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High-tech cerebral palsy research at SDSU
Date:12/14/2012

In a speech, language and hearing sciences research lab at San Diego State University, children with cerebral palsy and those who are typically developing are experiencing a certain kind of fame.

Speech language professor Ignatius Nip is researching and analyzing the interaction between facial movements and speech-language development in these children using the same motion capture technology that transfers actors expressions to computer-generated film characters.

"No one has looked at the speech movements of children with cerebral palsy using this technology," Nip said. "We can use this information to help speech-language pathologists understand how to help their clients communicate better."

Nip, along with student research assistants, is performing speech and language testing on children between the ages of 1 to 18 years old. It's all made possible because of a three-year grant worth nearly $450,000 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

High-tech research

The research lab is similar to a movie set. Eight cameras cross two walls, all focused on the seated participant. Approximately 15 reflective markers are placed on the child or adolescent's face, including the lips and jaw. Those markers reflect infrared light that is picked up by the cameras. This information is then sent to a computer that turns the data into a 3-D image of the participant's face, similar to what you would see on an animator's computer in a major film studio.

To examine participants movements during speech, different words and phrases are displayed on a projection screen in front of them. They are asked to read and repeat the words and phrases so that Nip and his research team can collect and analyze their movements.

Originally, Nip anticipated 15 participants with cerebral palsy and 15 who are typically developing. The research has received such a positive response that Nip has
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Contact: Natalia Van Stralen
Natalia.vanstralen@sdsu.edu
619-594-2585
San Diego State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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