Reading lipsRecently I posted about the pros and cons of machine translation versus human translation.

It seems computers are also helping people to communicate in other ways – a new study shows they may be more effective at lip reading than humans.

Researchers compared the accuracy of an automated lip-reading machine to that of 19 people who had lip-reading training. The study found that the automated system recognized 80 percent of words, compared to 32 percent for human lip readers.

The machines were also able to read lips on simplistic representations of facial shape, whereas human lip-readers required a video of actual people speaking.

“This pilot study is the first time an automated lip-reading system has been benchmarked against human lip-readers, and the results are perhaps surprising,” said study author Sarah Hilder. (Source: US News)

This could be of major benefit to lip reading learners, and lead to new and improved methods of learning. A difficult to learn skill, lip reading will become more essential as people live longer. Any skill that helps people communicate is valuable – can you lip read?