Monday, April 27, 2009

Lip-reading computer speaks multiple languages

Scientists in England have developed a computer that can not only read lips, but can tell the difference between languages. Researchers at the University of East Anglia's School of Computing Sciences developed the technology by statistically modeling the lip motions of 23 bilingual and trilingual speakers. The resulting system is able to identify the language spoken by an individual with "very high accuracy," according to the university. Identifiable languages included English, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Polish, and Russian.

How does it work? When you move your tongue, jaw, and lips, you are generating the measurable characteristics of visual speech, the recognition of which is known as lip reading. Computer vision has already been used in lip reading, or "feature extraction," but this is the first time computers have been "taught" to recognize different languages, according to UEA (PDF).

The discovery could have practical uses for the deaf, law enforcement, and military units serving overseas, the researchers predict.


1 comment:

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What a technological advance!