Invited by the Research Center of Informatisation in the city of Wenzhou, Dr Zeng used WeChat, an online communication app invented by Tencent, and organised an academic salon between BU and China on 22nd November. The salon attracted over 30 researchers globally to engage in the online event.
The talk was titled as EEG Application in Alternative Communication and Neurofeedback Therapy. Dr Zeng attempted to forge the concept of “alternative communication” with such examples of sign language, whale sounds (pitch) and convert speech. Also he briefly reviewed the history of EEG and introduced main principles and components in EEG studies. Furthermore he exemplified neurofeedback therapy with the cases of ADHD and epilepsy. Regarding EEG’s commercial potential, Dr Zeng summarised two business cases occurring in China.
On 2nd November Dr Zeng was invited to visit Chonqqing University by Prof Hui Xie (PhD, Sheffield University) and gave a talk on visual benefit on speech perception under adverse condition. The talk was the outcome of a joint project between the iTalkTone Lab and Chonqing University. Prof Xie is an architectural acoustics expert and has published widely in noise control and classroom design.
Chonqing University is a key national university located in Chongqing, China, and a member of the “Excellence League“. Chongqing University is also one of the “Project 211 and Project 985” universities with full support in the construction and development from the central government and the Chongqing Municipal Government. Among its various departments, Chongqing University is especially highly ranked in the Built Environment, Engineering, Technology, and Business disciplines. (from Wikipedia)
On 31st August, 2015, Dr Zeng reported his team’s work on 2015 International Congress on Brain Informatics and Health in the Royal Geographical Society, close to Imperial College London. Currently his research team are working on the time course of audio-visual information integration in lexical tone perception.
In the session, Dr Zeng reported a pilot result from his lab. The full data will be published in the next year.
BIH 2015 provides a premier forum that will bring together researchers and practitioners from neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, data science and neuroimaging technologies with the purpose of exploring the fundamental roles, interactions as well as practical impacts of Brain Informatics. BIH 2015 also include events that focused on Active Media, in order to increase the cross-fertilization of ideas from different communities.
Dr Zeng presented some ERP data on audiovisual lexical tone perception in the department’s Brown Bag meeting today. The meeting was set to stir and encourage psychological researchers to engage more academic communication and share their undergoing progress.
A relevant report will be delivered on BIH 2015 this August.
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.
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Invited by MRC Oxford University, Dr Zeng gave a talk on three communication tools alternative to language. Lexical tone, brainwave and polling are the three examples used to illustrate his idea of alternative communication on 15th May.
Lexical tone, which is uncommon in many western languages such as English and French, can be regarded as an alternative tool of communication. Tonal languages make up approximately half of the languages in the world, with Mandarin being a typical one. Lexical tones are dominated by pitch frequency. Even with identical consonants and vowels, Mandarin can convey different meanings by way of changing the pitches of every lexical item.
Brainwave is another alternative tool of communication. It refers to the electrical activity of the brain on the scalp, which has been extensively investigated by electroencephalography (EEG) method since Dr Hans Berger invented this technology in 1924. Today, EEG has been widely applied in health monitoring and neuroscience research. In recent years, brain-computer interface (BCI) technology turns its interest to brainwave and aims to help with the communication between our brain and external equipment. The ultimate goal is to use brainwave to control the external world.
The third alternative tool of communication, polling, can be regarded as public communication between politicians or political parties and the public in today’s political world. However, the communication mechanism is still not clear. It assumes that mass media plays a critical role in such political communication.