On 27th November, a product demo, which was proposed by our lab, was introduced to the audience on a workshop in our Lansdowne campus, Bournemouth University. This workshop was led by Prof Hongnian Yu from Computing Science. This workshop was run for a proposed Digital Healthcare Institute which was stirred by a group of researchers, doctors and business people from Bournemouth University, local hospitals and industry. The iTalkTone Lab was involved in this proposal with great passion.
The product demo (see that the researcher is wearing), temporally named EEG glasses, was designed for the people who suffered from communication difficulty, especially acquired aphasia and locked-in syndrome patients, for example, Dr Stephen Hawking. This wearable equipment enables these people to use brainwave to make some basic communication with external world. Dr Zeng has been leading his team to work with support of a hi-tech company in China for over one year. He expected to make a roadshow this December in China.
For the sake of seeking for potential grant and funding, Dr Zeng accepted an invitation from International Conference on Elites Networking and Program Collaboration, Hangzhou 2015. Under this umbrella, he was chosen to send to one satellite program, Qiantang Wisdom Elite Summit. Qiantang is one newly established science park in Hangzhou city, the capital of affluent Zhejiang province.
On 5th November, luxury coaches carried groups of visiting overseas Chinese scholars and hi-tech entrepreneurs to an exhibition gallery. In the gallery, Hangzhou CBD, where Qiantang locates, is illustrated with photos, videos and architectural models. Local civil servants warmly and proudly declared that they only used about 5 years to build up a modern city from wasteland.
More astonishing, inside the Hangzhou International Conference Center, the local government promised to award £1.5 million to any single startup project if any scientist can bring innovative technology solution back and comes to work here. Outside of the Center, free market stall-style negotiation was occurring between reserved investors and ambitious researchers (see the left photo).
In the talk of Read My Lips on Festival of Learning, Dr Zeng introduced his lab’s research on audiovisual lexical tone perception to his audience who are interested in Chinese lexical tones. He summarised two types of visual cues in speech communication. One is for pragmatic purpose as body language, gesture or facial expressions. The other one is to represent the place and manner of articulation, e.g. the movement of lips. The latter is investigated by Ms Rui Wang, one PhD researcher in the lab.
Viseme app, which is named after the term for noticeable visual cues to discrimate one phoneme to another, was designed by EEG Life, the lab’s software development partner and tried by the attendees.