Research Goals.The project is to explore the control of human orofacial movements, focusing on the jaw. The aim is to understand the ways in which neural signals interact with orofacial biomechanics to determine movement outcomes in speech. A common procedure is used throughout. The investigators use a servo-controlled robotic manipulator to deliver precise mechanical perturbations to the jaw. The research documents the jaw’s biomechanical properties and the relationship between jaw stiffness in static and kinematic variability during vowel production. It characterizes jaw stiffness during movement and assesses the comolexity of the information that the nervous system encodes concerning the biomechanical periphery and external loads in orofacial motion planning.
Current Status. Funding began on April 1, 2002 for five years. A renewal application was funded beginning 5/15/07. Total costs for the first year are $518,440.
[This project is supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH Grant DC-04669).]