Whalen and Khalil Iskarous pioneer the pairing of ultrasound, which monitors articulators that cannot be seen, and Optotrak, an opto-electronic position-tracking device that monitors visible articulators, to record vocal tract activities less invasively than other technologies. The resulting images give a fairly complete picture of the vocal tract in action, opening the door to research on the links between production and perception that has hitherto been too cumbersome or costly.
David Ostry explores the neurological underpinnings of motor control by adapting a robot arm to influence jaw movement. The “Phantom” robot arm tracks the jaw—and applies forces to it—in three dimensions in real time, allowing examination of the control of the jaw during speech and other activities. The Mastering Reading Instruction program, a large-scale experimental project led by Brady and Margie Gillis, focuses on professional development in reading instruction for first grade teachers. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s new Institute of Education Science, the project applies thirty years of Haskins research on reading acquisition and reading difficulties to study ways to train teachers in effective methods of reading instruction.
Studdert-Kennedy and Goldstein propose a theory of the evolution of phonetic capacity. From children’s speech errors and patterns of phonological development, they argue that a neuroanatomically differentiated vocal tract coevolved with vocal imitation, a capacity unique among primates to humans.
David Braze and Shankweiler develop an eye movement laboratory for investigating reading processes in normal and disabled readers. Eye movement recordings are now being studied in coordination with brain activity measures.
In March of 2005, Haskins moves to new quarters with 23,000 square feet on the ninth floor of 300 George Street in New Haven, having outgrown the capacity of 270 Crown Street, where it resided for 35 years. The new facilities provide additional state-of-the art laboratories, including an Infant Lab. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for May 9, 2005, and a 70th anniversary symposium planned for the 2005-2006 academic year.