sorts of places, like images, website code, and audio. Whole communities have been formed in order to find out secret stories and previews for their favourite video game, or just to have some cooperative fun while solving a digital mystery.

Epic Games created ARG content in the run-up to the Season 5 release of their famous multiplayer online game, Fortnite Battle Royale. They staged a rocket launch within the video game itself, during which some of the audio played was slightly odd. Gamers quickly realised that there was probably more to the audio clip than what could be just heard. Looking for patterns within the audio led them to visualising the frequencies in the audio in a spectrogram.  One such example of using SpectrumView to analyse the audio clip by player “Rockin Thomas86” is shown in the video below.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XggS15GxHr4[/embed]

On the spectrogram, you can see pixelated skulls at the start and end of the audio, and, in the middle, a list of letters and numbers. According to the Game Detectives Wiki, the skull shapes were shown on television screens within the game before the rocket launch, while the letters and numbers could be decoded as ASCII values to produce in-game coordinates. Some time after the rocket launch, dimensional rifts opened up at these coordinates, causing locations to appear and disappear on the game map. Players were primed to check the locations, having teased out the message hidden in the rocket launch audio.

Spectrum analysers like our iOS app SpectrumView can open up a whole new dimension of information in audio, and we are excited to see what more our users can find hidden away in the audio of all sorts of ARG content.

SpectrumView 2.4.1 Update

SpectrumView 2.4.1 has arrived!

SpectrumView and SpectrumView Plus 2.4.1 have been released today, providing a range of bug fixes and ensuring complete compatibility with new devices and iOS 15! This free update can be downloaded from the App Store at the links below, or will have already installed if you have automatic updates turned on in Settings.

SpectrumView: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/spectrumview/id472662922

SpectrumView Plus: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/spectrumview-plus/id571455198

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OWR at IAFPA 2021

We're attending IAFPA 2021!

Team work makes dream work! 

Oxford Wave Research staff are very excited to be attending the upcoming virtual IAFPA Conference, organised this year by Philipps-Universität Marburg. We are delighted to have a number of papers representing the results of our latest research in the field of voice biometrics and audio processing, accepted for presentation at the conference  Just to give a sneak peek of what you will be seeing, here is a list of the presentations co-authored by the OWR researchers in collaboration with distinguished academicians and forensic scientists:

  • “A WYRED connection: x-vectors and forensic speech data” by Anil Alexander, Finnian Kelly and Erica Gold
  • “How does the perceptual similarity of the relevant population to a questioned speaker affect the likelihood ratio?” by Linda Gerlach, Tom Coy, Finnian Kelly, Kirsty McDougall and Anil Alexander
  • “How do Automatic Speaker Recognition systems 'perceive' voice similarity? Further exploration of the relationship between human and machine voice similarity ratings.” by Linda Gerlach, Kirsty McDougall, Finnian Kelly and Anil Alexander
  • “Speaker-informed speech enhancement and separation” by Bence Mark Halpern, Finnian Kelly, and Anil Alexander
  • “Exploring the impact of face coverings on x-vector speaker recognition using VOCALISE” by Tom Iszatt, Ekrem Malkoc, Finnian Kelly, and Anil Alexander
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OWR at EAFS 2022

We're exhibiting at EAFS Stockholm 2022!

The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) is doing it once more!

European Academy of Forensic Science Conference, EAFS 2022, being organised by Swedish National Forensic Centre (NFC), will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 30 – June 3, 2022.

We look forward to sharing the latest exciting research developments in the field of forensic speaker recognition and audio processing .  We will also be showcasing our product range, including the most recent updates and features of our flagship software VOCALISE forensic speaker recognition software at one of the largest and most prestigious European forensic events.

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Bounga Singapore Collaboration

Bounga Informatics Pte Ltd appointed as a distributor for Oxford Wave Research products in Singapore

Oxford Wave Research is pleased to announce the appointment of Bounga Informatics Pte Ltd as our distributor in Singapore.  Bounga Informatics is a well established and respected provider of forensic products in Singapore and we are delighted to have their support for the increased interest in our products, including our flagship VOCALISE forensic voice biometric software, in Singapore. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with Bounga Informatics in the months and years to come.

“We are honoured that a world-renowned company such as Oxford Wave has appointed Bounga as their Singapore distributor. We look forward to working with them in this exciting sphere.”

Frank Butler, Managing Director at Bounga
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