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Next Generation of Hearing Aids Reads Lips Through Masks

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To develop the system, the researchers asked male and female volunteers to repeat the five vowel sounds (A, E, I, O, and U) first while unmasked, and then while wearing a surgical mask.

Credit: University of Glasgow (U.K.)

An international team led by researchers at the U.K.'s University of Glasgow developed a system that can read lips accurately even through face masks using radio-frequency (RF) sensing and artificial intelligence.

The researchers had volunteers repeat vowel sounds while masked and unmasked, with RF signals from a dedicated radar sensor and a Wi-Fi transmitter used to scan their faces while speaking and while still.

The resulting 3,600 samples of data were used to train machine learning and deep learning algorithms to recognize the lip and mouth movements related to each vowel sound.

Because RF signals can pass through masks, the machine learning and deep learning algorithms were able to learn to identify vowel formation by masked speakers.

From University of Glasgow (U.K.)
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