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Phonetics Laboratory
Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics

Brain and vocal tract imaging links

A. Brain images

First, two movie loops created by Louis Collins, Neuroimaging Laboratory, McGill University. You can visit their site at http://www.bic.mni.mcgill.ca/ for further details.

1) A brain (600K MPEG movie) A surface-rendered tour of the major lobes of the brain. Red: frontal, green: parietal, blue: temporal, yellow: occipital.

2) Another brain (81K MPEG movie) 3-D structural MRI, with PET activation map superimposed. Red shading shows the increase in blood flow associated with viewing black-and-white line drawings of animals, with respect to a baseline task of viewing a white cross on a black background.

And another brain (70K GIF picture) This midsagittal section of the entire head shows brain and vocal tract quite nicely. Courtesy of David MacManus, Institute of Neurology, London.

B. Vocal tract images

A vocal tract (568K QuickTime movie) A short cineradiographic movie segment grabbed from a laserdisk archive produced by Kevin Munhall (Queen's University, Canada), Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson and Yoh'ichi Tohkura (ATR Human Information Processing Research Labs, Japan). Note that the resolution and frame rate of this QuickTime movie is not as good as the quality of the movies on Munhall et al's laserdisk.

MRI images of the vocal tract during the production of fricatives, from the UCLA Speech Processing and Perception Laboratory. /s/,/S/,/T/,/f/. Maureen Stone's Vocal Tract Visualization Lab has some great images and interesting research.

There is an interesting presentation of vocal tract imaging on the website of the Division of Physiologic Imaging, Dept. of Radiology, Univ. of Iowa. Here is an mpg movie showing the static configuration of the American English vowel /a/.

Arne Kjell Foldvik and colleagues at the Univesrity of Trondheim have modelled the time-evolving shape of the vocal tract during the production of the diphthong /ai/. Click here to go to the website where that study is described, or click here to download a copy of their QuickTime movie (8.7 Mb). (Warning: this plays OK on my PC using the latest version of the free QuickTime player from Apple, but my SGI doesn't recognise it as a QuickTime movie, for some strange reason.)

A similar approach to imaging vocal tract dynamics (i.e. by composing an animation out of images acquired during many repetitions of an utterance) is under investigation by a group at Southampton University, including Christine Shadle and Mohammad Mohammad. Click here for details.

An approach that I find particularly interesting, using Turbo FLASH imaging to obtain real movies, rather than reconstructions or animations, is presented at the Laboratoire de Phonologie, Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

A stroboscopic laryngoscopy movie clip of the vibrating vocal cords during phonation of a sustained vowel (934K QuickTime movie), downloaded from The Voice Centre at Eastern Virginia Medical School.