Although I studied Physics as an undergraduate, and the research for my doctorate was undertaken in the Department of Electronics and Information Engineering at Southampton University, surprisingly much of my working life has been concerned with the computer processing of speech and language in one form or another.
At Southampton I developed a number of speech transcription systems based on Pitman's handwritten shorthand and Palantype machine shorthand. More than 30 years later, Palantype is still in use in a variety of applications such as verbatim reporting (in Crown Courts and for Public Enquiries) and by Speech-to-Text Reporters to assist people with a hearing loss.
Whilst in industry I had the opportunity to work in a variety of different research areas including Electronic Assistive Technology for disabled people, Near Field Communication and Ink-Jet technologies. I also contributed to a number of related patents.
As an engineer, I find it particularly interesting to be working now as Manager of the Language and Brain laboratory, helping our research team find out more about how the human brain processes language.
My return to a research environment has encouraged me to re-visit my 1985 Ph.D. research with the aim of exploring the concept of a machinography (a script specially designed for the purposes of man-machine interaction) in my spare time. I keep thinking that it should be much easier with today's computers!