Many hard of hearing people rely on lip-reading during conversations, which makes it diffucult for them to communicate over the telephone.

SynFace is a technology allows an animated talking face to be controlled by the incoming telephone speech signal in real time. The talking face facilitates speech understanding by providing lip-reading support. This method works with any telephone and is cost-effective compared to video telephony and text telephony that need compatible equipment at both ends. The SynFace technology has many other potential areas of application, for example in the areas of education, entertainment and public information systems.


Development of the SynFace technology was funded by EU IST program (project number IST-2001-33327) between 2001 and 2004. During this time a multilingual, real-time prototype of the SynFace talking head telepone was developed and evaluated this hearing impaired users in Sweden, Holland and England with positve results. A summary report of the project is available.

Current developments

The SynFace technology is presently being developed and employed in several contexts:

  • The EU project Hearing at Home (H@H) includes Synface technology as an integral part

  • SynFace is used a platform for research in speech perception and multimodal interaction

  • Start-up company SynFace AB is marketing SynFace Technology to the hearing market as well as other domains.

Awards and invitations

  • SynFace was prominently exhibited, by invitation, at the EU conference “ICT for an Inclusive Society”, (2006)

  • SynFace invited by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Research Information and Communication Unit to participate at the exhibition ”Today is the Future - 07” (2007)

  • Jonas Beskow was awarded the Xerox Chester Carlson Research Award for his work on SynFace (2006)

  • SynFace AB was selected as one of the winners in Vinnova VINN NU competition (2006)


KTH - Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
Dept. Speech, Music and Hearing
Inger Karlsson
Tel. (46-8) 790 7563
Fax (46-8) 790 7854

Address: Lindstedtsvägen 24
SE-100 44 Stockholm

Project start 1 October 2001, project duration 3 years

Maintained by | last changed 2008-05-26