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A. New Speech Technology For Deaf Children

Narrator: This is Science Today. A computerized talking head named ABaldi@, may help deaf children learn to speak. The interactive cyberhead was created by Dominic Massaro, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Baldi uses moving eyes, brows and mouth to provide important visual cues of speech comprehension.

Massaro: Baldi is more or less a puppet that has sixty-five or seventy strings that control it, so at every point in time we specify where those strings should be so that Baldi gives you the appropriate speech articulation and the appropriate emotion.

Narrator: Massaro says research indicates people understand speech better when they have visual cues.

Massaro: There is much more in communication than just what comes in through the ear. You can pick up lots of information from the talker's face as well as their hand gestures and so on. You might be upset with badly dubbed films for example. The inappropriate lip movements are getting in the way of what you are trying to perceive and understand.

Narrator: Baldi is expected on the market next year. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.