1. Academic Society Activities
1.1 Sato Prize Paper Award (Acoustical Science and Technology)
The following paper has received the Sato Prize Paper Award from Acoustical Science and Technology, the academic journal of the Acoustical Society of Japan:
T. Arai, “Education system in acoustics of speech production using physical models of the human vocal tract,” Acoustical Science and Technology, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 190-201, 2007.
We presented five papers from Arai Lab. at “INTERSPEECH,” an international conference on speech communication, held in Brisbane, Australia [2008_07, 2008_08, 2008_09, 2008_10, 2008_11]. (All papers we submitted were accepted.) Two papers were presented at the special sessions: one was presented at the special session on “Talking heads and pronunciation training” by Arai and the other was presented at the special session on “Consonant challenge: Human-machine comparisons of consonant recognition in quiet and noise” by Hodoshima. I also conducted a peer review as a member of the Scientific Review Committee.
INTERSPEECH 2010 will be held in Japan (Makuhari), and the preparation is in progress (I will serve as the chair of financial committee).
1.3 ASJ Beginners’ Seminar
I participated in the ASJ Summer Seminar, held in Hakuba, as a member of the executive committee and also as a lecturer. Starting from 2008, this summer seminar is treated as a part of “the ASJ Beginners’ Seminars.” With Prof. Shigeki Okawa (Chiba Institute of Technology), we gave a lecture on a basic introduction to speech. During the lecture, I also demonstrated vocal-tract models. I also organized a mini-activity, working together with participants to make a vocal-tract model using pipes and film canisters.
1.4 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.
1.4.1 Special Issue in the Journal of the ASJ on Education in Acoustics
I have edited a special issue titled “Attractive Education in Acoustics in the Modern Era,” published in Vol. 64, No. 1. As an editor and also as the chair of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics, I wrote a foreword to this special issue [2008_04]. In addition, I wrote two other review papers: education in acoustics for elementary and junior high school students [2008_05] and education of acoustics for speech-language-hearing pathologists [2008_06].
1.4.2 Special Issue in the Journal of the ASJ on Acoustic Barrier-Free
I edited a special issue titled, “Acoustic Barrier-Free Topics” (published in Vol. 65, No. 3) as the editor and as a member of the Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free.
1.4.3 “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,” started in the Journal of the ASJ 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:
1.5 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 2008, I continued in this role and worked on a variety of initiatives.
1.5.1 Meeting on Education in Acoustics
The Research Committee on Education in Acoustics organized two meetings in 2008. The first meeting was held at the Kobayashi Institute of Physical Research in June 2008, jointly organized with the Technical Committee on Noise and Vibration and Technical Committee on Architectural Acoustics. The second meeting was held at the Kunitachi College of Music in October 2008, jointly organized with the Technical Committee on Musical Acoustics. At this meeting, we also practiced piano tuning.
1.5.2 Cooperation with Museums
As the years 2006 and 2007, we organized a special event at the National Museum of Nature and Science in October 2008, under the title, “Science Workshop on Sound: Wonderful World of Sounds; Let’s Create Our Voice.” Twelve children, mainly elementary school students, participated in the workshop. This workshop was jointly held with the ASJ, and members of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics helped us run the workshop.
As the year 2007, the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics also participated in the “Science Square” by exhibiting a booth titled “Let’s get to know sound and vibration” in August 2008. The contents of the exhibition were almost the same as the one in 2007, so please see Newsletter 2007 for details.
1.5.3 Special Issue in Journal of the ASJ
As mentioned above, a special issue on Education in Acoustics was published on Vol. 64, No. 1 in collaboration with the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics (see Section 1.4.1).
1.5.4 Series on “Exhibits and Demonstrations on Acoustics in Science Museums” in the Journal of the ASJ
As mentioned above, the series are undertaken on the initiative of the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics (see Section 1.4.3). In 2008, I wrote an article on “Hamamatsu Science Museum” [2008_35].
1.5.5 2008 ASJ Spring Meeting
The committee organized a special session on Education in Acoustics and a special demonstration session at the meeting held at the Chiba Institute of Technology. The special session, which was titled “Attractive Education in Acoustics in the Modern Era,” had three invited speakers in addition to nine other speakers (I served as the chair). The special demonstration session had twelve demonstrationscorresponding to twelve lectures in the special session above. I also gave a presentation (see [2008_27] for the contents).
1.5.6 2008 ASJ Fall Meeting
The special session titled “The role of acoustics for people with visual/hearing difficulties” was organized at the meeting held at the Kyushu University. This special session was organized by the three committees: Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free, Technical Committee on Psychological and Physiological Acoustics, and Research Committee on Education in Acoustics. There were three invited speakers in addition to eight other speakers (I served as the chair). I also gave a presentation (see [2008_34] for the contents).
From this meeting, it was decided that the regular session on Education in Acoustics would be incorporated into the main program. This meeting also had nine presentations, so we were able to get off to a good start (I served as the first chair).
1.6 ASJ’s Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free
In 2006, this new research committee was formed, and since then, I have been serving on the committee as a representative of speech-related fields.
1.6.1 2008 ASJ Fall Meeting
As previously mentioned, at the 2008 ASJ Fall Meeting, a special session on “The role of acoustics for people with visual/hearing difficulties” was held (see section 1.5.6).
1.6.2 Special Issue in the Journal of the ASJ
As I described above, a special issue on Acoustic Barrier-Free has been organized in collaboration with the Research Committee on Acoustic Barrier-Free (see Section 1.4.6).
1.7 ASJ International Public Relations Committee
I continue to serve on this committee, as I have done since 2005.
1.8 Phonetic Society of Japan (PSJ)
I continue to serve the PSJ as a councilor and member of the Planning Committee. In addition, since 2007, I have been serving as the Co-Chair of the Public Relations Committee. In June 2008, a mini symposium on “Speech Study and Education/Clinic for Speech and Hearing Pathologists” was co-organized by the three groups: Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, Phonetic Society of Japan, and the ASJ Technical Committee on Psychological and Physiological Acoustics. I gave a lecture as a symposiast on “Education in Acoustics for Speech and Hearing Pathologists.”
1.9 The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers, Japan (IEICE)
As for a technical group on developmental disorders, I have promoted the constitution of the Type-2 Technical Group of “Assistance for Developmental Disorder (ADD)” in the IEICE.
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 educationin acoustics was published in 2007, as a part of the special issue on applied systems at the Acoustical Science & Technology [2007_01]. In 2008, this paper has received the Sato Prize Paper Award of the ASJ.
2.2 Continuously evolving vocal-tract models
As mentioned above, we organized handicraft workshops of the sliding vocal-tract model at the ASJ Beginners’ Seminar (Section 1.3) and the science workshop at the National Museum of Nature and Science (Section 1.5.2). Every year, the procedure of the workshops has been improved, and it became quite easy this year. Please see [2008_11, 2008_33] for details. In addition to a vocal-tract model with the flexible-tongue made from a gel-type material [2008_03, 2008_23], we tried to implement a vocal-tract model with the flexible-velum made from the same gel-type material [2008_22]. As mentioned below, we also created a female set of the vocal-tract models alongside the male set for the special exhibition at the SONY ExploraScience (see Section 2.3).
2.3 SONY ExploraScience
From September 27 through November 30, in 2008, a special exhibition “What’s Voice?” was held at the SONY ExploraScience for approximately two months, and I was involved in supervising the exhibition. In this special exhibition, we aimed to teach visitors the mechanisms of voice and so designed it to consist of the exhibition corners “Variety of Voices,” “Mechanism of Voice,” “Visualizing our Voices,” and “Listening to / Recording the Voices.” The “Variety of Voices” corner included the interviews of singers and a voice actress, who use their voices as a part of their jobs, on his/her own voice (Tatsuya Ishii, Shoko Nakagawa, and Haruka Tomatsu contributed the section called “Artist Talk”). The “Mechanism of Voice” corner explained the mechanisms of voice by using the vocal-tract models. The “Visualizing our Voices” corner showed a spectral analysis of voice and “the Voiceprint Puzzle.” Finally, the “Listening to / Recording the Voices” corner exhibited bone-conducted headphones, a linear PCM recorder, etc. I mainly supervised “Mechanism of Voice” and “Visualizing our Voices.” As mentioned above, we created a female set of the vocal-tract models alongside the male set at the corner of “Mechanism of Voice.” We also provided sound sources for male and female speakers. For “the Voiceprint Puzzle,” on the other hand, we applied the technique of the digital pattern playback developed by Arai Lab.; we implemented a hands-on exhibition where visitors could synthesize an arbitrary utterance by combining segments of a spectrogram corresponding to 101 Japanese mora.
2.4 Appearance of the vocal-tract models on NHK television programs
2.4.1 NHK BS Hi-Vision “Einstein’s Eyes”
A program, the theme of which was singing, tried to explain the mechanisms of voice, and I cooperated in shooting the vocal-tract models.
2.5 Vocal-Tract Model Demonstrations
During 2008 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.
- Yokohama Kyoritsu Doremus School (Senior High School)
I lectured with a hands-on demonstration. The scene of my lecture was also introduced on the website of the Yokohama Kyoritsu Doremus School.
- Tokyo Metropolitan High School of Science and Technology
As a part of the university workshop of the Super Science High School, students visited Sophia University. In the Arai Lab., we briefly explained speech research and demonstrated vocal-tract models.
- National Museum of Nature and Science
I lectured on “Science Workshop on Sound” with demonstration and handicraft of vocal-tractmodels.
- ASJ Meetings
At the ASJ Spring Meeting, special and demonstration sessions on Education in Acoustics were organized, and I presented a paper on vocal-tract models with demonstrations (see Section 1.5.5). At the ASJ Fall Meeting, I presented two papers on vocal-tract models with demonstrations: one in the special session on Acoustic Barrier-Free, and the other in the first regular session on Education in Acoustics (see Section 1.5.6).
- All Sophian’s Festival (Sophia University)
As a part of a celebration of the reorganization of the Faculty of Science and Technology, the exhibition / demonstration booth “Science is Fun!” was organized, and I demonstrated vocal-tract models.
- Sophia University Open Campus
As a part of open laboratories, we demonstrated vocal-tract models.
As the year 2007, we exhibited vocal-tract models and some other stuff.
2.6 Textbook for Elementary School Students
A photograph of the lung model we built has again been featured in the teaching materials of the SAPIX preparatory school since 2005.
3. International and Domestic Collaborations
3.1 Prof. Matias Budhiantho
Prof. Matias Budhiantho of The Satya Wacana Christian University (Indonesia) visited Arai Lab. as a visiting associate professor through “Sophia Lecturing – Research Grants” from the Science and Technology Exchange Committee (STEC).
3.2 Health Sciences University of Hokkaido
As mentioned above, in June 2008, a mini symposium on “Speech Study and Education/Clinic for Speech and Hearing Pathologists” was co-organized by the three groups: Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, Phonetic Society of Japan, and the ASJ Technical Committee on Psychological and Physiological Acoustics, and I gave a lecture as a symposiast on “Education in Acoustics for Speech and Hearing Pathologists.” Prof. Masahiko Komatsu, the then Associate Professor of the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, who has collaborated on research with Arai Lab. for more than five years, hosted me.
3.3 Musashi Institute of Technology
Prof. Kunio Yoshino and I are writing a new book together.
3.4 National Center Hospital of Neurology and Psychiatry
A new collaboration has started with a speech pathologist, Mayumi Hirozane.
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., was withdrawn from the market in March, 2008.
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 Ayako Koga, Shimpei Kajima, Kyoko Matsuura, Pek Kimhuoch, Takashi Hasegawa, Ken Kamijo, and Sayaka Kano.
Fujiyama, Inc. website:
The introduction video of the Preah Norodom Sihanouk Museum, that Arai Lab. made as a part of the joint research projects with Fujiyama and was possible with the backup of Prof. Yoshiaki Ishizawa, the President of Sophia University, has been released through the website of the Sophia University Angkor International Mission. This video has multi-lingual captions (Japanese, English, and Khmer) and anyone can watch it with the captions on the Internet with the PC subtitle audiovisual viewer, MABL by Fujiyama.
Sophia University Angkor International Mission website:
MABL PC subtitle audiovisual viewer:
4.3 TOA Co.
We continue to carry out a joint research project with the 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, Yoshiaki Murakami, Yuki Nakata, Tadashi Kubo, Wataru Yoshida, Ayako Chiba, Yohei Matsukaze, and Misaki Tsuji. Some of the results achieved in 2008 have been published [2008_14, 2008_25, 2008_26, 2008_29, 2008_31].
The TOA Corporation website:
5. Funded Research Projects
5.1 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A, 16203041)
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) ended in March, 2008. It was led by Prof. Tsutomu Sugawara (Department of Linguistics, Sophia University) and Prof. Mitsuko Shindo (since 2006), and pursued jointly with Prof. Kyoko Iitaka and Dr. Sawako Hirai (Research Center for Speech and Hearing, Sophia University), and Dr. Akemi Iida (School of Media Science, Tokyo University of Technology). The achievements of this project in 2008 have been published [2008_01, 2008_02, 2008_03, 2008_05, 2008_06, 2008_20, 2008_23, 2008_25, 2008_26, 2008_27].
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. In the academic year of 2008, this study finished. The achievements of this project in 2008 have been published [2008_22, 2008_34].
5.3 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C, 18530762)
In 2008, the joint study titled, “Study on Clarifying the Phonological Processing Characteristics of Children with Developmental Phonological Disorders, Development of Remedial Teaching, and Practical Applications” (a three-year project) led by Dr. Sawako Hirai of the Department of Linguistics, entered its last year.
5.4 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,” started in 2007 and finished in the academic year of 2008 (see Sections 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 2). Some of the results achieved in 2008 have been published [2008_03, 2008_05, 2008_06, 2008_10, 2008_11, 2008_22, 2008_23, 2008_27, 2008_33, 2008_34].
5.5 Open Research Center Project
The “Human Information Science Research Project” led by Prof. Mamoru Tanaka (Dept. of Information and Communication Sciences), started in 2007 and entered its second year in 2008. 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 a member. Some of the results have been published [2008_07, 2008_08, 2008_09, 2008_12, 2008_13, 2008_14, 2008_18, 2008_21, 2008_24, 2008_28, 2008_29, 2008_30, 2008_31, 2008_32].
This ORC project ran seven workshops in 2008 as follows:
[1st ORC Workshop]
Speaker: Hansjoerg Mixdorff (Berlin University of Applied Sciences)
Title: Auditory-visual Perception of Tone and Lombard Speech
[2nd ORC Workshop]
Speaker: John J. Ohala (Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley)
Title: Speech Aerodynamics: Sound Patterns involving Nasalization and Oralization
[3rd ORC Workshop]
Speaker: Maria Luisa Garcia Lecumberri (University of Basque Country, Spain)
Title: Native vs. Non-Native Listeners’ Perception in Noise
[4th ORC Workshop]
Speaker: Toshio Irino (Wakayama University)
Title: Contrast of the Brain Regions in Consonant/Syllable Processing by Native Speakers of Japanese and English: fMRI Experiment using CV/VC syllables
[5th ORC Workshop]
Speaker 1: Kyoko Iitaka (NPO “Mokuba-no Kai”)
Title: Spread from Spoken Language World to Written Language World
Speaker 2: Haruko Miyakoda (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology)
Title: Language Acquisition viewed from Phonology
34 speakers presented their posters for two hours.
[6th ORC Workshop]
Speaker: June S. Levitt (The University of Texas at Dallas, Doctoral Program)
Title: Effects of Visual Feedback on Non-Native Speech Acquisition: Training of Japanese /r/ Sounds by Native Speakers of American English
[7th ORC Workshop]
Speaker 1: Roy Patterson (University of Cambridge, UK)
Title: The Robustness of Speech Perception and Lessons for Speech Recognition Machines
Speaker 2: Karalyn Patterson (Medical Research Council, Cambridge, UK)
Title: The Organization of Language in the Brain: Does it Matter Which Language You Speak?
5.6 Other Research Fundings
5.6.1 Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation
Hodoshima received a research grant for the theme of “Towards ‘Barrier free society by speech’: Investigation of speech information that is easy to listen for elderly people in public spaces” (academic year of 2008).
5.6.2 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Hodoshima received a Travel Grant for Academic Meetings and presented at the INTERSPEECH (held from September 22 through 26, 2008).
5.6.3 NEC C&C Foundation
Hodoshima received a grant for Researchers Attending International Conferences and presented at the Acoustics ’08 Paris (held from June 29 through July 4, 2008).
5.6.4 Inoue Foundation for Science
Amino received a travel grant for researchers attending international research meetings and presented at the Acoustics ’08 Paris (held from June 29 through July 4, 2008).
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 5.5).
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 [2008_01, 2008_02, 2008_15, 2008_19].
In January 2008, Dr. Sawako Hirai of the Research Center for Speech and Hearing defended her Ph.D. thesis, and I served as a thesis committee member (the thesis was on “Articulation Disorders and Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Morpheme of Treacher Collins Syndrome Patients with Cleft Palate”). In addition, I served as a thesis committee member for three master’s theses in the Linguistics program in 2008. Prof. Shindo served as a thesis committee member for two master’s theses in the Arai Lab.: those of Rie Kasuga and Kimi Tanaka.
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 5.5).
6.3 Sophia University Angkor International Mission
As mentioned above, the introduction video of the Preah Norodom Sihanouk Museum that Arai Lab. made and was possible thanks to the backup of Prof. Yoshiaki Ishizawa, the President of Sophia University, has been released through the website of the Sophia University Angkor International Mission (see Section 4.2).
7. Contributions to Society, Books, etc.
7.1 National Museum of Nature and Science
See Section 1.5.2 above.
7.2 SONY ExploraScience
See Section 2.3 above.
8. Arai Lab. News
8.1 Arai Lab. 10th Anniversary Party
Arai Lab. started in 1998, and in March 2008, we completed full 10 years. To celebrate this 10th anniversary, we had a party at the Square Kojimachi in February 2008. At the party, we invited not only the members and the alumni of the Arai Lab. but also alumni of the Yoshida Lab., from where I graduated, collaborators, etc., and so it was a big party. I would like to thank again the people who supported the laboratory in various ways and hope for their future support as well.
8.2 Journal Paper
As mentioned above, a journal paper by Arai published in the Acoustical Science & Technology [2007_01] has received the Sato Prize Paper Award of the ASJ in 2008 (see Section 1.1). And a journal paper by Kobayashi et al. has been published in the Journal of Acoustical Society of Japan [2008_01].
8.3 Defenses of doctoral theses
The doctoral thesis defense of Kei Kobayashi, who had completed the Ph.D. program in Arai Lab. without dissertation, was held in June 2008. Prof. Mitsuko Shindo (Research Center for Speech and Hearing) and Visiting Prof. Kenji Kurakata served as thesis committee members, and Kobayashi became the second student under my supervision to become a doctoral fellow.
Starting from April 2008, Nao Hodoshima became a post doctoral research fellow and Kanae Amino, Keiichi Yasu and Hinako Masuda became research assistants of Sophia University. (Masuda joined Arai Lab. in April 2008, after finishing her master’s program in Linguistics in March 2008.)
8.5 Japan Prize
After a selection, five students in Arai Lab (Kanae Amino, Keiich Yasu, Pek Kimhuoch, Kimi Tanaka, and Kyoko Matsuura) got the chance to attend the presentation ceremony of Japan Prize, which is awarded by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan (April, 2008).
8.6 Collaborative Researchers of the Faculty of Science and Technology
Following on from the previous year, in 2008 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.
8.7 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 betweenSophia University and AIST.
8.8 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.). This reading group is currently reading “Psychoacoustics” by Fastl & Zwicker.
9. Titles of Theses
9.1 Doctoral Thesis
An Experimental study of speech enhancement for speech intelligibility of elderly listeners by steady-state suppression
9.2 Master’s Theses
Creating speech for evaluating quantitative severity of hypernasality in cleft palate patients
Improving the intelligibility in binaural listening of speech with steady-state suppression in reverberation: A study on directions of sound source and listener
Automatic voice activity detection and its practical application for captioning systems: With detection method based on spectral transition and linear predictive coding
Voice activity detection by using modulation filtering and its multi-language comparison
Acoustic measurements of the vocal-tract models of fricative /s/ and nasalized vowel