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STAR NIH AwardDr. Karen Payton and her colleagues at Speech Technology and Applied Research (STAR) have just received a Phase 2 SBIR award from NIH. The three-year grant will support their efforts to develop DMX,a product to enhance communication in difficult listening environments. In such environments, speech is usually mixed with noise and distorted by reflections, and often masked by interfering signals. DMX uses innovative signal processing techniques to disentangle the “babble” of competing signal mixtures into separate well-defined channels, each of which represents a single isolated signal source in the environment.

Karen Payton earned her BS degree in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering (dual major) from Carnegie Mellon University in 1977. She then worked for Contraves Goerz Corporation in Pittsburgh for two years as a project engineer in their medical products group. She returned to school to earn her MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Prior to joining Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth) in 1989, she completed a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT. Her research interests are in the area of speech intelligibility and processing, particularly for hearing-impaired listeners. She has published several papers, primarily in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.


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