Electromagnetic Articulography (EMA or EMMA)
Speech researchers quantify articulatory movement using a variety of techniques, including 3D imaging (x-ray, ultrasound, MRI) and fleshpoint tracking (x-ray microbeam, electropalatography, electromagnetic articulography). These technologies have provided important insights into the speech of healthy and disordered talkers. EMA (or EMMA, Electromagnetic Midsagittal Articulography) refers to kinematic tracking systems that use low field-strength electromagnetic fields to measure the movement of the tongue, lips, jaw, and velum. Two-dimensional (2D) EMA measures movement in the midsagittal plane. Subjects wear a helmet that places three transmitter coils around the head. The transmitters produce alternating magnetic fields which generate currents in tiny sensors placed on the surface of the articulators. As the sensors move through the fields, they are tracked by computer.
The earliest version of an EMA procedure was developed by Sonoda (1974) in which a permanent magnet was fastened to the tongue, with a second magnet located outside of the mouth.. In this procedure, only the position of the magnet in the mouth could be determined. Hixon (1971) and van der Giet (1977) used alternating fields and various transmitter signals, enabling one to measure several points within the mouth. This idea was developed further in 1980 by Perkell who developed a unit with two transmitter coils and miniature sensors. The commercial 2D EMA systems most commonly found in laboratories today are based on a 1982 prototype developed at the Medical School of the University of Göttingen, Germany. In 1988, Carstens Medizinelektronik GmbH developed the first commercial Articulograph, the AG100.
in 1995, a 5-dimensional system has been
developed by Carstens Medizinelektronik,
of the University of Munich, and NTT of Japan.
this system, six transmitters fixed on a case produce
magnetic fields at different frequencies. It is then possible to
XYZ co-ordinates (as well as two angles) to measure, store and display
positions of the sensors. These systems are currently in use in a
number of laboratories throughout the world.
- A description of the Carstens 2D system can be found here, and a video here.
- The Carstens 3D articulograph is described here and a video here.
- Scientific articles concerning EMA can be found here.