Cognitive technology refers to technology that utilizes knowledge of the neurocognitive functions in constructing, applying and evaluating information technology. The computational capacity of computers is increasing at an accelerating speed. It will probably exceed that of the human brain in the near future. We are convinced that because of this development, the knowledge of cognitive functions will have an increasingly important role in the development of technology. The Cognitive Science and Technology Research Group studies neurocognitive mechanisms of human communication, especially audiovisual signal perception and integration mechanisms. In this research, we use both behavioral and neurophysiological methods. Another major project is the development of an Artificial Persons (AP), a model of the communicating human being. One of the main motivations to start the AP development was to have a well-controlled stimulus for basic research.
The human audiovisual integration mechanisms can be studied in behavioral experiments, in which various aspects of the stimuli as well as the state of the subjects are manipulated. In order to illuminate the nature of this integration we also construct system level models, which in turn can guide future experiments and provide ideas for automatic audiovisual speech recognition and synthesis. To do these experiments we have built a behavioral laboratory consisting of three small cabins, inside a larger room. One of the cabins has been acoustically improved by double interior walls, lowered ceiling, muffled ventilation and semi-floating floor. This serves as a"reference" cabin for demanding experiments, while the two other rooms are used for less demanding purposes and student exercises. The reference room has decent acoustics with airborne sound insulation value dB and reverberation time s. The furnishing in all the cabins is identical including small active loudspeakers or good-quality headphones for auditory stimulus, high quality monitors for visual stimulus and video cameras for subject monitoring.
In the neurocognitive studies of audiovisual signal perception and integration mechanisms we are using noninvasive brain research methods like MEG, fMRI and EEG, on a collaborative basis at Helsinki University of Technology (HUT). The fMRI- and EEG-laboratories are under construction, of which the first is a joint effort at HUT and the latter we carry the sole responsibility. Our EEG-laboratory is being built keeping in mind of producing high-quality auditory and visual stimuli, including 3-D visual stimulus through a 3-D CRT video projector on a large screen wall of ca. 12 m2.