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Next-Generation Automatic Volume Control for Mobile Phones

December 15, 2011

e-mail Dr. Z. Zhang at

All mobile phone users have the same limitation: In noisy environments they cannot clearly hear or easily understand what is said to them. Automatic volume controls (AVCs) on phones and Bluetooth headsets today try to compensate for background noise by maintaining constant signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) one way or another. But these first-generation AVCs are not a popular solution, because constant S/N in a fluctuating noise environment produces the impression of unclear or ‘muddy’ speech.

SmartAVC™ ignores S/N, and instead adjusts volume automatically to maintain constant intelligibility of speech. The patented algorithms characterize the noise background in the frequency domain and in the time domain, and only compensate for noise that has frequency content and time duration sufficient to degrade intelligibility. The weighting of noise frequencies by the preferred speech interference level (PSIL) and the low-pass filtering of noise spikes by the damped, driven harmonic-oscillator (shock-absorber) equation are discussed. A live interactive demonstration (downloadable at illustrates the advantages of this next-generation AVC, including: Controlling volume without sacrificing clarity; adjusting only for persistent speech-interference noise; smoothing volume fluctuations; and eliminating static-like bursts caused by noise spikes. In the near future, the SmartAVC™ algorithms may be implemented on phones, with no changes to handsets needed, in any of these ways – in software applications, in the operating system, or in hardware at the chipset level or on a DSP.

Dr. Franklin Felber
Co-Founder & CTO, Starmark, Inc.

Dr. Franklin Felber, co-founder and chief technology officer of Starmark, Inc., holds physics degrees from Princeton University, University of Chicago, and University of Southern California. He has managed many dozens of research and development programs for government organizations, including: the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Missile Defense Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, National Institute of Justice, National Institutes of Health, and national laboratories. He has over 100 scientific publications. Since 1987, Starmark has provided government and corporate clients with advanced R&D services in defense sciences, biosciences, and homeland security.

December 15, 2011

5:30PM Networking
6:00PM Program & Presentation Begins
7:30PM Program Ends

CommNexus San Diego
4225 Executive Square Ste 495
San Diego, CA 92037

Parking is available on site. The parking strucutre is located across the street from 4225 Executive Square and is connected by a bridge.  CommNexus will provide validation.

$5.00 – Non-IEEE Members
FREE –  IEEE Members

To RSVP, e-mail Dr. Z. Zhang at

Questions? Contact Dr. Z. Zhang at
or Michele Yoshioka at


December 15, 2011
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