Arai Lab. Newsletter 2006

1. Academic Society Activities

1.1 Joint Technical Committee Meeting on “Speech” and “Psychological and Physiological Acoustics”

This committee meeting was held jointly by the Speech and Psychological and Physiological Acoustics Technical Committees over two days, March 27 and 28, at Sophia University. I served as the meeting organizer. On the first day an international workshop was held, under the title of “International Workshop on Frontiers in Speech and Hearing Research.” The workshop featured 22 presentations. The first three were by invited speakers; the remaining 19 were poster presentations (I was personally involved in a number of the poster presentations [2006_252006_262006_272006_282006_292006_302006_312006_32]). On the second day of the meeting, a total of 14 general presentations were given (I was involved in two of these [2006_332006_34]).

1.2 ASJ Summer Seminar

I participated in the ASJ Summer Seminar, held in Hakuba, as a member of the executive committee and also as a lecturer, taking charge of a basic introduction to speech. I also organized a mini-activity, working together with participants to make a vocal-tract model using pipes and film cases.

Mini-activity at the ASJ Summer Seminar

1.3 Interspeech

Arai Lab. delivered a presentation at “Interspeech,” an international conference on speech communication, held in Pittsburgh, USA [2006_11]. In addition, I conducted a peer review as a member of the Scientific Review Committee.

1.4 ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting

In November and December 2006, an ASA-ASJ joint meeting was held in Hawaii. I am currently serving as a member of the Committee on Education in Acoustics of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and chairing the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics of the Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ). I was thus appointed as a program member in the field of Education in Acoustics. In July 2006 I participated in the Technical Program Organizing Committee Meeting (TPOM) of the program committee. In the end, we organized three special sessions, as follows, in the field of Education in Acoustics: 2aED Demonstrations & Tools in Acoustic Education; 2pEDa Education in Acoustics for Children; and 2pEDb Take-5. I worked as an organizer and chair of the second special session. I also performed a demonstration of acoustics education in speech science, in a booth. In addition to three invited presentations [2006_132006_142006_15] in the session on education, I also gave two more invited talks in the sessions on speech communication [2006_16] and architectural acoustics [2006_19]. Arai Lab. members made a substantial contribution to the meeting. In addition to the five presentations listed above, there were seven presentations by Arai Lab. members [2006_122006_172006_182006_202006_212006_222006_23]. I would say that in terms of the number of participants Arai Lab. had a greater presence than any other single laboratory in Japan.

ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting:
Demo-session 2aED (left and upper right) and session 2pEDa (lower right)

1.5 ASJ Editorial Committee

1.5.1 AST review paper

Since 2005, I have been involved in editing the journal of the Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ) and the English journal, “Acoustical Science and Technology” (AST), as a member of the Journal Sub-Committee of the Editorial Committee. In pace with the timing of the ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting that I described above, we published a special issue titled, “Introduction to theAmazing World of Sounds with Demonstrations.” As editor I jointly wrote the introduction [2006_07], and in my role as chair of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics I compiled and wrote the Invited Review paper [2006_08] about education in acoustics in Japan.

Note that audio files and video files are included with the above-mentioned review paper.

1.5.2 “Exhibits and Demonstrations on Acoustics in Science Museums” Series in the Journal of the ASJ

A special series titled “Exhibits and Demonstrations on Acoustics in Science Museums,” based on a survey of science museums, has been started in the Journal of the ASJ beginning in December 2006, on the initiative of the ASJ’s Research Committee on Education in Acoustics (I am serving as editor of the series.)

The website of the series “Exhibits and Demonstrations on Acoustics in Science Museums” in the Journal of the ASJ:

1.6 ASJ’s Research Committee on Education in Acoustics

I have been serving as a member of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics at ASJ since 2003. I was appointed chair of the committee in 2005. In 2006, I continued to serve as chair, working on a variety of initiatives.

1.6.1 Websitelaunch

A website of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics was set up for the purpose of disseminating various types of information both within and beyond the confines of the ASJ. The website content ranges from activities of the committee to teaching materials and demonstrations related to education in acoustics. Visit the site and take a look!

Website of the ASJ’s Research Committee on Education in Acoustics:

1.6.2 Cooperation with Museums

In 2006, I visited several science museums (e.g. the National Science Museum, the Science Museum, Shizuoka Science Museum, Hamamatsu Science Museum) and talked directly to their directors and on-site staffs.

At the National Science Museum in October 2006 we organized a special event, under the title, “Science Workshop on Sound: Wonderful World of Sounds; Let’s Create Our Voice.” Eleven children ranging in age from the first year of elementary school to the first year of junior high school participated in the workshop. This Science Workshop was held jointly with the ASJ, and members of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics helped us in managing the workshop.

I discussed this science workshop in my presentation [2006_15] for 2pEDa Education in Acoustics for Children at the Education in Acoustics session at the ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting in Hawaii.

“Science Workshop on Sound” (at the National Science Museum)

1.6.3 High-School Physics Teachers’ Circle

In August 2006 I visited with members of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics of the ASJ to the “Aichi and Gifu Physics Circle,” a club of enthusiastic high-school physics teachers. The circle members discuss ways to make physics education more interesting and exciting for students. They communicate on a daily basis about developing teaching materials and ideas for demonstrations. We reported the results of our visit in our review paper [2006_08] in the special issue of AST, “Introduction to the Amazing World of Sounds with Demonstrations,” described in 1.5.1, as well as in the presentation [2006_14] for 2pEDa Education in Acoustics for Children during the Education in Acoustics session at the ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting.

You can watch a video I recorded during my visit at the URL given above in 1.5.1.

1.6.4 ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting

As mentioned earlier, I am a member of the Committee on Education in Acoustics of the ASA. Currently I am also chairing the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics of the ASJ. I was thus asked to serve this meeting as an organizer and as chair in the field of education in acoustics (see 1.4).

1.6.5 Series on “Exhibits and Demonstrations on Acoustics in Science Museums” in the Journal of the ASJ

As I described above, the series are undertaken on the initiative of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics (see 1.5.2).

1.7 ASJ’s Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free

I was invited to serve as a member of this newly formed research committee as a representative of speech-related research. Immediately, the committee organized a special session at the 2007 ASJ Spring Meeting.

1.8 ASJ International Public Relations Committee

I continue to serve as a member of this committee, as I have done since 2005.

1.9 Phonetic Society of Japan (PSJ)

I continue to serve the PSJ as a councilor and member of the Planning Committee. Also, since 2006 marks the 80th anniversary of the PSJ, I served as a member of the executive committee for the 80th Anniversary Commemorative Meeting. I have particularly fond memories of creating a DVD to commemorate this special event.

2. Education in Acoustics and Vocal-Tract Models

2.1 Continuously evolving vocal-tract models

I put together an explanation about the lung and head-shaped models in the Acoustical Letter [2006_02] in the AST Journal of the ASJ. I also touched on this subject in my review paper [2006_08], mentioned above in 1.5.1.

We developed a slide-type vocal-tract model based on the three-tube model, and constructed some of these together with participants at a mini-activity held at the ASJ Summer Seminar (see 1.2) and at a “Science Workshop on Sound” held at the National Science Museum (see 1.6.2). We also created reed-type sound sources to be used with slide-type vocal-tract model. For details, please refer to the Acoustical Letter in the AST Journal [2006_05].

The above-mentioned lung and head-shaped models as well as a slide-type vocal-tract model were introduced at 2aED Demonstrations & Tools in Acoustic Education during a demonstration session on Education in Acoustics at the ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting, held in Hawaii [2006_13].

2.2 Vocal-Tract Model Website

Presentations on vocal-tract models together with an explanation on vowel production have been posted on the Arai Lab. website (both in Japanese and in English). The site URL is:

The website of the ASJ’s Research Committee on Education in Acoustics, mentioned in 1.6.1, also offers information on educational materials in acoustics, including details of vocal-tract models introduced by Arai Lab.

2.3 Digital Pattern Playback

Pattern Playback refers to a technology developed by the Haskins Laboratories to reconstruct speech from the sound spectrograms of speech (voiceprints); we have developed “Digital Pattern Playback,” a digital version of the technique. We have reported on this [2005_26, 2006_06].

We showed off our Digital Pattern Playback technology at 2aED Demonstrations & Tools in Acoustic Education [2006_13] during the demonstration session on Education in Acoustics at the ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting, as well as at the open-participation 2pEDb Take-5, during the Education in Acoustics demonstration session. In each case the response was very enthusiastic. An article explaining our Digital Pattern Playback has been posted to the English version of Wikipedia.

Digital Pattern Playback website:

A trial version is available at:

An explanation of Digital Pattern Playback in English is available at Wikipedia:

2.4 Textbook for Elementary School Students

A photograph of the lung model we built was again featured in the teaching materials of the SAPIX preparatory school in 2006.

Our lung models, used as teaching materials of SAPIX

2.5 Vocal-Tract Model Demonstrations

During 2006 we again conducted demonstrations of our vocal-tract models on various occasions:

  • ASJ Summer Seminar
  • ASA-ASJ Joint Meeting
  • “Multi-media Information Synousiacs,” Sophia University
    Lecture Series Lectures including demonstrations
  • “Biological Science of Human,” Faculty of Science and Technology Lecture Series
    Lectures including demonstrations
  • Yokohama Kyoritsu Doremus School (Senior High School)
    Lecture and hands-on demonstration
  • Tama Rehabilitation Academy
    Demonstration in the intensive Acoustics II course
  • The National Science Museum
    Demonstration and creating vocal-tract models in the “Science Workshop on Sound”

3. International and Domestic Collaborations

3.1 MIT

We invited Dr. Janet Slifka, a member of the Speech Communication Group, led by Prof. Kenneth N. Stevens to the previously mentioned International Workshop on Frontiers in Speech and Hearing Research (see 1.1). (Dr. Slifka was very kind and helpful to me during my time as a visiting scientist at MIT.)

3.2 Silicon Speech

Dynamics of Speech Production and Perception (IOS Press, 2006), a book that includes details of our joint research with Dr. Steven Greenberg et al. was published.

3.3 Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

We published the results of our joint studies [2006_11, 2006_21, 2006_25] with Prof. Peter Svensson and Prof. Dawn Behne, with whom I have enjoyed a long and close association. I also asked Prof. Svensson to assist me as a thesis committee member in the defense of the doctoral thesis of Nao Hodoshima. In the defence we communicated using a video-conferencing system.

3.4 Ishikawa National College of Technology

We are continuing to pursue joint research with Prof. Noboru Kanedera in the context of our VAD project (see 4.2). Some findings of the study are already published [2006_17, 2006_40, 2006_41].

3.5 Health Sciences University of Hokkaido

We published reports on joint studies [2006_32, 2006_43] conducted with Dr. Masahiko Komatsu, who has collaborated on research with Arai Lab. for more than five years.

4. Industry-University Cooperation

4.1 NTT Advanced Technology Co. (NTT-AT)

The VTM-10 vocal-tract model, which features technology supplied by Arai Lab., continues to receive widespread acclaim. As a result of steady demand for the models our stocks were running down, so we manufactured an additional 20 sets. I have heard that stocks are again running low now (as of 2007).

VTM-10 vocal-tract model website:

4.2 Fujiyama, Inc.

Since 2004 we have been conducting a joint research project with Fujiyama Inc. (president: Junko Yoshii). Arai Lab. members involved in the study include Kanae Amino, Yuki Fujikashi, Ayako Koga, Shimpei Kajima, Kyoko Matsuura, Pek Kimhuoch, Xiaofu Chen, and Takashi Hasegawa. In 2006 we again reported findings on the use of voice activity detection (VAD) for subtitling of digital video, detailing the results of experiments [2006_17, 2006_40, 2006_41] on automatic detection of portions of speech with low levels of background noise.

Fujiyama, Inc. website:

4.3 TOA Co.

We continue to carry out joint research work with TOA Corporation on preprocessing for improving the intelligibility of speech, that Arai Lab. has developed for public address systems. We are especially indebted to Kiyohiro Kurisu for his support in this work. Arai Lab. members engaged in this work include Nao Hodoshima, Nahoko Hayashi, Yusuke Miyauchi, Yoshiaki Murakami, Yuki Nakata, Tadashi Kubo, and Wataru Yoshida. During 2006 we conducted extramural research at full-scale. Some of the results of this work have been published [2006_23, 2006_26, 2006_38].

TOA Corporation website:

4.4 Texas Instruments Japan Ltd.

Sophia University has been receiving support from Texas Instruments since the start of the University Program. The company has long allowed us to use its DSK (DSP Starter’s Kit) in the “Electrical Engineering Experiments IV” of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering. After TIJ provided us with their latest DSK, in the summer of 2005, we were able to update our experiments. This is the second year that we have conducted the updated experiments. Kensuke Ohta of Arai Lab. delivered a presentation at the DSPS Educators Conference [2006_44].

Texas Instruments Japan Ltd. website:

4.5 Shima-ken Japan Inc.

Arai Lab. received an R&D grant from the Small and Medium-sized Business (SMB) Support Center of the Kita-Kyushu Industry-Science Promotion Institute, under a scheme designed to promote collaboration between SMBs and industry, academia, and government. The grant was used to fund a joint study titled, “Survey on the Commercialization of Articulation Recognition, Speaking Support Devices and Articulation Assessment Devices.”

Shima-ken Japan Inc. website:

5. Funded Research Projects

5.1 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A, 16203041)

In 2006, the study titled “Development of a Support System for Communication Disorders and its Clinical Application” (a four-year project on the integration of humanities with science and technology), led by Prof. Tsutomu Sugawara (Department of Linguistics, Sophia University) and pursued jointly with Prof. Kyoko Iitaka, Prof. Mitsuko Shindo, and Dr. Sawako Hirai (Research Center for Speech and Hearing, Sophia University), and Dr. Akemi Iida (School of Media Science, Tokyo University of Technology), entered its third year. (Note that Prof. Shindo took over as project leader in 2006). As part of this project, the Arai Lab. has implemented a variety of studies on hearing-impaired and/or elderly people, under one of three key themes: “Development of Amplification Processing for Easy-to-comprehend Speech in Reverberant Environments and Speech Processing of Hearing aids for the Hearing-impaired and Elderly people, and their Application to Practical Situations” [2006_01, 2006_02, 2006_03, 2006_04, 2006_05, 2006_06, 2006_09, 2006_10, 2006_11, 2006_12, 2006_19, 2006_20, 2006_22, 2006_23, 2006_25, 2006_26, 2006_27, 2006_28, 2006_29, 2006_30, 2006_31, 2006_33, 2006_36, 2006_37, 2006_38, 2006_39, 2006_44]. In addition, on another theme “Development of a Communication Support System for Communication Disorders and its Clinical Application,” Shimpei Kajima from Arai Lab. worked together with Dr. Iida to construct an English-language speech synthesis system for Japanese speakers, using voice conversion technique [2006_12, 2006_29, 2006_39].

5.2 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B, 14310132)

The joint study, “Diagnosis of Children with Difficulties in Written Language Learning and Fundamental and Clinical Studies on Guidance Program Development,” led by Prof. Kyoko Iitaka, with Prof. Tsutomu Sugawara and Prof. Jun’ichi Kasajima (Department of Linguistics), was completed in 2006.

5.3 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B, 17390543)

In 2006 I was given the opportunity to start participating with other researchers in a joint study titled, “Development of Velopharyngeal Closure Diagnosis and Treatment Support System Based on a 4D Vocal Tract Model,” led by Dr. Ryuta Kataoka of Showa University’s School of Dentistry. Some of the results [2006_35] are already published.

5.4 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C, 15530629)

The project “Analysis of the Phonological Processing Ability of Children with Developmental Phonological Disorders and Development of Remedial Language Learning Programs,” carried out jointly with Prof. Kyoko Iitaka and led by Ms. Sawako Hirai, was also completed in 2006. Some findings from the study [2006_34] have already been published.

5.5 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C, 18530762)

A new three-year study, “Study on Clarifying the Phonological Processing Characteristics of Children with Developmental Phonological Disorders, Development of Remedial Teaching, and Practical Applications,” was commenced in 2006, led by Dr. Sawako Hirai of the Department of Linguistics.

5.6 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C, 17500603)

A two-year research project led by myself, “Development and Improvement of Vocal-Tract Models to Simulate Human Speech Production Mechanisms for Educational Tools in Speech Science,” was coming to an end in 2007. (See Sections 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 and 2). A number of reports on the study have been published [2006_02, 2006_05, 2006_06, 2006_13, 2006_15].

5.7 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C, 19500758)

A two-year research project led by myself, “Use of Vocal-Tract Models for Education in Acoustics to Intuitively Learn Human Speech Production Mechanisms,” is set to start in 2007.

5.8 Open Research Center Project

In 2005, I joined a project working on a study titled, “Information Modeling of System Design Processes and Their Sharing and Reuse.” The project, which was led by Prof. Kiyoshi Itoh (Department of Mechanical Engineering), ran from 2002 to 2007. Some findings of the study have been published [2006_17].

5.9 Intramural Joint Research

The intramural joint study, “Investigation of Language Development Characteristics of Children with Developmental Phonological Disorders, Development of Early Diagnosis Programs, and Application to Therapy,” led by Dr. Sawako Hirai of the Department of Linguistics, was launched in 2003. The project was completed in 2006.

5.10 Moritani Scholarship

This research grant was awarded for a two-year period beginning in 2005. Thus, the grant ended in 2007, after two years. (See 1.2 and 1.6.2).

5.11 The Sound Technology Promotion Foundation

We created a report in 2006 for the research grant awarded in 2005. The report can be viewed at the following URL:

An article, published in the foundation’s magazine “Sound”:

6. Integration of Humanities with Science and Technology at Sophia University

6.1 Department of Linguistics

In January 2006, I served as a thesis committee member in the defense of a doctoral thesis by Michiko Toyama, a graduate of the Phonetics Laboratory now involved in the university’s TESOL course. (The title of the thesis is “Syllabic Markedness: Phonetic and Phonological Studies of Japanese Syllables in the Second Language Acquisition”). Kanae Amino who was at the Graduate School of Linguistics up to March 2006 began studying at Arai Lab. in April 2006.

Joint research was carried out with Prof. Kyoto Iitaka, Prof. Mitsuko Shindo, Dr. Sawako Hirai and members of the Research Center for Speech and Hearing. I served as a thesis committee member for two master’s theses in 2006. Prof. Shindo and Dr. Hirai served as thesis committee members for three master’s theses in Arai Lab.

6.2 Cognitive Psychology Lab., Department of Psychology

We conducted joint research with Prof. Chikasi Michimata and members of the Cognitive Psychology Laboratory.

7. Contributions to Society, Books, etc.

7.1 Science Workshop at the National Science Museum

See 1.6.2 above.

7.2 Books

7.2.1 Translation of “Acoustic Analysis of Speech

A second print run of the fifth edition was produced on July 5, 2006.

8. Arai Lab. News

8.1 Journal Paper

A research paper by Hodoshima et al., posted to The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America was finally published [2006_01].

8.2 Collaborative Researchers of the Faculty of Science and Technology

Following on from the previous year, in 2006 too, the Faculty of Science and Technology invited three researchers to participate in joint studies: Junko Yoshii (Fujiyama Inc.), Kiyohiro Kurisu (TOA Co.), and Kei Kobayashi.

8.3 JSPS Research Fellow

Nao Hodojima and Kanae Amino of Arai Lab. were Research Fellows of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (DC2) in 2006.

9. Titles of Theses

9.1 Master’s Theses

Nahoko Hayashi
Influence of Deutlichkeit Value and Reverberation Time on Improved Speech Intelligibility in Reverberant Environments Because of Steady-State Suppression

Yuki Fujikashi
Automatic Speech Activity Detection and its Application for Audio-Based Captioning System

Yusuke Miyauchi
Energy Suppression of Steady-State Portions of Vowels while Maintaining the Energy of Consonants Better Improves Speech Intelligibility for Elderly Listeners under Reverberation

Yosuke Yamashita
Investigation of the Movement in Velopharyngeal Closure using MRI:
Examination of the Relationship between the Patterns of the Velopharyngeal Closure and the Movement of the Tongue

Junji Iwasaki
Investigation of the Movement in Velopharyngeal Closure by using MRI:
Examination of the Relationship between the Patterns of the Velopharyngeal Closure and the Movement of the Interoral Muscle