History
of the
Artificial Language Laboratory

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The Artificial Language Laboratory was founded in 1972 in the Computer Science Department of Michigan State University by Morteza Amir Rahimi, Assistant Professor, and Harry Hedges, Chairperson.

Dr. Rahimi became the first director of the Lab. John Eulenberg, then Visiting Assistant Professor in Linguistics, became a research associate and, in 1974, co-director with Professor Rahimi.

In 1980, Dr. Eulenberg became sole director when Dr. Rahimi left MSU to become Chair of Computer Science at Wayne State University. In 1983, Dr. Eulenberg's major department was changed to Audiology and Speech Sciences (ASC) in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS), and the Lab has been under the aegis of ASC/CAS ever since. Stephen Blosser, Mechanical/Rehabilitation Engineer, joined the Lab in 1978 as Technical Director.

Some Artificial Language Laboratory Historical Points


1974 - First practical use of a speech prosthesis -- to order a pizza!

1977 - First speech using a Voice Output Communication Aid (VOCA)

1978 - First speech given with a wheelchair-portable VOCA

1978 - First issue of Communication Outlook magazine

1979 - First use of a VOCA before a legislature in session

1982 - First testimony before a US Congressional Committee using a VOCA

1983 - Artificial Language Lab hosts conference founding International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC)

1984 - First familial voice VOCA

1985 - First computer-assisted bar mitzvah for nonspeaking youth (Pittsburgh, PA)

1986 - First unlimited vocabulary Chinese voice synthesizer

1987 - First computer-assisted bar mitzvah in Israel (Holon)

1992 - Multilingual (English, Russian, and Hebrew) foot-controlled VOCA

1995 - Braille based VOCA with chordic keyboard control



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