Melville, New York, May 27, 2002
Intelligent computer accompaniment of human music, improved kidney-stone treatment, and other new breakthroughs and discoveries in the science of sound will be presented during a press luncheon at next week's Acoustical Society of America (ASA) meeting in Pittsburgh.
The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, June 4 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Forbes Room of the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel and Towers at the Gateway Center, 600 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222, 412-391-4600. The speakers and topics are listed below. The entire acoustics meeting takes place from June 3-7, 2002. Reporters who wish to attend the luncheon, the meeting, or both, should fill out the reply form at the end of this release or contact Ben Stein (301-209-3091, email@example.com).
Even if you can't make it to Pittsburgh, the ASA Press Room (http://www.acoustics.org/press) will enable you to write meeting stories from your desk. Containing numerous lay-language papers on some of the most exciting new meeting results, the website also includes the general press release for the meeting, and a searchable database of all meeting abstracts.
The following text describes the press luncheon topics, and some examples of lay language papers that are already available online.
Presenter: Christopher Raphael, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 413-545-2762, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Raphael of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will demonstrate a project called "Music Plus One," a computer system that accompanies a soloist through a piece despite musical variations and occasional errors. Raphael will discuss the problem of tracking a soloist's progress through a musical score. As with a human accompanist, the computer detects the sound generated by both lead and accompanying parts and must be able to separate these sources. Raphael will discuss an approach to the problem, analogous to techniques used in speech recognition, that can automatically learn from real data and improve its performance on future data. Raphael will provide a live demonstration of his system on Robert Schumann's 1st Romance for Oboe and Piano. (Meeting Paper 2aMU5) Lay language paper at http://www.acoustics.org/pressroom/httpdocs/143rd/Raphael.html
Presenter: Brent Edwards, Sound ID, Palo Alto, CA, 650-384-3007, email@example.com
Sixteen percent of the United States population is hearing impaired, a percentage that is expected to increase as baby boomers enter the age range at which increased hearing loss tends to occur. But help is here. Discussing what he calls a "technological revolution in hearing aids" over the past six years, Brent Edwards will describe some of the advanced features that are now available on many high-end hearing aids. These include: (1) noise reduction that minimizes background noise such as traffic sounds while preserving speech-like signals; (2) directional processing, in which sound from in front of the wearer is amplified while sound from other directions is made quieter; (3) automatic environment recognition, which identifies the user's surroundings and "intelligently" activates certain features, such as noise reduction or directionality; (4) feedback suppression, similar to that used in telephone systems to reduce a form of feedback known as "whistling." Edwards will describe efforts by his company to put hearing aid technology into consumer electronics such as cell phones so that hearing loss is compensated without a hearing aid. (Meeting Paper 2aPPa1) Lay language paper at http://www.acoustics.org/pressroom/httpdocs/143rd/Edwards.html
Presenter: Laurie Heller, Brown University, 401-863-1109, firstname.lastname@example.org
In research that's relevant to this summer's movies--and our understanding of how humans process auditory information--new experiments demonstrate that people sometimes perceive an artificial version of a sound to be more convincing than the actual, real-life sound it's meant to imitate. For movies, sound-effect technicians (called "Foley artists") often recreate a sound (such as footsteps in the snow) by recording a completely unrelated physical event (such as squeezing a box of cornstarch). In experimental studies of a group of listeners with headphones, Laurie Heller and Lauren Wolf of Brown University played twelve sound effects and the sounds of the real-life events they were meant to emulate. When the listeners were told of the intended sound (such as footsteps in the snow), but not whether it was the real or artificial version, the listeners sometimes judged the artificial sound effects to be more realistic than recordings of the actual event. Intriguingly, the acoustical characteristics of these artificial sounds often differ significantly from the real-life sounds they are meant to mimic. According to Heller and Wolf, these differences can provide illuminating information on which acoustical features are most important, and which are extraneous, for perceiving an intended sound (Meeting Paper 1pPP10). Lay language paper at http://www.acoustics.org/pressroom/httpdocs/143rd/Heller.html
Presenter: Pei Zhong, Duke University, 919-660-5336, email@example.com
In what researchers are saying is the first technical improvement since the introduction of shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) as a treatment for kidney stones, Dr. Pei Zhong, graduate student Yufeng Zhou (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Duke University, and colleagues are presenting work on a modified lithotripter shock wave (LSW) profile that reduces vascular tissue damage during the procedure. Renal vascular injury is a common side effect of SWL, which uses pulsed ultrasound to break up kidney stones, and is a risk especially for pediatric and elderly patients who have higher rates of chronic injury following SWL. In experimental studies, the Duke researchers found that rupture of the small blood vessels, the primary feature of vascular injury during SWL, is caused by the rapid expansion of intraluminal bubbles induced by the LSW. The researchers found that modifying the shock wave to suppress large bubble expansion allowed them to break up the kidney stone with reduced vascular damage (Meeting Paper 5aBBa2).
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