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Interface to speech services for image-guided surgery.

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Author: Kim-Celine Kahl

scikit-surgeryspeech is part of the SciKit-Surgery software project, developed at the Wellcome EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences, part of University College London (UCL).

scikit-surgeryspeech supports Python 3.6.

scikit-surgeryspeech is a project which runs the Python Speech Recognition API in the background listening for a specific command. After saying the keyword you can say different commands, which get converted to QT Signals.

The speech recognition is done by the Google Cloud API, you have to get the credentials to use it or change the recognition service.

Keyword detection is done by the Porcupine API. This should be have been installed automatically via the pvporcupine dependency

Please explore the project structure, and implement your own functionality.

Example usage

To run an example, just start -c example_config.json

The config file should define the paths for the porcupine library and the Google Cloud API if you are using it.

You can then say the keyword depending on the Porcupine keyword file you chose and afterwards a command. The command “quit” exits the application.

Note: each time you have already entered a command, you need to say the keyword again to trigger the listening to commands.



You can clone the repository using the following command:

git clone

If you have problems running the application, you might need to install portaudio


brew install portaudio


sudo apt-get install libasound-dev portaudio19-dev

If you’re going to try sphinx might need to install pulseaudo-dev


sudo apt-get install swig libpulse-dev

Set up the Porcupine keyword detection

Then, you have to set the following variables in the configuration file

"porcupine dynamic library path" : ".tox/py37/lib/python3.7/site-packages/pvporcupine/lib/linux/x86_64/",
     "porcupine model file path" : ".tox/py37/lib/python3.7/site-packages/pvporcupine/lib/common/porcupine_params.pv",
     "porcupine keyword file" : [".tox/py37/lib/python3.7/site-packages/pvporcupine/resources/keyword_files/linux/jarvis_linux.ppn"],

You can also generate your own keyword files

If you are using the speech recognition service within your own application, you have to start a background thread which calls the method to listen to the keyword over and over again.

You can find an example how to create such a thread in the

Use the Google Cloud speech recognition service

To use the Google Cloud speech recognition service, you need to get the credentials first. After signing up, you should get a json file with your credentials. Download this file and add add it to the configuration file

"google credentials file" : "snappy-speech-6ff24bf3e262.json",

To the path of your json file. You should then be able to run the application.

Change speech recognition service

You can try different speech recognition services by changing the recogniser entry in the config file. sphinx, google and google_cloud have all been tested, other options are possible but may not be implemented yet.

"recogniser" : "sphinx"
"recogniser" : "google"
"recogniser" : "google_cloud"
"recogniser" : "wit"
"recogniser" : "bing"
"recogniser" : "azure"
"recogniser" : "houndify"
"recogniser" : "ibm"

Python development

This project uses tox. Start with a clean python environment, then do:

pip install tox

and the commands that are run can be found in tox.ini.


You can pip install directly from the repository as follows:

pip install git+


Please see the contributing guidelines.


Supported by Wellcome and EPSRC.

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