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Espy-Wilson receives NIH grant for vocal tract acoustics

Associate Professor Carol Espy-Wilson (ECE/ISR) is participating in a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for "Acoustics of Vocal Tract Shapes for Liquids."

This research involves the collection of vocal tract images using MRI and ultrasound from a large number of speakers producing the articulatorily complex American English liquids /r/ and /l/ in a variety of contexts.

The volumetric data will be used to develop comprehensive acoustic models of interspeaker differences in vocal tract configuration. The data will be used to categorize vocal tract shapes in terms of acoustic strategies for producing /r/ and /l/.

These data will aid in the understanding of vocal tract acoustics and articulatory variation in speech. The results should improve speech recognition technologies and the implementation of articulatory and acoustic biofeedback therapy techniques.

Espy-Wilson's portion of the grant is worth $555,942. The research is being done jointly with Suzanne Boyce at the University of Cincinnati and Mark Tiede, who has a joint appointment at Haskins Laboratory in Connecticut and in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.

April 3, 2002


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