Arai Lab. Newsletter 2007

1. Academic Society Activities

1.1 Best Paper Award (Journal of Signal Processing)

The following paper has received the Best Paper Award at the Journal of Signal Processing, the academic journal of the Research Institute of Signal Processing Japan:

Y. Konno, J. Cao, T. Takeda, H. Endo, T. Arai and M. Tanaka, “Evaluation of brain source separation for MEG data applying JADE, Fast-ICA and natural gradient-based algorithm with robust pre-whitening technique,” Journal of Signal Processing, Vol. 8, No. 6, pp. 461-472, 2004.

1.2 Best Paper Award (The Japan-China Conference on Acoustics)

The following paper at the Japan-China Conference on Acoustics (JCA) has received the Best Paper Award:

K. Amino and T. Arai, “Contribution of consonants and vowels to the perception of speaker identity,” In Proc. of the Japan-China Joint Conference of Acoustics, Sendai, 2007.

Best Paper Awards: Journal of Signal Processing (left) and JCA (right)

1.3 Interspeech

I conducted a peer review as a member of the Scientific Review Committee at “Interspeech,” an international conference on speech communication, held in Antwerp, Belgium. I was also one of the original lecturers for a tutorial session on “The Modulation Spectrum and Its Application to Speech Science and Technology”. However, as I was unable to attend the conference, I continued to support it through preparing the lecture content.

Interspeech 2010 will be held in Japan (Makuhari), and the preparation has started. I will serve as the chair of financial committee.

1.4 ICPhS

I conducted a peer review at “International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS),” held in Saarbrücken, Germany.

1.5 FIT

I gave a talk on students with hearing impairments at a special session, “Support for students with disorders in science departments at universities,” held at the Forum on Information Technology (FIT), which is jointly organized by the Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ) and the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE). Detailed reports were found in the conference paper [2007_17] and the following webpage of the IEICE WIT (Well-being Information Technology):

1.6 ASJ Summer Seminar

I participated in the ASJ Summer Seminar, held in Hakuba, as a member of the executive committee. In the lecture giving a basic introduction to speech by Prof. Shigeki Okawa (Chiba Institute of Technology), I gave a short talk on vocal-tract models. I also organized a mini-activity, working together with participants to make a vocal-tract model using pipes and film canisters.

1.7 ASJ Editorial Committee

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 2007, I was involved in the two special issues and a series of “Exhibits and Demonstrations on Acoustics in Science Museums.”

1.7.1 Special Issue in the Journal of the ASJ on Education in Acoustics

I have been editing a special issue titled, “Attractive Education in Acoustics in the Modern Era”(published on Vol. 64, No. 1), as an editor and also as the chair of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics.

1.7.2 Special Issue in the Journal of the ASJ on Acoustic Barrier-Free

It was decided that a special issue on Acoustic Barrier-Free will be published on Vol. 65, No. 3, and I will be the editor, who also serves as a member of the Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free.

1.7.3 “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,” 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, and I am serving as editor.

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

1.8 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 2007, I continued in this role and worked on a variety of initiatives.

1.8.1 Meeting on Education in Acoustics

The Research Committee on Education in Acoustics organized a meeting in July 2007, which was held at the Chiba Institute of Technology. The name of the meeting was “Meeting on Education in Acoustics,” and it was jointly organized with the Technical Committee on Musical Acoustics. I also presented my study [2007_20].

1.8.2 Cooperation with Museums

After the year 2006, we organized a special event at the National Science Museum in October 2007, under the title, “Science Workshop on Sound: Wonderful World of Sounds; Let’s Create Our Voice.” Thirteen children, mainly elementary school students, participated in the workshop. This 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 at the Meeting on Education in Acoustics held at the Chiba Institute of Technology[2007_20].

In July, 2007, the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics participated in the “Science Square” by exhibiting a booth titled “Let’s get to know sound and vibration.” For two days, several children and their parents visited our booth, and it was a great success. At the corner on resonance phenomena led by Prof. Fumiaki Sato (Chiba Institute of Technology) and Dr. Kanako Ueno (the University of Tokyo), visitors were able to experience many different resonance phenomena by watching and participating in the simple experiments. These experiments involved using musical instruments, tuning forks and a resonance pan, the Kundt’s experiment, and playing a glass harp. At the corner on making a toy rotating by vibration, “Girigiri Garigari” led by Prof. Kentaro Nakamura (Tokyo Institute of Technology), children made their own toy; they carved grooves that were closely aligned in a small pitch on a wooden square bar and then put a wooden plate at the tip of the bar, so that the plate rotates freely.

“Science Workshop on Sound” at National Science Museum
“Science Square” at National Science Museum

1.8.3 Special Issue in Journal of the ASJ

As I described above, a special issue on Education in Acoustics was organized with the collaboration of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics (see Section 1.7.1).

1.8.4 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 Section 1.7.3). In 2007, I wrote an article on “Vocal-tract Models” [2007_30].

1.8.5 2008 ASJ Spring Meeting

The committee has started to organize a special demonstration session on Education in Acoustics with members at the Chiba Institute of Technology, the venue of the meeting.

1.9 ASJ’s Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free

In 2006, this new research committee was formed, and since then, I have been serving as a member of the committee as a representative of speech-related fields.

1.9.1 2007 ASJ Spring Meeting

At the 2007 ASJ Spring Meeting, a special session on “Hearing aids and building an acoustic barrier-free society” was held.

1.9.2 ASJ Technical Committee Meeting on “Psychological and Physiological Acoustics”

This committee meeting was held in June, 2007 under the theme of “Acoustic Barrier-Free.” I presented a paper on speech-related field as a representative of that field [2007_19].

1.9.3 Special Issue in the Journal of the ASJ

As I described above, a special issue on Acoustic Barrier-Free has been organized with the collaboration of the Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free (see Section 1.7.2).

1.10 ASJ International Public Relations Committee

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

1.11 Phonetic Society of Japan (PSJ)

I continue to serve the PSJ as a councilor and member of the Planning Committee. In addition, starting from 2007, I am serving as the Co-Chair of the Public Relations Committee.

1.12 Architectural Institute of Japan

I served as an observer of the Working Group on Research in Speech Transmission.

2. Education in Acoustics and Vocal-Tract Models

2.1 Journal paper at the Acoustical Science & Technology

A journal paper that summarized the use of our models of the vocal tract for educationacoustics has published as a part of the special issue on applied systems at the Acoustical Science & Technology [2007_01]. (This paper has received the Sato Prize Paper Award of the ASJ in 2008.)

2.2 Continuously evolving vocal-tract models

At the 2007 ASJ Fall Meeting, a special session on “visualization of speech” was organized in the speech field. In that session, I presented a paper on “Visualization and auralization of speech in education in acoustics” [2007_27]. I also showed a vocal-tract model with a flexible tongue made of a gel-type material and received a great response.

2.3 Receiving a prize at the Gallery of Acoustics in the ASA Meeting

I submitted a video clip on my vocal-tract models to the Gallery of Acoustics at the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Spring Meeting held in Salt Lake City. This event, the Gallery of Acoustics, has been held for over 10 years under the sponsorship of the Technical Committee on Signal Processing, and researchers in acoustics express the natural beauty of acoustic phenomena and visualize them with images, videos, and sounds. I submitted a video clip entitled “Acoustic Demonstrations of Vowel Production Using Vocal-Tract Models,” and fortunately, I was the winner:

Gallery of Acoustics (From ASA “Echoes” Newsletter, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2007)

The prize-winning work is here:

2.4 Appearance of the vocal-tract models on NHK television programs

2.4.1 NHK Educational TV “Ongaku no Chikara”

This program is an experience-based TV program showing the possibilities of children’s ability to enjoy music and to express themselves through music. In this program series, “Feel good by singing your heart out!” was the theme of a day, and I used a model of the human lung and head to explain the mechanisms of voice as a lecturer of the quiz section.

2.4.2 NHK General TV “Kaitai Shin Show”

I was asked to show the effect of vocal-tract length on the output voice, and I gave advice on how to use a model of the vocal tract and let them use our sound source.

NHK Educational TV “Ongaku no Chikara”

2.5 Vocal-Tract Model Demonstrations

During 2007 we again conducted demonstrations of our vocal-tract models on various occasions:

  • ASJ Summer Seminar
    I organized a mini-activity, making a sliding vocal-tract model.
  • Multi-media Information Synousiacs,” Sophia University Lecture Series
    I gave a lecture with demonstrations.
  • Biological Science of Human,” Faculty of Science and Technology Lecture Series
    I gave a lecture with demonstrations.
  • Yokohama Kyoritsu Doremus School (Senior High School)
    I lectured with a hands-on demonstration.
  • The National Science Museum
    I lectured on “Science Workshop on Sound” with demonstration and handicraft of vocal-tractmodels.
  • ASJ Fall Meeting
    I presented a paper on vocal-tract models with demonstrations in the special session on “visualization of speech.”
  • Sophia University Open Campus

3. International and Domestic Collaborations

3.1 Silicon Speech

A letter of our joint research with Dr. Steven Greenberg was published [2007_02]. Dr. Greenberg also gave a talk at an ORC Workshop (see Section 5.6).

3.2 Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

We published the results of our joint study[2007_09] with Prof. Peter Svensson and Prof. Dawn Behne, with whom I have enjoyed a long and close association. As a thesis committee member, Prof. Svensson attended the defense of the doctoral thesis of Nao Hodoshima via a video-conference system.

3.3 University of Arizona

A letter of our joint research with Prof. Natasha Warner of the Department of Linguistics was published [2007_02].

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 Section 4.2). Some findings of the study have already been published [2007_26].

3.5 Musashi Institute of Technology

A Sophia Symposium entitled “Modern Mathematics and Its Application to Modern Technology,” of which Prof. Kunio Yoshino was one of the organizers, was held at Sophia University, and I gave a talk there (see [2007_32] for the contents). Prof. Yoshino and I are going to write a joint book on a topic presented at this symposium.

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. After 20 sets were additionally manufactured, they decided to stop selling the models at the end of fiscal year 2007.

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 Yuki Fujikashi, Ayako Koga, Shimpei Kajima, Kyoko Matsuura, Pek Kimhuoch, Xiaofu Chen, Takashi Hasegawa, and Ken Kamijo. Some of the results from 2007 on subtitling digital video have been published [2007_26].

Fujiyama, Inc. website:

4.3 TOA Co.

We continue to carry out a joint research project with TOA Corporation on the preprocessing developed by Arai Lab. to improve the intelligibility of speech for public address systems. We are especially indebted to Kiyohiro Kurisu for his support in this project. Arai Lab. members engaged in this project are Nao Hodoshima, Nahoko Hayashi, Yusuke Miyauchi, Yoshiaki Murakami, Yuki Nakata, Tadashi Kubo, Wataru Yoshida, and Ayako Chiba. Some of the results achieved in 2007 have been published [2007_052007_062007_122007_182007_28].

TOA Corporation website:

4.4 Shima-ken Japan Inc.

Since 2006, 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.” The project ended in March 2007.

Shima-ken Japan Inc. website:

5. Funded Research Projects

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

In 2007, 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 fourth year. (Note that Prof. Shindo took over as project leader in 2006). The achievements of this project in 2007 have been published [2007_012007_032007_052007_062007_082007_092007_102007_122007_182007_222007_232007_272007_282007_292007_32].

In addition, in September 2007, a symposium was organized because that year was the final academic year of this project. In this symposium, first Prof. Sugawara explained the keystone, and it was followed by the three parts: Part 1 “Development of a support system for hearing-impaired people,” Part 2 “Development of a support system for people with speech communication disorders,” and Part 3 “Development of a support system for language- and hearing-disordered children.” At the end, there was the panel discussion. Arai Lab. took charge of the Part 1, and after my introduction, Keiichi Yasu and Nao Hodoshima presented our works. Many people participated in this symposium, and it became a chance to reflect once again on the importance of these themes.

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

Since 2006, I have been participating in the joint study, “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.

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

In 2007, the joint study titled, “Study on Clarifying the Phonological Processing Characteristics of Children with Developmental Phonological Disorders, Development of Remedial Teaching, and Practical Applications,” led by Dr. Sawako Hirai of the Department of Linguistics, entered its second year.

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

A research project, “Development and Improvement of Vocal-Tract Models to Simulate Human Speech Production Mechanisms for Educational Tools in Speech Science,” led by myself since 2005, was completed in 2007. (See Sections 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 and 2). The achievements of this project in 2007 have been published [2007_012007_202007_272007_31].

5.5 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,” was started in 2007. (See Sections 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 and 2). Some of the results achieved in 2007 have been published [2007_202007_27].

5.6 Open Research Center Project

Since 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 and ended in March 2007.

On the other hand, the “Human Information Science Research Project” led by Prof. Mamoru Tanaka (Dept. of Electrical and Electronics Engineering), was started in 2007, and I am leading the project as the head of one of the three groups, “Human Communication Group.” The project of our group is running through a system of the integration of humanities with science and technology, and the members are also from Department of Linguistics and Department of Psychology (Cognitive Psychology Lab.); in addition, Prof. Mariko Kondo (Waseda University) is also our member. Some of the results have been published [2007_062007_192007_222007_252007_262007_272007_282007_29].

This new ORC project ran three workshops in 2007 as follows:
[1st ORC Workshop]
Speaker: Takayuki Arai (Sophia University)
Title: Speech-related topics and barrier-free life

[2nd ORC Workshop]
Speaker 1: Yukari Hirata (Colgate University)
Title: Effect of speaking rate on duration of geminate and non-geminate consonants

Speaker 2: Shuichi Itahashi (NII / AIST)
Title: Supply and use of speech resources

Speaker 3: Kimiko Yamakawa (NII)
Title: Classification and visualization of speech corpora

[3rd ORC Workshop]
Speaker: Steven Greenberg (Silicon Speech / Technical University of Denmark / University of California, Berkeley)
Title: Linguistic scene analysis and the importance of synergy

5.7 Moritani Scholarship

This research grant was awarded for a two-year period beginning in 2005. Thus, the grant ended in March, 2007.

6. Integration of Humanities with Science and Technology at Sophia University / Intramural Joint Research

6.1 Department of Linguistics

In the above-mentioned ORC project, the joint research has been started with Prof. Akira Ishikawa, Prof. Kensuke Yoshida, Prof. Shigeko Shinohara, and the faculty members in the Research Center for Speech and Hearing (see Section 5.6).

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. Some of the results achieved in 2007 have been published [2007_142007_152007_16]. I served as a thesis committee member for one master’s thesis in 2007. Prof. Shindo and Dr. Hirai served as thesis committee members for two master’s theses in the Arai Lab.: those of Shinji Minamihata and Shimpei Kajima, respectively.

6.2 Cognitive Psychology Lab., Department of Psychology

In the above-mentioned ORC project, the joint research has been started with Prof. Chikashi Michimata and members of the Cognitive Psychology Laboratory (see Section 5.6).

6.3 Sophia University Research Organization Festival

Sophia University is pursuing education and research in arts and science on the same campus. To build research organizations and produce achievements grounded in this research environment, the Research Organization Festival was held after the previous year. At this festival, I gave a lecture on “Information technology on speech communication and its contribution to the area of language disorders.”

7. Contributions to Society, Books, etc.

7.1 Science Workshop at the National Science Museum

See Section 2.4 above.

7.2 Books

7.2.1 Translation of “Introduction to Sound

A third print run of the second edition was produced on February 1, 2007.

8. Arai Lab. News

8.1 Journal Paper

As mentioned above, a journal paper by Arai has finally been published in the Acoustical Science & Technology [2007_01] (see 2.1). This paper has received the Sato Prize Paper Award of the ASJ in 2008.

8.2 Defenses of doctoral theses

The doctoral thesis defense of Nao Hodoshima (Arai Lab.) was held in January 2007. As mentioned above, Prof. Peter Svensson (NTNU) served as a thesis committee member (see Section 3.2), and Hodoshima was the first student under my supervision to become a doctoral fellow. She became a research associate from April 2007.

In addition, the doctoral thesis defenses of Yoshio Konno, who belonged to Arai Lab. between 2002-2004, and Basnet Kumar were held both in February, 2007, and I served as a thesis committee member.

8.3 Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar

Yuki Nakata of Arai Lab. was selected one of two representatives of Japan and was sent to Sweden by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan to attend the Nobel Festivities and the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar.

8.4 Collaborative Researchers of the Faculty of Science and Technology

Following on from the previous year, in 2007 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.

8.5 JSPS Research Fellow

Nao Hodoshima and Kanae Amino of Arai Lab. were Research Fellows of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (DC2) up until March 2007.

8.6 Visiting Professor

Since October 2007, Dr. Kenji Kurakata of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) became a visiting professor under the agreement on education and research cooperation between Sophia University and AIST.

8.7 Fastl Reading Group

Since 2007, we are organizing “Fastl Reading Group” every month; the core members are people from Rion Co., AIST, and Sophia University (especially, Arai Lab.). In this reading group, we are reading “Psychoacoustics” by Fastl & Zwicker.

9. Titles of Theses

9.1 Doctoral Thesis

Nao Hodoshima
Effects of listening environments, listeners and preprocessing parameters on steady-state suppression for improving speech intelligibility in reverberation

9.2 Master’s Theses

Shimpei Kajima
Development of a bilingual speech synthesis system for a Japanese ALS patient

Ayako Koga
Study on end-point detection of speech and timing of caption for video captioning system

Shinji Minamihata
Frequency decimation processing within every critical band for improving intelligibility of consonants of hearing-impaired people

Yoshiaki Murakami
Relation between speech intelligibility and signal to overlap-masking ratio in reverberant environments

Yuki Nakata
Improving intelligibility using preprocessing of speech in reverberant environments with different speaking rates: Effects on perception of monosyllables and sentences

Kei Takahashi
Evaluation of a simple method of steady-state detection of speech for the implementation on a DSP chip