News Release

REF NO.: 107

SUBJECT: Demonstration of new technology available to speech and language pathologists

DATE: January 31, 2007

On Thursday, Feb. 1, at 3:30 p.m., phonology researcher Dr. Yvan Rose, a professor in Memorial’s Linguistics Department and winner of the 2006 Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award, will demonstrate how computer software and ultrasound could dramatically impact the practice of speech and language pathology.
            Several speech and language pathologists will be on hand to learn about the new technology available to them, including an ultrasound machine that provides a view of the tongue in motion as one speaks, and see how just a slight change in physical positioning can make a big difference in sound.
            “There are lots of problems that can be related to speech and language acquisition, so we are facing a pretty complicated task when trying to understand how a child has developed language and speech patterns, or ended up with problems in those areas,” Dr. Rose explains.
            This demonstration of innovation is sponsored by Petro-Canada, which has helped fund Dr. Rose’s work through its Young Innovator Award, established in 1995 to recognize and foster the work of outstanding and innovative young researchers at Canadian universities, colleges and major research institutes. 
            While speech pathologists have had great success in addressing that complicated task, Dr. Rose notes that technology is advancing rapidly.

            Dr. Rose has led the development of software called Phon, and the subsequent creation of a database called PhonBank, a massive, powerful open source tool for those working in language acquisition and speech disorders around the world.

            When completed, PhonBank will allow researchers and practitioners to quickly locate segmented phrases, words and syllables. By comparing developmental or disordered speech data with typical adult speech data, users will be able to see where discrepancies are occurring, and explore possible causes. Accessible internationally, the database will be openly available and free to use.
            “The need is so big for something like this. There has never been a comprehensive computer program to enable analysis of speech,” Dr. Rose explains.
            Media are invited to attend this demonstration event on Thursday, Feb. 1,
 at 3:30 p.m. in the Inco Innovation Centre Beatrice Watts Boardroom, Room IIC-2014.

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