New lip-reading computers can ‘speak’ everything from English and Arabic to Cantonese and Italian.
The technology, developed by scientists at the University of East Anglia, was developed by modelling the lip movements of 23 bilingual and trilingual speakers. They reckon it could bring huge benefits to deaf people, to law enforcement agencies and those operating in noisy environments.
Professor Stephen Cox, who led the research, said it had confirmed long held beliefs about lip movement and language. He said: “This is an exciting advance in automatic lip reading technology and the first scientific confirmation of something we already intuitively suspected – that when people speak different languages they use different mouth shapes in different sequences. For example, we found frequent ‘lip-rounding’ among French speakers and more prominent tongue movements among Arabic speakers.” The ground-breaking research was presented at a major conference in Taiwan in April.