Wednesday, 22 Apr, 2009 Technology

Latest Invention: Lip-Reading Computers Able to Identify Different Languages


One of the latest inventions created by scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) are lip-reading computers that are able to identify different languages.

Scientists managed to come up with lip-reading computers some time earlier but now they created the first computer that can really distinguish different languages. This latest invention could prove to be very useful for people with hearing problems, as well as for law enforcement agencies, and in noisy environments.

The revolutionary research is currently led by Stephen Cox and Jake Newman of UEA's School of Computing Sciences. They will present their latest invention at a major conference that will take place in Taiwan on April 22.

It is worth mentioning that the technology was built up by statistical modeling of the lip movements developed by a team of 23 bilingual and trilingual speakers. The system could distinguish any language with extremely high accuracy. It could identify English, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Polish and Russian, reports the UEA website.

"This is the first scientific confirmation that when people speak different languages, they use different mouth shapes in different sequences," outlined Prof Cox.

"For example, we found frequent 'lip-rounding' among French speakers and more prominent tongue movements among Arabic speakers," he added.

The study was funded by the EPSRC and is a part of a larger project of the University of East Anglia that focuses on automatic lip-reading. Soon scientists will start working on the system closer to an individual's physiology and their way of speaking.

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