Quantification of three dimensional tongue motion during speech using zHARP

Xiaofeng Liu, Jiachen Zhuo, Harsh Agarwal, Khaled Z.Abd Elmoniem, Emi Mur, Maureen Stone, Rao Gullapalli, Jerry L. Prince

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


To understand the role of the tongue in speech production, it is desirable to directly image the motion and strain of the muscles within the tongue. Magnetic resonance tagging-which was originally developed for cardiac imaging-has previously been applied to image both two-dimensional and three-dimensional tongue motion during speech. However, to quantify three-dimensional motion and strain, multiple images yielding two-dimensional motion must be acquired at different orientations and then interpolated-a time-consuming task both in image acquisition and processing. Recently, a new MR imaging and image processing method called zHARP was developed to encode and track 3D motion from a single slice without increasing acquisition time. zHARP was originally developed and applied to cardiac imaging. The application of zHARP to the tongue is not straightforward because the tongue in repetitive speech does not move as consistently as the heart in its beating cycle. Therefore tongue images are more susceptible to motion artifacts. Moreover, these artifacts are greatly exaggerated as compared to conventional tagging because of the nature of zHARP acquisition. In this work, we re-implemented the zHARP imaging sequence and optimized it for the tongue motion analysis. We also optimized image acquisition by designing and developing a specialized MRI scanner triggering method and vocal repetition to better synchronize speech repetitions. Our method was validated using a moving phantom. Results of 3D motion tracking and strain analysis on the tongue experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of this method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2009
Subtitle of host publicationPhysics of Medical Imaging
StatePublished - Jun 15 2009
EventMedical Imaging 2009: Physics of Medical Imaging - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: Feb 9 2009Feb 12 2009

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2009: Physics of Medical Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


  • Motion quantification
  • Tongue
  • zHARP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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