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Jan. 24, 2023

MSU researchers to help revolutionize AI interaction for disfluent speakers

The continual enhancement of artificial intelligence and its overarching presence in various aspects of people’s day-to-day lives has impacted the way people communicate with each other through technology — but that communication is not always a seamless process.

J. Scott Yaruss and Caryn Herring of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders together with PI Nihar Mahapatra, from MSU's College of Engineering, Ann Marie Ryan from MSU's Department of Psychology, and Hope Gerlach-Houck, from Western Michigan Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences are investigating the experiences of people who stutter when it comes to interacting with automatic speech recognition systems and voice activated artificial intelligence systems.

With funding from the Convergence Accelerator Grant provided by the National Science Foundation, Yaruss, Herring and their team of colleagues with support from the nonprofit organization Friends: The National Association of Young People Who Stutter will be conducting research aimed at developing an AI system that can better understand stuttered speech. The Convergence Accelerator Grant aims to fuel collaboration amongst research teams by placing them within various cohorts that deal with similar concepts in order to help create long-lasting societal impact. Yaruss and Herring’s team are a part of Track H: Enhancing opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Securing this convergence accelerator award is a particularly exciting achievement because of the nature of the program,” said Yaruss. “The convergence accelerator is designed to help scientists create products to help end-users with real-world issues, and I am eager to go through the NSF’s curriculum to improve my own research and development skills.”

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By: Casey Halas