Real-time Visual Feedback for Retraining Tongue Movements for Speech

  • Dr. William Katz (left) - The interactive device is positioned like a shower head above the patient, and sensors are placed on the person's tongue
  • Patients view 3D images of their own tongue movements on a computer screen while they're speaking
  • (L-R) Dr. Jun Wang and Eric Farrar

Project Overview

Have you ever thought about where you put your tongue to make a speech sound? Most people never have to consider this because it happens so naturally. But for speakers with neurologically based speech disorders, this movement can be daunting.

The purpose of the Visible Speech project is to develop an easy-to-use clinical tool that provides visual feedback showing the position of the tongue in the mouth during speech. Single or multiple sensors placed on the patient’s tongue allow for real-time monitoring of movement. The aim of the project is to facilitate successful speech production for individuals who otherwise are unable to achieve accurate production of those sounds.

In addition to this direct clinical application, the tool will enable researchers to gather data that provides greater insight into speech processes. The research will lead to further understanding of the importance of the tongue in human speech production. The Visible Speech tool provides the possibility for understanding the intricacy of tongue patterns that impact normal and disordered speech.

Stage of Development

The Visible Speech project is in the pilot stage of development. A grant has been submitted to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in support of this project.

Development Team

The Visible Speech project is a collaboration among the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Arts and Humanities, as well as corporate sponsors. The team of researchers includes:

Thomas Campbell, PhD thomas.f.campbell@utdallas.edu
The University of Texas at Dallas, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Holle Carey hxc143830@utdallas.edu
The University of Texas at Dallas, Arts and Technology

Eric Farrar, MFA eric.farrar@utdallas.edu
The University of Texas at Dallas, Arts and Technology

William Katz, PhD wkatz@utdallas.edu
The University of Texas at Dallas, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Balakrishnan Prabhakaran, PhD bprabhakaran@utdallas.edu
The University of Texas at Dallas, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science

Robert Rennaker, PhD rlr091000@utdallas.edu
The University of Texas at Dallas, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science