Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Multimodal Interface Research: A Science Without Borders

Sharon Oviatt

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Oregon Graduate Institute, Beaverton, OR, USA

Multimodal research represents "Science without Borders" because it requires combining expertise from different component technologies, academic disciplines, and cultural/international perspectives. It also is rapidly erasing borders as it promotes the increased accessibility of computing for diverse and non-specialist users, and for field and mobile usage environments. This paper reviews two studies that highlight recent advances within the field. It also draws parallels between the multimodal areas of speech/pen and speech/lip movement research. Finally, it indicates new research challenges that will require additional bold “border crossings” in the near future.

In the medical community, there is an international group called Physicians without Borders that many of you undoubtedly are familiar with (URL: http://www.dwb.org/). Physicians without Borders//Medecins sans Frontiers is an organization of volunteer medical personnel who respond to medical needs and emergencies around the world, and who frequently "cross borders" to get where they’re going. Personally, I have always viewed them as an inspiration, in part because I like the idea of crossing borders to get where you need to go. Maybe it’s just the intrigue or element of risk, but I’d like to entertain the possibility that there’s something more substantial about crossing borders that should appeal to us.

Apart from crossing national borders, which we all have just done to arrive here in Beijing for this new millennium meeting of ICSLP’2000, there also is the challenge of striving to cross intellectual borders when necessary to achieve rapid scientific progress. To most of us, the advantages of scientific crossfertilization and teamwork are abundantly clear, when accomplished with the right spirit. Multidisciplinary research that involves combining and shifting among very different perspectives can generate a fast-paced and creative style of research, as well as providing an antidote to intellectual insularity and parochialism. One might argue that the very existence of multimodal research, along with the advantages and opportunities that it represents, has been at least a small triumph of intellectual cross-fertilization.


Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Oviatt, Sharon (2000): "Multimodal interface research: a science without borders", In ICSLP-2000, vol.3, 1-6.