Reconstruction of vocal tract geometries from biomechanical simulations

Saeed Dabbaghchian, Marc Arnela, Olov Engwall, Oriol Guasch

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Medical imaging techniques are usually utilized to acquire the vocal tract geometry in 3D, which may then be used, eg, for acoustic/fluid simulation. As an alternative, such a geometry may also be acquired from a biomechanical simulation, which allows to alter the anatomy and/or articulation to study a variety of configurations. In a biomechanical model, each physical structure is described by its geometry and its properties (such as mass, stiffness, and muscles). In such a model, the vocal tract itself does not have an explicit representation, since it is a cavity rather than a physical structure. Instead, its geometry is defined implicitly by all the structures surrounding the cavity, and such an implicit representation may not be suitable for visualization or for acoustic/fluid simulation. In this work, we propose a method to reconstruct the vocal tract geometry at each time step during the biomechanical simulation. Complexity of the problem, which arises from model alignment artifacts, is addressed by the proposed method. In addition to the main cavity, other small cavities, including the piriform fossa, the sublingual cavity, and the interdental space, can be reconstructed. These cavities may appear or disappear by the position of the larynx, the mandible, and the tongue. To illustrate our method, various static and temporal geometries of the vocal tract are reconstructed and visualized. As a proof of concept, the reconstructed geometries of three cardinal vowels are further used in an acoustic simulation, and the corresponding transfer functions are derived.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3159
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • acoustic model
  • biomechanical model
  • speech production
  • vocal tract geometry

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